Green light at the end of the Patriots tunnel

Green light at the end of the Patriots tunnel

Defeat is not a lonely venture. We share the darkness with our neighbors, and we brood in our doom together, in solidarity. And while you may find comfort in the shared malaise of the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss, you can also find comfort in the excitement of a new adventure. A new purpose to pursue. A new team to root for…The Boston Celtics.

As the great philosophers Semisonic said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” What they are (probably) referring to is the sports cycle; the natural order of things in most major American cities. When one pro sports season ends, you move on to the next. In this case, the NBA season, and it’s not just about distracting your mind until the NFL Draft or free agency, it’s about rallying around another valiant cause…bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Boston.

South African cleric Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu was definitely not talking about the seemingly impossible task of making the NBA Finals and defeating the unbeatable Golden State Warriors, but his words still apply. New England fans may feel surrounded by darkness, but there is light. 

The Celtics have the best record in the Eastern Conference and the third-best record in the entire NBA. They have MVP candidate Kyrie Irving, whose ball-handling skills make you question whether the Earth might actually be flat (it’s not). They have Rookie of the Year candidate Jayson Tatum, who started the season so hot, people forget he’s still a teenager. They have human highlight reel Jaylen Brown, whose habit of posterizing opponents is borderline criminal. And they have Brad Stevens, the coaching savant disguised as a middle school math teacher, who has led the Celtics to the best record in the NBA vs the Warriors the past three seasons (3-3). No other team is .500 vs.  Golden State over that span. We haven’t even mentioned the growth of Terry Rozier or another All-Star season from Al Horford. 

MORE: CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Danny Ainge joins to talk about the trade deadline

Add it all up and what you have is hope. But in this case, hope is not a cliche on a poster. Hope is a wide-open Eastern Conference and a crumbling LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers team. Hope is a real chance at making the NBA Finals and an actual shot at taking down Goliath. Hope is seeing the green light despite all of the post-Super Bowl darkness. 

It’s time to commit yourself, whole-heartedly, to the Boston Celtics


Celtics achieve their biggest offseason goal: Re-signing Marcus Smart

File photo

Celtics achieve their biggest offseason goal: Re-signing Marcus Smart

BOSTON -- Mission accomplished.

The Celtics went into the offseason planning to bring back all their core players from last season’s squad, which came within a victory of getting to the NBA Finals.

The last bit of business is now taken care of with Marcus Smart coming to terms on a four-year, $52 million contract.

A restricted free agent this summer, Smart was unable to secure an offer sheet from another team. The Celtics had maintained all along they would match any offer within a reasonable amount. 

They never put a specific number on how high they would go, but most league executives believed a team would have to sign Smart to an offer sheet of at least $15 million in order for the Celtics to allow him to walk.


Signing Smart solidifies what’s shaping up as one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA. All-Star Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown are the starters, with Smart and Terry Rozier coming off the bench.

There were moments during negotiations when Smart was reportedly disappointed and frustrated by the lack of attention the Celtics were paying him through the process. But Boston maintained all along that re-signing him was its No. 1 priority, and that position never changed.

Even when Smart’s return was far from a given, the Celtics still had a roster that was viewed by many as one of the best in the NBA. When LeBron James left Cleveland to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, that instantly catapulted the Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference. (Story continues below.)


At 1:26 mark: A. Sherrod Blakey, Kyle Draper, Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek discuss the Smart deal prior to its finalization


Now with Smart set to return, Boston’s position among its Eastern Conference brethren remains strong as ever, even with the Raptors trading for two-way standout Kawhi Leonard.

The Celtics' journey towards the NBA Finals will involve them leaning on a variety of players with a varying amount of strengths and skills. That's why re-signing Smart was so important.

The recipe for postseason success is an unpredictable one; it requires having as much elite versatility on the roster as possible. That's what Smart brings: An ability to impact games when there’s a great need for toughness defensively, which is often in the closing moments of matchups.


That’s why you’ll often find Smart on the floor in close games, regardless of how well or woeful he might be shooting that night.

Because as much as the analytics folks of the world would love to see better numbers by Smart when he’s on the floor, it always comes back to winning games for the 6-foot-4 guard.

And as much of a head-scratcher he may be when it comes to shooting, he never loses sight of the ultimate goal -- winning -- which is why Boston’s quest towards Banner 18 is even more alive and well with his return.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kawhi Leonard finally traded; Marcus Smart back to the Celtics?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kawhi Leonard finally traded; Marcus Smart back to the Celtics?

1:26 - Marcus Smart and the Celtics are reportedly finalizing a 4 year contract. A. Sherrod Blakey and Kyle Draper join Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss the deal and debate if the Celtics are overpaying for Smart.

6:17 - Kawhi Leonard has finally been traded. The Spurs shipped him to the Raptors in a package centered around DeMar DeRozan. Cedric Maxwell breaks down who got the best end of the deal and if he was surprised Kawhi got sent to Toronto.

11:18 - Darrelle Revis has officially retired from the NFL after 11 seasons, including one season with the Patriots where he won his only Super Bowl ring. Chris Gasper along with Tanguay and Trenni discuss Revis’ legacy.