In each of the past 5 years that I’ve been a Boston Celtics season ticket holder, they have provided me with a number of screaming-at-the-TV-in-excitement and “I can’t wait to go to the game tonight” playoff moments. While heading to Game 3 at the Garden last Friday with the C’s in an 0-2 hole, the only feeling I had was a nervous “they have to win tonight or the season’s over” kind of thing. And when I exited the building that evening after a third straight drubbing from the Knicks, I realized that I wasn’t going to have any of those moments this postseason. Even as the Celts pulled off a dramatic OT win on Sunday, it didn’t seem like anything worth getting fired up about; it was just a temporary postponement of the inevitable.
But then something strange happened. New York starting talking trash about their 3-1 advantage. Confident teams with big leads don’t usually do that, they just sit back and let their play speak for itself. Kenyon Martin said the Knicks would dress for a funeral in Game 5. J.R. Smith claimed that if he hadn’t been suspended for Game 4 he’d be playing golf today (sidebar – this makes absolutely no sense to me, you play golf when you’re eliminated and your season is over. Don’t you have to keep practicing and working hard while you’re preparing for the next series? Who gets to play golf then?).
And then last night it got really weird; the Knicks actually showed up to the game each all dressed in black. I laughed out loud when I saw it on the pre-game show. My instant reaction was that it was a childish move that wreaked of false bravado. I wondered if maybe New York wasn’t as sure of themselves as they’d have us believe. When the game started I had an odd sense of unexplainable confidence, even as the Celtics fell behind 11-0. Perhaps it came from assuming the series was already over, and in turn having nothing to lose. Regardless, when Jeff Green’s thunderous dunk put the C’s up by 15 I was back to yelling at my television, and now I can’t wait to go to Game 6 on Friday. Boston still has a long uphill battle ahead if they’re going to pull off the miracle comeback, but at least they’ve made the playoffs fun again.
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