Nobody, nobody, nobody.
June 09, 2012
At the start of this season, nobody thought the Celtics would win a championship this year.
Nobody thought they’d even get to the Eastern Conference Finals. Not with the Bulls and Heat in the same conference.
Many people didn’t think the Celtics would even make it out of the first round of the playoffs unless they got home court advantage against a weak team. They got neither.
And at the All-Star break, the Celts had a losing record and some people thought they might not even make the playoffs since they’d already lost Jermaine O’Neal and Jeff Green for the season.
But here they are. In the Eastern Conference Finals. At the beginning of the series, 16 ESPN “experts” picked Miami to win. All but two of them picked the Heat to win in 6 games or less. Nobody picked the Celtics.
Here we are. Game 7.
The Celtics franchise is the winningest organization in pro basketball. So it’s not a surprise that they’ve played more Game 7s than any other team. They’re 21-8 (.724) in those games. Of course Russell, Havlicek and Bird’s performance has little to do with Pierce, Allen and KG’s.
Or does it?
The new Big 3 understands, appreciates and respects the tradition of this organization more than most players in the Association. And they take a lot of pride in their craft.
If they win tonight, they’ll be 5-2 (.714) in Game 7s they’ve played together – a virtually identical winning percentage to the organization’s as a whole. If they win tonight, they’ll be going to their 3rd NBA Finals in the last 5 years. And they’ll be playing a team that has never been to an NBA Finals -- except for that Perk guy.
If the Celtics win tonight guess who will pick them to beat the Thunder. That’s right, nobody. [Not to get ahead of ourselves, but while the C’s are 0-2 vs. OKC this season, both games were in Oklahoma and both were pre-All-Star break (i.e. before KG moved to Center and changed everything]. Just sayin’.
Do the Celtics have a chance to win tonight?
LeBron James is 0-2 in Game 7s. Wade is 1-2. Bosh is “What’s a Game 7?”
In his 7 playoff series (38 games – almost half a regular season’s worth) with Miami, LeBron has scored 40+ points twice including last game. And he’s had 15+ rebounds 4 times, also including last game. So it’s not likely he’ll repeat his Game 6 production. The question is what will Wade and Bosh do?
On the other hand, Boston’s Big 3 combined for 31 points in Game 6. That’s their lowest playoff total in the 5 years they’ve been together. They’re averaging almost 49 points a game in this year’s playoffs, so they’re due for a big bounce back game.
What are the chances that Rondo puts up 10 assists and 7 turnovers in Game 7 like he did in Game 6? He’s done that twice in the last 2 postseasons (28 games) including last year when he was basically playing with one arm.
He had an assist to turnover ratio of almost 4 to 1 in the regular season this year and over 3 to 1 in the playoffs so there’s a very high likelihood of a big game from him as well. Plus, he had 3 triple doubles in the first 2 playoff series, but none so far in this one. So he’s due. And it’s a nationally televised game, which makes him even more due.
Nobody on the ESPN TV panel picked the Celtics to win tonight. In fact, Magic Johnson says the Heat will win in a blowout. Given the track record of the “Magic 8 Ball,” that’s a good sign.
Last reason we’ll win is we’ve been doing it the hard way all season. Perhaps because the C’s are such a resilient, gritty bunch, they need the challenge of “do or die”. It doesn’t get any more “do or die” than Game 7. This is the “desperation basketball” KJ spoke of (Sorry, I Menino’d.) KG spoke of in Game 5.
The proverbial fly in the Tiger Balm.
You know the NBA powers that be want a LeBron-Durant Finals. So much so that the Toucher and Rich 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston posted a shot of the NBA.com website selling OKC "Beat the Heat" t-shirts online. But they took it down after T & R posted it. Yep, in the NBA’s mind it’s just like Bird-Magic. And they’re right.
Well, except for the fact that Bird and Magic played for a championship in college, combined to win 8 NBA championships, transformed the game and did so in two of the biggest TV markets in America.
LeBron and Durant have won 0 championships in 14 combined years in the league. Never played each other in college (maybe in AAU?) and play in the 16th and 45th largest TV markets, respectively. So the two situations are, um, practically identical.
Nonetheless, the conspiracy theorists out there might say that what the NBA wants, the NBA gets. And if the home court advantage for the Heat isn’t enough to make it happen…well let’s just say close scrutiny should be paid to those with the whistles. They haven’t been a big topic of discussion after the last couple games. Hopefully, that’ll continue with this one. I haven’t looked it up to see who tonight’s refs are. I don’t want to know, so I can watch with an open mind.
It’s almost game time. Are you ready?
As a long time Celtics season ticket holder, I’ve seen many, many Celtics commercials over the years. The best one I’ve seen is shown below. It’s so powerful because it’s so truthful (no pun intended). It sums up this team and their season so perfectly, you can feel it.
Magic Johnson said, “The Celtics are dead tired.” If he’s right -- and as you can see, that’s a big “if” -- the Heat better watch out. Because when players are fatigued, it all comes down to heart.
“Let’s go Celtics!!!”
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, feel free to contact me at RamblingDude@gmail.com.