Pierce and KG both looked close to done at the start of last season. KG looked like 50% of himself for the first half of the 2009-2010 season.
We've been here before.
This team is done being a dominant force night in and night out, at least during the regular season. Even in the playoffs, when they are at the top of their game, they have it going some nights and on some others they lay an egg.
But they still have the pieces and the experience to go far. They've gone from being one of the favorites in 2007-2008 to being a dark horse. But they seem pretty comfortable in that role. That's where we're going to be for the next season or two after this one, too, most likely. So buckle up.
You just described what its like for pretty much every team, young or old.
Its a long season and all teams have their ups & downs. The better teams just have more 'ups' than 'downs'. But even the best teams have 'down' moments.
Basketball players are not machines. They are human and subject bad days, slumps and bad luck, both on an individual and group level.
We here are spoiled by either long term memories of the Bird-era Celtics and more probably by memories of the 2007-2008 season. Folks need to understand that it is extremely rare for a team to be as dominant as that team was, from beginning of the season to the end. The net point differential of that team places it among the best teams ever.
But even that team lost to the Wizards ...
On the subject of THIS team, its funny how the team is still thought of as 'old' when so many, many key pieces on the roster are under 28. And more funny is how folks just don't seem to realize that most of the problems we've had have been with the under-performance of the _younger_ (and newer) players.
By almost all objective measures, compared either to their own careers or to their peers throughout the league, our 'Ancient Three' (KG, PP & JT) are all playing great basketball.