Celtics give out nicknames for their team

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Celtics give out nicknames for their team

Who are the Boston Celtics?

That was the million dollar question throughout the first half of the 2012-13 season.

The Celtics began training camp in Europe as a team eager to take on the NBA. As games progressed, though, they became a club struggling to find consistency night in and night out. It was during an unforeseen stretch of three season-ending injuries that they really began to form an identity on the court.

The C's enter the All-Star break 28-24 (seventh in the Eastern Conference). They are 8-1 since losing Rajon Rondo and have hit their stride rallying together in the face of adversity.

So who is this team that is turning their season around? The Celtics dubbed their own nicknames to describe their squad in the first half.

Courtney Lee: "'Young Riders,' we just ride it out. 'Remember the Titans.' I'm just going to throw out a lot of nicknames. 'The Glory Roaders,' just facing obstacles, adversity. Players going down, we're still rallying and pushing forward. 'Sunset Parkers.' We're 'Above the Rimmers.' All of them. Quote me on all of them."

Jason Collins: "'The men from 300.' One goes down, another one has to keep going. We're like spartan warriors. You follow your general and you fight to the bitter end. In the movie the general is Leonidas, here it's Doc (Rivers). Doc's the general and we all keep fighting."

Jeff Green: "'The Celtics.' (That name means) we're a storied franchise that never gives up, that plays until the end."

Brandon Bass: "'The Spartans.' We're warriors. When someone goes down, somebody else steps up. We're never losing any type of confidence in what we can do as a team, even with one of our best players going down. You saw that from the coach, that he didn't lose a bit of confidence in us as a unit. We're a group that's definitely tough minded."

Fab Melo: "'The 300s.' We've battled a lot. We've been through tough times, playing through injuries. But we're still battling and finishing strong."

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."