Friday, May 23, 2008

Uh Oh: Big Three's Quest for Immortality Somewhat Derailed

Ok, I know--it's just one game in a seven-game playoff series. I get that.

But did anyone else get sort of a feeling of inevitability watching last night's Pistons-Celtics game? Kind of like how the Pistons "workmanliked" their way into a win on Boston's home floor, something neither the Hawks nor the Cavs were able to do this postseason? That the Hawks and Cavs were merely pretenders and now the Celtics might be in a wee bit of trouble with the Pistons?

Maybe so, but it's not all that bad. The series is still tied 1-1. It's turned into a best-of-five situation, and even though the Celtics have been unable to win a game away from home this postseason, they were never in a position where they had to win those road games. They always took care of business at home, until now. Now, when they have to, they can focus and win one out of three in Detroit, right?

Judging by the postgame quotes, they sure do sound like they've been thrown for a loop. Take Ray Allen, for example, who said last night that "We just put ourselves in a position where we’ve put our backs up against the wall."

Really? Backs against the wall, eh? You aren't down 3-1, Ray. Or 2-1 with Game 4 coming up on the road. Those are "backs against the wall" moments. Not 1-1 in a seven game series. Even Coach Doc Rivers, who is making his case for worst coach of the 2008 playoffs (I mean, Sam Cassell didn't even play last night! You want me to believe that Rajon Rondo, all two years of experience, is somehow a better option than Sam Cassell? In 41 minutes, Rondo shot 2-of-9; he had good assist and rebound numbers, but jeez...doesn't Sam Cassell even get a sniff in the fourth quarter?) got into the act: "There has to be a different sense of urgency now, a desperation." Desperation? Really? I can see now where your focus and attitude might shift a bit, but doesn't it seem like the Celtics are already sounding their own death knell, when all they've done is put themselves at 1-1 in the Eastern Conference finals?

Even Paul Pierce seemed to be having trouble convincing himself that the Celtics were not in a do-or-die situation: "I don’t think it’s really bothering us, like, psychologically."

Like, you think?

I've been saying all along that this Celtics team was not as good as people thought it was (ask Hobson, he'll tell you). I said about three months ago that with their lineup, they darn well better win 60+ games in the Eastern Conference, because the Eastern Conference sucks. It's inferior to the Western Conference, where real basketball is played.

But I digress. The writing, I say, has been and is now once again already on the wall: the Celtics are who I thought they were. They're uncomfortable away from home (good luck winning a championship without winning on the road) and they're already talking like they will fold like a cheap tent should the Pistons win game three in Detroit. The Celtics may prove me wrong and keep Hobson's hope for a Lakers-Celtics old school final alive, but I think that they've already got one foot out the mental door. A loss Saturday in Detroit, and that series is over.

Sayeth Ray Allen: "Urgency and desperation. Those are two good words to use.”

Yahoo Sports: Boston's Big Three Exposed After Home Loss

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