The Celtics beat the once-great Pistons, 118-111, at the Garden Sunday night in front of a hearty sellout crowd.Losing for a purpose, dredging up past tankapalooza efforts, and mention of the two worst Celtics coaches (and one of their worst trades) in history - subject matter right up Shank's alley, because everything sucks!
Yowza. In Tankville parlance, we’d call this a 4-point game — in reverse. The Celtics move further away from the basement of the NBA and the Pistons inch closer to Boston among the bottom feeders.
And here’s a little fun fact to go along with the perverse thinking in the spring of 2014. Sitting on the Detroit bench Sunday night, inactive because of left knee surgery, No. 1 in your program, Mr. Chauncey Billups.
That name ring a bell? Billups represents all that can go wrong with tanking games.
Remember the Great Tank of 1996-97? M.L. Carr drove the Celtics right into the ground. They finished 15-67 (.183), easily the worst season in franchise history. And there was nothing subtle about it.
“M.L. meant business,’’ recalled Cedric Maxwell (No. 31 in the rafters). “He was the master. ‘You make a couple of baskets, young man? You are out of here. We are going down in flames.’ ’’
The Celtics went into the lottery with the best shot at getting the No. 1 pick. The target was Wake Forest center Tim Duncan, the best collegian in the land, a true franchise player. But instead of the No. 1 pick, the Celtics came away with the No. 3 pick. Instead of Duncan, they came away with Chauncey Billups. And that was the beginning and the end of Rick Pitino in Boston.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Shank's first column in a week focuses on the Boston Celtics, who are looking for a high lottery pick this year.