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Is it time?

April 27, 2009
Is it time?

Is it time?

Is it time for, dare I say it… the PANIC BUTTON?
It can’t be. This series is tied up at 2-2, even though it could very well be 3-1 in either direction.
As a basketball fan, I am freakin’ pumped for a tight series that now is best out of 3. This is the best opening round of playoffs that I have seen in MY lifetime. As a Celtics fan, I am not sure how many more of these games I can take before I just need to invest in a defibrillator for home use.

I don’t want to single out anyone to blame, but one simple observation shows how tight this series has really been: if Paul Pierce made 2 more free throws (games 1 and 4) the Celts could have this series wrapped it up 4-0 and we’d all just be saying to ourselves, “Whoa Derrick Rose is good. Whoa Ben Gordon is good. Whoa the Bulls are going to be good next year if they can play with the same type of intensity and focus. Whoa Joakim Noah is ugly.”

Well, I am still saying that last part (Joakim = ugly) even though the series isn’t over.

How happy does Joakim look?

How happy does Joakim look?

But we aren’t playing the blame game or the what if game. We can’t play those games. Pierce is not the reason we lost. The biased refs (caught wearing Bulls gear after the game) aren’t the reason we lost. Perk fouling out after having a terrific game isn’t the reason we lost. The Celts inability to foul anyone in the first OT with 9 ticks on the clock to avoid Gordon launching a 3 isn’t the reason we lost. Big Baby missing a couple gimme-layups isn’t the reason we lost. Having no depth on our bench isn’t the reason we lost.

We lost because the Bulls executed in the second OT and we didn’t. We lost because the Bulls outplayed us in the final 5 minutes. We lost because

Every team has adversity to overcome. Even though our list seems longer and more heightened (why go through the issues again?), every team has challenges. I still think the Celtics are the better team in this series and the better team will prevail.

We are a grittier team with grittier players.

There were three plays from Sunday that show me the real Bulls. They all happened to come in the 3rd quarter, so I am going to call this next segment “Three Traits from the Third Quarter.”

Three Traits from the Third Quarter:

  • Early in the 3rd quarter – Bulls on a 2-2 fast break, Rose makes an off-target and long pass to Ben Gordon in the corner. Instead of diving to save the ball, Gordon tries to keep his feet in and behind the three point line. He could tell the ball was going deep and instead of just trying to keep the ball in, he wanted every chance just to get a 3 off. Remember that game when he had 42 points? He also had 0 assists and 1 rebound. Ben Gordon does one thing well: jack up Ben Gordon’s stats.
  • Midway through the 3rd quarter – Joakim Noah fouls Perk, and Perk gives a Noah a push. Perk then turns away and starts to walk to the line and Joakim misjudged the situation: Joakim thought Perk was going to start some stuff with him and Joakim took steps over to Perk to play Mr. Big Tough Guy, and realized no one was going to play supporting cast and hold Joakim back, so he retreated. A real badass mother f****r would have got right in Perk’s face.
  • Late in the 3rd quarter – John Salmons fouls Pierce on a straight up 22 footer. Pierce drained a 18 footer and then a 24 footer in his face, John Salmons can’t convert on the Bulls ensuing possession, and fouls Pierce on an iso-play at the top of the key. A foul out of frustration is different from a smart foul.

Let’s be honest. This is all garbage. I am saying this to myself because it makes me feel better. I am saying it because I am reaching, and really looking for any sign of good fortune in the near future. I am looking for something to make me feel hopeful. I need to feel hopeful. This series has me crapping my pants.

But we have to press on. On a sidenote:
As I said in an earlier post after game 1, the series comes down for Rondo to win. Granted, Ray Allen has saved us on so many occasions now, but it’s Rondo’s consistency on the offensive and defensive end that has kept the Celts in this series. He’s the spark. He’s the catalyst. We all talk about this being his coming out party during this post-season, but for some, we have seen this coming all season. Rondo is efficiently running this team and making plays happen for himself and teammates on defense, in transition, and in offense. Rondo is slowly receiving the baton of this Celtic franchise from Pierce– he is the future. With 2010 being the last year on Rondo’s existing contract, Danny and ownership better buck up and flip the bill to keep Rajon in green for the next 5-7 years. I have waited a long time for a point guard like this to be in a Celtic uniform. Since Stockton’s ’98 season ended (with the Jazz losing for the second time to Chicago in the finals), I’ve been on the search for the next point guard idolize– regardless of team. I’ve found the player. Fortunately, he’s wearing the right color and therefore playing for the right team. He also happens to be the key to winning this series.

Resign number nine.

Re-sign number nine.

Rondo: game 5 is on you. So is game 6. And game 7 if there is one.

Can Tuesday come now?

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