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This past two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl have been depressing. I’d much rather lose in the Super Bowl than the AFC Championship Game. I know some people say differently, but at least if we lost to a quality team like Carolina we could throw our hands up in the air and say the best team won. But losing to a crapbag team like Denver is something I’ll never get over.
After that loss what was there to look forward to besides Peyton Manning losing? It sucks. I mean, the Bruins team that in 2011 looked like it was poised to begin a dynasty, has been burned to the ground. Maybe they’ll make the playoffs, but it’s insane to think that this team can do any sort of damage once they get there. And in Boston, getting to the playoffs and not doing shit is a complete failure .
The Red Sox….I dunno, David Price was a big signing, but at the end of the day they have no power, and not much behind him in the rotation.
And before last night’s game at the first place Cleveland Cavaliers, I would’ve said similar things about the Celtics. Then this happened:
Avery. Freaking. Bradley. Somehow he’s become an above average NBA player. I remember when this guy was supposed to be a defensive stopper. Now he’s a great two way player with balls of liquid fire at the end of games.
If you don’t think this game was huge then you’re missing the big picture. This was a Cleveland team that EMASCULATED us in the playoffs last year. At no point in any of the four games they swept us in were we remotely close to having any sort of chance of winning. Fast forward 8 months and we’re walking into their arena and Avery Bradley is committing cold blooded murder at the buzzer. This is the biggest win the Celtics have had in a long, long time.
It also puts us tied for third in the Eastern Conference.
We’ve won 8 of our last 9 games. We have no superstars (Isaiah Thomas is not a superstar), but we have a deep rotation of guys who can consistently contribute in different ways. Marcus Smart is one of the best defenders in the league. Evan Turner had a great game last night, stuffing LeBron in the third quarter. Jae Crowder is all of a sudden really good. Olynyk and Sullinger, although both are flawed, have their roles as well.
Oh yea, and we also have one of the best coaches in the league in Brad Stevens. Don’t forget, this is a guy who took two Butler teams to back to back National Championship games. BUTLER!! Butler isn’t supposed to make it to the Sweet 16, because they’re Butler. He didn’t have the ability to recruit star players there, but he overcame that with in game play calling and effective use of data to prey on their opponent’s weaknesses.
And that’s exactly what he did last night. The Celtics were begging LeBron to shoot 3’s, because they’re much lower percentage than Bron-Bron driving to the lane and getting the inevitable foul calls. They baited him into shooting five 3-pointers, none of which went in.
The best part is that it couldn’t have happened to a less likeable athlete than LeBron. After all, he fired his coach David Blatt, who guided them to a 31-11 first place Eastern Conference record and got them up 2 games to 1 in last year’s NBA Finals. And his hand picked replacement was Tyronn Lue, who never head-coached an NBA game in his life. A guy who is most famous for getting crossed up by Allen Iverson and emasculated in the NBA Finals as a player.
Bron-Bron’s choice for a coach somehow found a way to blow a 4 point lead with 7 seconds to go. Make no doubt about it, if Blatt was coaching last night Cleveland would have won. Avery Bradley got the opportunity to hit that game winning three pointer because the Celtics fouled Evan Turner, giving him the opportunity to miss his free throw and hope the Celtics got the ball back. Blatt would’ve made it very clear to his team that under no condition can they put the Celtics on the line. Give them two points, get the ball back, get fouled, end the game at the line.
But instead Bron-Bron’s coach, who is now 5-3, blew the game for them. The Celtics will be in the playoffs, they won’t have to face the Cavs until the second round or the conference finals, and they might not beat them, but at least they’ll be competitive. And since the Patriots have been the only team around here to get our juices going lately, I’m perfectly happy with that for now.
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