It’s a fun thing to chant around here and has been more popular than ever in recent months.
The Red Sox defeated the Dodgers in the World Series. The Patriots beat the Chargers (OK, we still think of them as San Diego, but work with me here) in the divisional round of the playoffs and then the Rams in the Super Bowl. This past weekend, the Bruins blew another lead but still beat the Kings in overtime.
Somehow, the Celtics didn’t get the memo.
In a span of some 48 hours, the Celtics blew an 18-point lead and lost at the buzzer to the Lakers — on a Rajon Rondo buzzer beater no less — and then squandered a 28-point advantage and lost to Doc Rivers and the Clippers.
It wasn’t surprising that all heck broke loose after these two defeats — the second suffered after Kyrie Irving was lost in the second quarter to a knee injury (determined NOT to be serious).
Marcus Morris, as reliable as anyone in this roller coaster of a season, let loose after Saturday night’s loss.
“I look at all these other teams and guys are jumping on the court and guys are moving the ball or guys helping each other on defense, guys are genuinely happy for each other,” he said. “I look at this team, I don’t see that.
As Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald wrote: “Asked about the Celtics’ recent (10-1) streak, he said, “It hasn’t been fun around here for awhile.”
Not fun? No leadership. Didn’t Irving want to leave LeBron James so he could be a leader?
Column pal Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, tweeted: “Celtics’ problem has been known since May. Guys needed to sacrifice. But it’s easy to ask KG (Kevin Garnett) and Ray Allen to sacrifice. They were 32 and 31. Not easy to ask (Jason) Tatum (20), (Jaylen)Brown (22), Terry Rozier (24) to sacrifice. They’re still making their names, trying to earn first contracts, etc.”
This team opened the season by going 10-10.Then came eight wins in a row. All was well. A couple of three-game losing streaks left the record at 25-18. But a pair of five-game winning streaks surrounded a loss, the 10-1 stretch raising the record to 35-19 — before the two L.A. losses.
Brad Stevens, getting heat really for the first time as Boston’s coach, defended Morris’ right to speak out, saying, “One of the things that we say at the very beginning of the year is that we don’t want to be a team quoted as unnamed sources. So if you’re going to say something, you’ve got to put your name next to it. Marcus’ frustrations were obvious and evident.”
Said Al Horford, who has been as up and down as anyone: “I think that, sometimes, you just need a wakeup call. As good as we’ve been playing, we have to put things into perspective. I felt like we’ve been playing good basketball and the past two games have not been what we want to be.”
To his credit, Morris didn’t back off Monday, saying, “Eight years I’ve been in the league, I never even thought I could win a championship with the teams I was on. And this team I feel a lot different about, and I just want to push us to that position.”
To his NON credit, an examination of the video by Boston Sports Journal’s Brian Robb revealed Morris was guilty of not hustling during the Clips’ comeback.
The Celtics visit the new-look Sixers — without Irving and Aron Baynes — Tuesday night, the start of a nine-game stretch that also includes visits to Milwaukee, Toronto and Golden State.
Radio voice Sean Grande tweeted: “Celtics without Kyrie are 1-11 in their last 12 road games against winning teams. The one win? In Philadelphia in OT. — Game 3 of the East Semis last May.”
Was he saying there’s a chance at Philly — and you can make the argument the Sixers’ starting five is now better than the Celtics, even with Irving — tonight. That’s what he should have been saying: This team has shown all year it plays better against good teams. However, this is a tough one, the start of a back-to-back with Irving doubtful for Wednesday night’s game with the Pistons at TD Garden.
How bad was the loss to the Clippers? Historically bad.
Stat maven Dick Lipe noted it was the first time EVER that the Celtics lost a game they led by at least 20 at the end of the first quarter. They had been 26-0 previously and Celtics are now 176-5 all-time (reg. season) when leading by 21 or more at the half.
Grande said, “Since 2001, the Celtics were 100-1 when leading by 28+. They’re now 100-2.” And, “28-points is the biggest comeback win against the Celtics since Stephon Marbury and the Suns came from 29 to win at the Garden in December of 2003.”
The weekend went much better for the Bruins, even though it almost didn’t. The Bruins, who were scheduled to face the suddenly hot (seven straight) Blackhawks tonight, needed OT to win both games but they did win both (dropping the Avs to 1-10 in OT). Patrice Bergeron had his 1,000 victory tour all weekend and Monday was named the NHL’s No. 2 star for the week.
Sunday’s win led to some funny chatter in the dressing room.
Noel Accari, talking about his team, said: “I think we are a (Stanley) Cup contender.” Asked about that later, Brad Marchand said, “Who said that?” Told it was Acciari, Marchand said, “Oh. I like Noel.”
Great line from the hard-working Chris Wagner. Asked if he’s tired of all these overtime games (five in the last seven), he said, “Well, I watch them, so I don’t get that time. But yeah, I don’t know, it’s a character win though.”
The Julian Edelman victory tour, which included Ellen DeGeneres shaving off his beard for charity, carried all the way to Sunday night, when he and Devin McCourty were presenters at the Grammy Awards.
McCourty, hearing it from the L.A. crowd, said, “L.A., thank you for the cheers, also thank you for the boos. I appreciate the support, you supporting your community.”
According to a report from the Sports Business Journal Monday, the Packers and Bears will be the Thursday night opener next season — the first time since 2006 the Super Bowl champs don’t open the season. The report said the Patriots will play three nights later on Sunday Night Football, and you have to figure that will be at home with the banner raising and all that.
OK, baseball junkies: Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Craig Kimbrel still don’t have jobs, but spring training is starting, many of the Red Sox already hard at work in Fort Myers.
And Chris Sale has apparently added some weight to that skinny body.
“Chris looks great. He has gained some weight and he’s been throwing with no setbacks,” Alex Cora said Monday.
Pressed on whether or not the lefty had indeed added poundage, Cora said, laughing, “I don’t know. That’s what people say: He gained weight. So I’ll go with that one. Tomorrow is their physical though.”
Can added weight help Sale overcome what has been a pattern of fading in the latter days of the regular season?
“He did it on his own,” Cora said. “He was very aggressive with his offseason workouts. We’re very pleased with the way he went about it. With all of them. But it’s good to see him gaining weight and throwing the ball the way he’s been throwing it the last few weeks. So we’re very comfortable with him.”
MassLive’s Chris Smith reported: “Red Sox top prospect Michael Chavis was 222 pounds last spring. He came in at 208 pounds this year. ‘I feel faster. I feel more mobile,’ Chavis said.
White House talk
Turning back to the White House, Smith said Rick Porcello, who originally said he’ll do what everyone else does, was asked about it again Monday. “It’s actually not up to me to decide that,” he said. “So we haven’t really talked about it, discussed it any further. All I know is the date has been pushed back. I’m sure we’ll have a conversation about it further.”
Meanwhile, the number of Patriots players ready to visit the White House seems to be shrinking. It looks like some of the fellas would rather visit Barack Obama. “Nah, man,” Duron Harmon told TMZ Sunday. “They don’t want me in the White House.”
As far as getting together with 44, Harmon said, “That would be dope. Hey, Obama, come holler at me, man. We love you over here.”
Finally, the Pecota projected 2019 baseball predictions are out. Somehow the Red Sox came in at 89 wins and the Yankees at 95. And, get this: the Cubs, who won 95 last season, were projected at 81-81.