BOSTON (CBS) – With the Celtics 102-96 win over the Knicks on Monday night, they find themselves winners of three straight and back at .500 for the season.
Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday, and although he doesn’t like the expression, it looks like the Celtics have turned the corner now that the calendar has changed to 2013.
“We use that expression, and I use it too, and I don’t like it. It’s not so much turning to corner, it’s coming to a point where they understand who they are,” said Gorman. “They take on a personality and they’ve taken on Avery Bradley’s personality the last three games. The Celtics were at their best — and have been at their best the last four or five years — when they took on Kevin Garnett’s personality. Now it’s a combination of KG, and as much as he would tell you this is [Rajon] Rondo’s team, I’ll tell you traveling with them KG is still the man. But on the court, it’s Avery Bradley’s team in the sense he sets the example and everybody else follows it. If they continue to do that, they’ll turn this season around.”
Since Bradley’s return, the Celtics are 3-1 with wins over the Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks and Knicks. Their defense has been rejuvenated with the energetic guard, and Gorman thinks they can just get better.
“Energy on a basketball team is contagious, and if you get a guy that plays with a ton of energy you have to play that way yourself,” he said of what Bradley brings to the floor. “The Celtics, for a greater part of the season, really had only one guy in Kevin Garnett who consistently played with energy every night. Now they have two.”
“It’s the passion that Avery plays that position with that makes everybody raise their game up,” continued Gorman. “[NBA Commentator] Mike Breen, who’s seen a lot of basketball, told me after the game (Bradley is) the best on-ball defender he’s ever seen. He can cover point guards; he covered Melo a couple of times last night. Just to see him get down in that crab-like position, he gets in front of people and keeps himself in front of people. If the offensive player gets a step, it’s great to watch, he anticipates where the guy is going to go with and cuts off the angle and ends up in front of them again.”
“He provides just such an example on the court that everybody buys in, and now buys in with the knowledge ‘we can beat people,’” said Gorman. “The Celtics have had their three best games of the season these last three games, and each has been better than the last.”
“I wondered if this group of players was capable of a 33-9 quarter like they had against Atlanta (on Saturday), and they’ve really turned my head the last week,” he added. “They look like the Celtics of a couple of years ago.”
“We have a five-game home stand beginning Wednesday night, and it’s not as daunting as the bunch of teams they just came off playing,” said Gorman. “The Celtics have a chance to turn their whole season around.”
Should the Celtics make a push for a big, or should they keep this core together a little longer? And what was Carmelo Anthony’s deal with Kevin Garnett last night? Listen to Mike Gorman on Toucher & Rich for all the answers!