3 straight embarrassing losses, a seemingly disgruntled superstar, an uncertain future, and a 3-1 hole all stare the Celtics in the face as we prepare for Game 5 tonight in Milwaukee. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, it’s all been such a let down from the start of this rollercoaster of a season. To quote the great Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday: “We’re in hell right now, gentlemen”.
In late February Kyrie Irving told us all not to worry “because I’m here” and that everything changes in the postseason. So far, it seems like he should have told US TO WORRY because he’s here. He’s had an abysmal series shooting just 37% from the floor and an even more shoddy 24% from downtown. In the grand scheme of things, you can’t even feel sympathy for the guy because he asked for this and brought it on himself. Kyrie Irving wanted to have his own team and Kyrie Irving wanted to be away from LeBron James. Now he’s got it, and it’s time he shows why he desired it so badly because that time is running out.
Remember July 4th, 2017? A year after getting pantsed by KD as he fled to Golden State, the Celtics got their guy, Gordon Hayward. From having a catastrophic injury, to an up and down season filled with disdain for the former All-Star, it’s been a ride for Hayward in Boston. Just as the playoffs arrived it seemed like the downs were a thing of the past for the most part, but it’s now clear Hayward still has some work to do. The beauty of this game is he has another chance to flip the script, but that time is running out.
How about just last season when a group led by Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris came just one game from a Finals berth. It was the ultimate breakthrough in what looked like the beginning of a long reign of Celtic power in the Eastern Conference. It was supposed to be the end of a rebuild headed by top draft picks, star signings, and cashing-in assets via trade.
Al Horford was set to slide in the middle as the sensei and defensive stalwart of this team. Jayson Tatum was supposed to blossom into a 20+ point per game scorer and fringe All-Star, while Jaylen Brown’s stock was as high as it’s ever been. What could be better than having Kyrie Irving return to your basketball team? Having Kyrie Irving return to your basketball team with a battle-tested Terry Rozier backing him up. Add in the lift Smart/Morris give as energy guys/defensive building blocks and it seemed like this team would be a force to reckon with. After 90 games between the regular season/playoffs, they’ve rounded into a force most teams would thoroughly enjoy reckoning with on a daily basis. They have 1 more chance to become that force to be reckoned with, but that time is also running out.
All of the drama, all of the narratives, all of the frustration could all come to end tonight for good. The Celtics could come out and play as uninspired as we’ve seen them play these last three games and go home with their tail’s between their leg’s (I wouldn’t be surprised). They could even sit there and get the shit kicked out of them…
They could fight their way back into the light. (thanks again Al for the speech way back when)
They have ONE (1) chance left to shut up all the naysayers and right this ship, and that starts tonight.
Yeah, only 11 teams have ever come back from such a deficit to win the series but in the words of Kyrie Irving: “Who Cares”. This team has always thrived as the underdog who nobody gave a shot. When their season is declared to be over, historically, they’ve always had more punches left. Just last year they were told their season was over 2 different times, on opening night, and when Kyrie was ruled out for the playoffs. They then decided it wouldn’t be over until they said it was over en route to Game 7 of the ECF. That team is still there somewhere deep down and maybe having their backs against the wall will bring it out again, but that time is running out.
Tonight, the Celtics find themselves in this situation once again: No expectations and a done-chain on their season. It’s time to put everything to the side, show some grit, and claw back into this series. Time is running out for them to right the ship, but they have one last chance to buy themselves some more with a win and a possible Game 6 at the Garden.
Keep the faith.