Parquet Wishes and Leprechaun Dreams

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"The wheels are coming off ... "

That's how Mike Gorman described the game after Pierce received a technical for throwing his headband to the floor in the four quarter ... and it's simply mind-boggling to consider a 66-win club falling apart like this against such a young and inexperienced bunch like the Atlanta Hawks (

Time to face the truth (no pun intended): no matter what the outcome of Sunday's Game Seven, the Celtics are officially "damaged goods." There's just no way to sugarcoat it, they are cracking under the pressure and it's only the FIRST FRIGGIN' ROUND.

How are they going to react when (if?) they're put up against the Cavaliers' home crowd? Or the Pistons'? Or the Lakers'? Or any number of future opponents that they may encounter on the road in the postseason ... again, assuming that they come through on Sunday, and I can't believe that I'm actually entertaining even the slightest notion that they may not.

Now, I don't want to appear like I'm abandoning ship and jumping off the bandwagon (although it certainly must appear that way to anyone out there reading these words), but it would be foolhardy not to acknowledge that all of the confidence and goodwill built up by the C's during the regular season is evaporating before our very eyes ...

We're seeing Kevin Garnett go from hard-nosed psychopath during the games that "don't count" to a shrinking violet that throws horrible pass after horrible pass in the fourth quarter rather than take the shot himself. We're seeing Doc Rivers (who was given a free pass for his past coaching indiscretions) make head-scratching moves like play Sam Cassell in the fourth over Rajon Rondo. We're seeing Ray Allen (a clutch shooter who won us any number of games thanks to his last-second heroics) take a pull-up three-pointer with fifteen seconds on the shot clock in an ill-advised attempt to give Boston the lead, when we could've taken (close to) the last shot to tie the score and send Game Six into overtime.

Seriously, these things just should not be happening, and yet they are; this must be how Dallas Mavericks fans were feeling last year, like the entire basketball world was going topsy-turvy (Cats and dogs living together! Mass hysteria!) ... I must reiterate, even if the Celts go out Sunday and do what we all expect them to do, how is this experience going to effect future performances? Will it toughen them up and make them stronger (as some of the "talking heads" were hoping when it looked like we were headed for four straight blowout victories), or has it "exposed" some very serious weaknesses in the Celtics' armor?

I dunno, perhaps we all need to calm down and revert back to previous expectations ... When Ray and KG were first brought on board, no one was thinking championship right away. It was more like fans were saying "Hey, give these three superstars time to gell, let them put on a good show in the semifinals before being eliminated so that they can build on something for next season".

However, the C's just kept winning and winning and winning ... and suddenly, Banner Number Seventeen didn't seem so far away. Alas, perhaps that was just wishful thinking from a fanbase starving for some playoff success after a twenty-plus year title-less drought.

I guess that (for me personally) I'll just go into tomorrow's contest cheering on the Green and White, and then see what happens from there ... Win or lose, I still think the Pierce-Allen-Garnett triumvirate can lead us to the promised land; it just might take a little longer than some people - including me - would've liked.

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