Saturday, April 20, 2013

Putting Tragedy Behind, Boston Ready For Rumble With New York

Between the abject horror of Monday and the chaos and confusion of Friday, it was determined that as far as the Boston Celtics and NBA Playoffs are concerned, the show will go on.

And well it should. As many have already explained, if at all possible, we should return to as normal an existence as we are capable of as both a sign of resilience and defiance to any- and everyone who would seek to threaten our way of life and the freedoms that so many have given their lives to sustain.
With that said, I wish the victims and their families healing and want to give unlimited praise and thanks to the first responders and investigators for their very hard earned success.

Moving on…
Celtics vs. Knicks. MAN, this is gonna be good. 

Boston vs. New York…KG vs. Carmelo…Paul Pierce vs. Every Damn Thing In A Knicks Jersey.  THIS is what Playoff basketball is all about. The drama…the competitiveness…the legitimate and palpable dislike that these two teams feel for each other = epic watchableness (Yeah. It IS a word. I wrote it, didn’t I?!)  

Get ready to hear The Truth, put The Jet on the runway and get your pollen-based product-sweetened oat-grain cereal ready!
So…how can we expect our green giants to do this year as the underdogs? Well, if you listen to the so-called experts over at SportsIllustrated, ESPN and CBS Sports, Boston is going to get beat like punching bags as nothing more than sparring partners to the allegedly Eastern Conference-bound Carmelodrones New York Knicks.

Now, I know I am probably not the most objective writer out there when it comes to assessing the Celtics (I’m known in some circles as the Tommy of the Typewriter, which I think is really a bad analogy because I neither announce for the Celtics as a former player named Heinsohn nor do I even have anything more than a vague recollection of what a typewriter is in this era of unswallowable tablets and smartiepants phones), but I do make an honest effort to separate my love of the Green from the realities of their sometimes-greater-than-a-care-to-admit limitations.  
But, we as Celtics fans also know how many “shock the world” moments it's taken for some of the non-believers to realize – you can never sleep on a playoff team led by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers. NEVER.

And with that, let me launch into my prediction about the Celtics beating the Knicks in six games.
Sure, the Celtics have lost Rondo for the year and lost the season series, but two of those losses have had asterisks in the box score – a really tall, intense #5 jersey-wearing asterisk named Kevin Garnett, who happened to be sitting for the final two matchups. As everyone knows, you can take the season series stuff and throw it out the window for the Playoffs. Or, to put it more succinctly – “What happens in the regular season, STAYS in the regular season. History, though? History’s a whole different story.

What do we already know about the Celtics, Knicks and the Playoffs? Well, we know that anytime they’ve met up in the KG-Paul Pierce era, the Celtics proved to be the young father playing ball in the backyard with the Knicks as their 6-year-old son. In fact, the last time the Celtics played the Knicks in the Playoffs, the C’s looked like giant green atomic dinosaurs smashing their way through a well-known but helpless cosmopolitan city.  

Look, we KNOW The Captain LOVES playing in MSG.


 Actually, he LOVES playing against the Knicks ANYWHERE...

And we know that KG owns a luxury condo unit inside Carmelo's head.

But, this game is going to come down to the Celtics defense on the three-point line and each team’s wild cards stepping up to become heroes.

The C’s wild cards? The defensive dominance of Avery Bradley; A decidedly more aggressive (both on offense AND defense – Melo HATES playing on this guy!) Jeff Green; a new and improved (in just about every facet of the game) Brandon Bass, a sweeter-shooting C-Lee; a Jet that’s made-for-the-playoffs; and that wildest of wildcards, Jordan Crawford.  He may never find himself on the same planet of the country with the city where the building has the office in which people are talking about the Defensive Player of the Year, but he can definitely provide a major scoring lift during those confounding draughts the C’s are famous for, and that’s why the Celtics brought him in.
I still believe we’re going to see the best from Jason Terry in these Playoffs. As many a savvy veteran has done before him, he saves an extra gear for the “season that counts,” and I think back a few years when Doc invented his quote: “This guy’s gonna win a Playoff game for us. I guarantee you that,” he was looking into his crystal ball and thinking about Terry.

There’s also the great possibility that unsung heroes suddenly start hearing the sweet music of success like Shavlik Randolph, Terrence Williams, Chris Wilcox and others. Any one of or all of these guys can come in and turn a game with their hustle and scrappiness alone. The Playoffs are where legends are made (yeah, I LOVE that cliché!) and the Celtics are a bubbling cauldron of flying fish just waiting to leap out of the pot and make their mark. And, no, I have absolutely no idea what the hell that sentence actually means, but I am certain that is has something to do with the fact that someone, somewhere on the bench is going to help us out before it’s all over.

Ultimately, what it all comes down to is (All hands on deck! Prepare to fire Cliché # 3) which team wants it more. Effort will trump talent in this series and veteran savvy will win out over flamboyant scoring.

Celtics in six. And Melo has another meltdown in a New York minute.

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