Rondo To Celtics: Enact Short-Term Memory
NEW YORK – How do the Celtics move on from a 26-point loss to the New York Knicks? Follow the captain.
“Tomorrow we’ve got Philly,” said Rajon Rondo, the latest captain in Celtics history. “So short-term memory.”
Rondo made that statement about 50 minutes after the final buzzer sounded in Boston’s disappointing loss to New York. Physically, he was in a locker room in Manhattan. Mentally, he was already on the parquet at TD Garden, where the Celtics will host the 76ers Wednesday night.
Rondo’s mindset is that of an NBA champion and a veteran. He understands that you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low in this league. Tuesday’s loss was disappointing, but it’s on to the next one for him and the Celtics.
A handful of Rondo’s teammates also spoke to the media Tuesday night and all of them reiterated their captain’s thoughts. Their attention has officially shifted to their next task at hand: a matchup with the Sixers in the second night of a back-to-back.
“We’ve got a flight back to Boston to think about tomorrow’s game,” said Brandon Bass. “That’s all we can focus on.”
Boston has several members of its team who have adapted to this on-to-the-next-one mindset this season. The Celtics have a crop of rookies who are learning how to reflect briefly and move on quickly.
As captain of this team, it’s Rondo’s job to help instill this mindset on guys like Phil Pressey, Kelly Olynyk, Chris Johnson and the rest of Boston's young pros. It sounds as if the youngsters have received the message loud and clear.
“You’ve just got to stay even keeled,” Pressey said. “That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned right there, is just to stay even-keeled.”
Pressey went on to describe the process he has learned to help him move on from any emotional highs or lows that the Celtics may experience this season.
“When you play well you like to enjoy it. When you lose you like to see what you did wrong,” he said. “Sooner or later – everybody’s different – you watch film, you talk to your teammates, see what you guys did wrong, what you did right, why you guys played well, why you guys didn’t play well. When you guys get over it, you have to look on to the next game.”
Following through with such a mindset will be easier said than done for Boston after it suffered what Brad Stevens termed a “good old-fashioned butt kicking” on Tuesday. Fortunately for them, they have some experience in this department – at both ends of the spectrum.
The Celtics have had nights in which they have dominated opposing teams. They’ve also had nights in which they’ve been beaten pretty badly. Stevens appears to be comfortable with the way his team has handled those ups and downs.
“We’ve had our moments where we’ve moved on well,” Stevens said. “Usually we’ve moved on well.”
It’s time for the Celtics to keep that trend going. Led by the captain's calm demeanor Tuesday night, they have enacted their short-term memory. Tuesday is history, and it’s on to the next one.
On Wednesday, we’ve got Philly.