I don't know, the "experts" were claiming that things were going a little too easy for the Celtics, that they had nothing but meaningless wins over inferior opponents in the final weeks of the regular season, plus two blowout victories against the Atlanta Hawks to open the postseason ... Supposedly, they weren't being "challenged" enough, and needed to toughen up in preparation for some stiffer competition in the later rounds; therefore, these so-called "experts" suggested that it might be in Boston's best interests if they played a couple of close games against the Hawks, just to test their mettle a little bit. Hey, after all, the Hawks are so far out of the C's league, that they can afford to play in some tight contests against them, since they're obviously good enough to prevail and win this series, right? Right?
Hmm, where are those experts now, I wonder?
See, this is exactly what I was afraid of ... People get cocky, people get overconfident, and suddenly the prevailing notion (amongst the talking heads in the media, amongst the fans, and perhaps even amongst the players in the Celtics locker room) is that we can just look ahead to the second round with absolutely no worries. Meh, the Hawks are bush-league, bring on Lebron or Arenas!
Now look where the "experts" are: from complaining that four blowout wins will make for a "boring" series, to actually entertaining the notion that Atlanta might advance (hey, SportsCenter brought up the possibility this morning, so there are some people floating the idea around) ...
Personally, I'm not ready to push the panic button just yet; no no, I refuse to even entertain the notion that the C's won't make it out of the first round (although I'm sure Mike Bibby is giggling like a schoolgirl at the prospect of fair-weather fans jumping off the Beantown bandwagon); after all, maybe the Celtics really did need to be knocked around a little bit. Maybe it really is good for them to have their confidence rattled right off the bat - rather than against a battle-tested group like the Pistons or Spurs - so that they can be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead on the "Drive for 17" (TM).
Still, when the team with the league's best record suddenly can't hold onto a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter against the friggin' 37-45 Atlanta Hawks, you can't help but be a little concerned ... If nothing else, it's suddenly giving Atlanta fans an excuse to feel a little cocky themselves (blueworkhorse.com).