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My Battle Cry: The Celtics Are Still In This

June 5, 2010
Rondo needs to get the puzzled look off his face and start being a nuisance to everyone in yellow/purple.

Rondo needs to get the puzzled look off his face and start being a nuisance to everyone in yellow/purple.

Okay.
Let’s just do this quickly and get it out of the way before moving on to what really matters: here is why the Celtics stunk up the gym with their incredulously grotesque play:

  • The Celtics were punked on the boards
  • The Lakers bigs repeatedly baby-slapped the Celtics bigs
  • The Lakers flawlessly executed on both the offensive and defensive ends without the Celtics successfully making (any) in-game adjustments
  • The Celtics’ offense was stagnant and there was anything but ball movement
  • The Celtics missed nearly every darn defensive rotation when the ball moved from inside/out and outside/in
  • The Celtics were on the pathetic end of fighting for every single 50/50 ball on the floor

Everyone has taken a shot at KG in the last 2 days: now it's over. Let's move on. Your job is to stop Pau Gasol: the mission is now clearer than ever.

Everyone has taken a shot at KG in the last 2 days: now it's over. Let's move on. Your job is to stop Pau Gasol: the mission is now clearer than ever.

Now we are done with that. So done with that. The Celtics have been watching film, the coaches have prepared their game-plans, and Saturday’s practice will be spent running through defensive and offensive sets to ensure some fluidity to their execution on Sunday night. Remember this: game plans are not any crazy secret. There are only so many high pick-n-rolls, re-directions, and penetrate/kick plays you can run on offense. It’s all about how well you execute the play. The defensive assignments may be a bit complicated for some casual fans to understand (Thibs’ “help the helper” scheme and how to show-n-roll when defending the picks), but not for the players. It’s the same system they’ve played with for the last 3 years (for the core members).

It all comes down to trusting each other to execute and playing together. Doc’s been saying it all season: trust in each other and you will win together. As an outsider like myself, it’s easy for me to believe in what Doc preaches. But Doc and Thibs can come up with the picture perfect game-plan (as they have for the ENTIRE 2010 playoffs), but it comes down to the five guys on the floor to make it work and make it happen.

The Celtics and Pierce have to find a way to get him free from Artest. He's like an annoying little sibling that will never, ever go away.

The Celtics and Pierce have to find a way to get him free from Artest. He's like an annoying little sibling that will never, ever go away.

It was strange on Thursday night, though: the team of old vets looked like they were just happy to be on the court. It looked like the Celtics were taken up in the moment: the hype, the lights, the stars. It was an odd sensation to see all of the wonderful things the Celtics did simply disappear when the Finals logo was etched into their jerseys. It was as if the showers of Laker Gold stupefied the Celtics and everything the Celts’ did felt robotic and forced instead of organic. The Celtics simply did not respond to what was happening, and never fully let the game come to them.

Despite the 3 green jerseys, Kobe had 3 easy looks at the rim in game 1. This cannot, cannot, cannot happen.

Despite the 3 green jerseys, Kobe had 3 easy looks at the rim in game 1. This cannot, cannot, cannot happen.

But, this will not be a trend. Just like the transition from the regular season to the playoff season, the Celtics are able to flip the switch from playing a bit lackadaisical to playing with furious intensity. On a more microscopic level, the Celtics will make the switch again from game 1 to every other game after. They simply do not have a choice.

The pundits and Celtic fanbase have already given up on this scrappy team once, if not more times. I loss faith in this team as an automatic contender numerous times, but I never counted them out. Why count out your own team? Especially when you know what they’re capable of?

So this begs the question: why not stay optimistic? Why not believe that the Celtics can be the ones to poetically break Phil Jackson’s 47-0 series record after winning game 1 in the playoffs. Like the brilliant Stan Van Gundy noted: someone has to break history, and it might as well be us. In this case, it might as well be the Celtics.

There is a reason the Finals are best out of 7: the series is not won or lost in the first game. Be happy that the poor symptomatic play listed above can all be cured: ALL OF IT. Again, we know what this team is capable of. The only question is, which team will show up on Sunday night? The Celtics team that plays every game like it’s game 7, or the Celtics team that simply feels honored to be back in the Finals? It better damn well be the team that plays with their backs against the wall because this could be their last chance to win a title… together.

That finger is for all of you, Lakers.

That finger is for all of you, Lakers. (But seriously, how ironic and hilarious is this picture??)

(all photos courtesy of NBA/Getty images via yahoo sports)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 4:00 pm

    I’m picking the Celtics to win Game 2. Garnett cannot possibly play that badly again. He will be better, so will Rondo, so will Ray. Still sticking to my Celtics in 6 prediction at this point.

  2. October 11, 2011 11:26 am

    dwdwdwdwdwd

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