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The Celtics Overcome Their Biggest Opponent: Themselves (and that’s the Truth)

April 24, 2010

The ISO finally, finally, finally works for Pierce.

The ISO finally, finally, finally works for Pierce.

The Heat’s fragile existence crumbled on center stage last night in front of a nationally televised audience. Watching the game on television, you had to wonder if the city of Miami even knew that their own El Heat team was in the playoffs: there were so many empty seats scattered in the American Airlines arena. El Heat’s inability to close out game 3 just ended any chance they have of taking this game past game 5… Even during a masterful performance by their superstayr D-Wade who did everything right: shot when he needed to shot, draw phantom fouls, pass to get other guys involved, play defense… The Heat’s demise was as much a product of their own failure as the very fact that the Celtics wouldn’t give away this win. The latter point here is the one that matters.

Finally, the 2010 Celtics have rallied around themselves to fight for 48 minutes. It would be impossible for any fans to expect that this Celtic team will run the table for 48 minutes and dominate on both sides of the floor. The 2008 team didn’t do it, and this 2010 will certainly not do it either. The team will fall asleep on some offensive and defensive possessions, and their opponents will go on runs: like so many have said, basketball is a game of runs. But what we have seen in 3 straight playoff games, thank goodness, is the Celtic team SNAP out of the in-game funk and move to a happier place: fighting to win.

This, my friends, was an act of fighting.

This, my friends, was an act of fighting.

The mark of a good team is the amount of fight in their tank. Good teams fight every playoff game as if it was an elimination game. Even last year’s 2009 Celtic team had a good enough fight every night against the Bulls (because they had to) and the Magicians (again, because they had to). Ultimately, the Seven-Game-Series-Gods stepped in and allowed nature to run its course as the Celtics loss to the superior team in the Eastern Conference Semis (Magic), who would eventually go on to a play-date against the Lakers. What I am really enjoying, both at home and at the Garden, is seeing this Celtic team fight.

Call it what you want, flipping the switch or veteran experience, but the Celtics are finding ways to win. Let me take a second to reference well, myself, from a previous post about the gracious gift Quentin Punkardson and El Heat have given to the Celts:

The Celtics are playing with phenomenal energy. This energy has translated itself to picking up quickly on defensive rotations and to running the floor to get transition baskets. The Celts are crashing the boards well and moving the ball well. The Celtics are finding a different way to win: just play hard and want it more.

The Celtics are not a finesse team: they won’t execute well on every possession (evident by all of the turnovers). But if the Celtics can continue to play upbeat, scrappy, gritty basketball then they will hopefully bring their opponents down to their level. If the Celtics can force other teams to play in this kind of tempo, then they will beat better teams: such as the Cavs, Magic, or Hawks. All three of those teams are better than the Celtics, but if the good guys can force others to play at their level… then we’ve got a chance at this.

I really love the kind of image the Celtics are creating during the first round of the playoffs:

  • Yeah, we’re old, so what?
  • We like being the bad guys.
  • We can still play defense, so don’t test us.
  • We have different offensive weapons and even we don’t know who will have the hot hand tonight… but whoever does, you can be sure we’ll keep feeding him the ball.
  • We’ve been here before, and we won’t crack.

The Celtics are, without a doubt, still a contender. Critics can point to the fact that they are playing a really inflated #5 seed team in El Heat, but I’ll say that the true opponent for this first round Celtic team was in fact themselves: would they give in to the demons that haunted them during every game from January on when they barely played .500 ball? It didn’t matter if the Celtics were playing the Bucks, Heat, or LA Spark: the Celtics needed to overcome their own mental hurdles in order to clear the way for themselves against the top teams in the East. The litmus test so far, however, is revealing some good news: they can still contend.

The shot that actually had me in silence, instead of screaming:

I’d like to thank Pierce for hitting the game winning shot, and I’d like to thank Dwyane Wade for indicating to me where your ego is: located behind your left knee, apparently.

Yup: I'll take the finish on the right instead of on the left.

Yup: I'll take the finish on the right instead of on the left.

C’s Kicksies

Some hot shoes were on display last night: colorways that could make a grown man cry. The winner of the night? D-Wade with some great Air Jordan 2010 PEs.

How much do you think D-Wade's Air Jordan 2010 white/red/yellow(!) PEs will go up on EBAY for?

How much do you think D-Wade's Air Jordan 2010 white/red/yellow(!) PEs will go up on EBAY for?

Here's another look at the Air Jordan 2010 PEs.

Here's another look at the Air Jordan 2010 PEs, while teammate Udonis Haslem looks over him in his Converse Weapn EVO.

D-Wade defends in the AJ 2010 PEs against Rondo in his crisp white Nike Air Hyperfuse PEs.

D-Wade defends in the AJ 2010 PEs against Rondo in his crisp white Nike Air Hyperfuse PEs.

More Rondo and More Nike Air Hyperfuse.

More Rondo and More Nike Air Hyperfuse.

Ray Ray looking a little awkward in his Jordan Hallow Ground PE with patened leather!

Ray Ray looking a little awkward in his Jordan Hallow Ground PE with patened leather! In the mix around Ray is Jermaine O'Neal in his Air Max Rise PEs, Michael Beasley and Perk in their Adidas Supernatural Commander PEs, Carlos Arroyo in the background in Nike Air Zoom Kobe V IDs, QRich in the standard Air Jordan 2010 Punk, and Pierce sporting his signature game winning shot Nike Air Legacy Away. Whew.

More Sugar Ray in his Jordan Hallow Ground PEs (with patened leather!)

More Sugar Ray in his Jordan Hallow Ground PEs (with patened leather!)

Maybe the best shot all night (aside from Pierce's shot, of course): Pierce in the Nike Air Legacy Away PE and Dorrel Wright sporting some really nice Nike Air Penny IIIs.

Maybe the best shot all night (aside from Pierce's shot, of course): Pierce in the Nike Air Legacy Away PE and Dorrel Wright sporting some really nice Nike Air Penny IIIs.

Be sure to check out CelticsHub’s rundown from last night’s game: it’s a thorough one.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Celtsfan33 permalink
    April 24, 2010 1:20 pm

    Great stuff as usual, Loscy.

  2. Celtsfan33 permalink
    April 24, 2010 2:32 pm

    Great stuff as usual, Loscy!

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