I’ve been realistic from the beginning of this season. What that has allowed me to do is be pleasantly surprised in times of success, and when the Raptors would come in and spank the C’s in the Garden, I stayed comfortably away from the ledge.
But when the Heat were down to the Pacers, and the Celts looked like they were going to roll Philly, I’ll admit – I let it get the best of me. How could I not? Everything was falling in to place for the C’s – Rose had gone down and the Bulls were out, Indy was going to advance, and you know that the Celtics would have been able to win that series because the Pacers had yet to go through the NBA playoff school of “earning it.”
It was all there for the Celtics to at least make a run to the Finals. Whatever happened after that was gravy, honestly, especially for team that in the beginning of the season some were wondering if they would even make it to the playoffs in the first place.
And then Dwyane Wade woke up, and LeBron started acting like he was tough, and suddenly the Heat were starting to look like the team that would win not one, not two, not three…
Before I continue, I want to go on a little rant about LeBron acting tough. You may have seen him yelling in KG’s face the other night, and by now I’m sure you’ve seen him try to throw an “inadvertent” elbow dangerously close to someone’s face. It’s the fakest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. You can’t act tough and then whine to the ref every time Danny Granger calls you on your shit, and you sure as hell can’t act tough when you whine about literally EVERY SINGLE CALL that doesn’t go your way. Jordan didn’t have to whine – he got the calls. Jordan never had to act tough, because people already knew he was.
By now it’s pretty clear that LeBron will never be Jordan. No matter how many championships he wins (or chokes away), he won’t even be Wade. No matter how many MVP’s and no matter how long he’s the best player in the NBA, I’m not buying in to LeBron.
Between the mouth piece, his mom, his hairline, The Decision, his wife, his little friend that Braylon Edwards tuned up, the elbows he’s been trying to land, Wade referring to him as “my little brother” and the fact that when things aren’t going his way he just quits – I hate him. It’s not an original statement, or one that I’m very proud of, but I don’t care.
The NBA is at a turning point, and LeBron – and players like him – are threatening to ruin the growth the league has seen in the past couple years. Some of these superstars are just so goddamn unlikeable, and it’s not the kind of unlikeable that Kobe is, where you still have to respect him. It’s the kind of disdain you feel for the kid who was head and shoulders the best player when you were 12. You know that kid, the one whose parents were REALLY in to it and he would always pout and yell whenever he missed a shot, yell at the refs and just be an overall brat whether he was on or off the court. That’s LeBron James.
Sorry, where was I? Yes, yes, the Celtics.
If their last game was the first one I had watched this postseason, then I would pack it in and drunk dial the Red Sox to tell them I miss them and want them back in my life. But they played worse games against Philly last series, and until they went cold in the third, they were more than in a game that had no business being close. And that’s the thing – that game should have been a laugher from the beginning.
If you had told me that in the first half LeBron would go off, Mike Miller would be unconscious and the refs would try to Donaghy the Celts to the point that it was downright laughable, then I would have figured they would be down by 15 at the break and the Big 3 wouldn’t even take the court in the second half. Of course, Wade wasn’t on – but neither was the entire Celtic roster. They may be old and injured, but Paul Pierce isn’t going to have a first half – or game – like that for the rest of the series. Brandon Bass isn’t going to go 4-for-11 and only pull down two rebounds. And, eventually, Ray Allen is going to make a wide open three. ‘
The Celtics are not dead, and this series is far from over. Sure, the road ahead is not going to be an easy one, but if going in to last night you had told me that the Celtics would take one of two in Miami and head back to Boston all tied up, I would be tickled pink. And get this – they still have the chance to do that.
Doc is going to come up with a better rotation, and Eric Spoelstra will not get the best of him in Game 2. Paul Pierce is going to play better, and the post play will improve because that’s what well coached, veteran teams do. They adjust.
In a sports world where everything is “what have you done for me lately?” Celtics fans need to take a step back and realize that this group isn’t as bad as they looked on Monday night, just like they weren’t as good as they looked midway through the Sixers’ series.
And while their offense is inconsistent and the players are banged up, this team still plays great defense – the level of defense that can contain a team like the Heat, the kind of defense that can get by with their offense only scoring 85 points.
The Celtics are down, but they are far from out. All it takes is a win Wednesday night and everyone will be right back to saying that their “grit and balls” can be enough to get them past the flash and fake toughness that the Heat are bringing.
If Boston can steal this next game, the best part won’t be that ESPN and everyone else would start talking about how they have a chance again. It would be the fact that you know Lebron would be sick to his stomach on the plane ride up as his mind raced with thoughts of having to come from behind in front of a hostile crowd.