Normally, when I write an article, once I come up with the idea, it just flows. Sometimes, it might not flow so well, but not being able to get something down on the paper has never been a problem for me.
Today, however, I have tried to start an article about last night’s Celtics-Cavaliers game several times, and I continually failed to make any progress.
I don’t know exactly why.
Part of me thinks I am afraid to jinx anything. I know what I saw last night, I know how it looked, and I know that Boston is one game away from knocking off the best team in the NBA and advancing to the conference finals.
The same Boston team that was no fun to watch for nearly four months, and the same Boston team that I thought entering the playoffs, “Please just don’t embarrass me”.
I also keep reading and hearing all the writers and commentators piling on LeBron James today.
I want to scream to them “Stop!” Realistically, I am sure their words don’t matter, but I don’t want to give him or the Cavaliers any extra incentive.
In today’s sports world, we all tend to have short memories. But it was just last Friday night where LeBron torched the Celtics for 20 first-quarter points in a game that was never competitive. Can’t we just keep things quiet for one more game and then if the situation allows for it, we then can decide what all this means for the future of James.
There are two quotes I keep thinking about in terms of the upcoming Game Six on Thursday night –
The first is this one from Shawshank Redemption: “I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head.”
The meaning is obvious – the thought of the 50-32 Celtics winning this series and advancing to the Eastern Finals is almost too much for me to handle.
I will start to get ahead of myself for a moment, and then the other quote will come to mind, swinging my emotions in the complete opposite direction.
It is actually from Larry Bird from 1988, after the Celtics went into Atlanta and won Game Six to force a Game Seven back in Boston.
Bird had this to say after the win: “They had their chance, they had a big chance to beat us. I think now we are going to come out and play like we did tonight, but we are going to be at home and our shots are going to be dropping a little bit better, and we are going to be running a little faster. So I’d say [Game Seven] is going to be a big win for the Celtics.”
LeBron won’t say anything like that (at least not publicly), but if Cleveland can recover and win in Boston on Thursday night, I know James will be thinking along those very same lines.
Kevin Garnett said after last night’s game that Boston cannot come back to Cleveland, and that they need to treat Game Six like it was the seventh game. I could not agree more.
When you are the underdog, when the other team has the best player, you absolutely cannot give that team any extra life or any extra chances.
With a 20-point lead last night in the fourth quarter, I noticed that I almost stopped watching the play, and was just staring at the game clock, hoping it would tick down as fast as possible.
I am feeling the same way now – can’t Game Six just start tonight? Why wait? I am ready.
But, what am I ready for? I am cautiously optimistic in Boston’s chances, but at the same time,
If Boston wins, then I will know what to think and how to react. It will be appropriate to really look back at what just happened and determine what the meaning was.
The same goes if Boston loses. Just like Garnett said, I don’t want any part of a Game Seven back in Cleveland. I am not saying the Celtics would have no chance – how could I or anyone else write that after what we have watched this series – but I am saying I would rather not find out.
I do not know how to occupy myself until game time tomorrow night. And even then, I think I may be too nervous.
What is really strange is that I don’t recall feeling anything like this during the 2008 championship run. With that team, I had complete faith in them.
This team – I want to believe and have faith. I mean Ray Allen is knocking down threes, Paul Pierce nearly had a triple double in Game Five (it was Pierce’s first double-digit rebound game since opening night in Cleveland back on October 27), and Kevin Garnett has settled into a consistent 18-points and eight-rebounds mode (give or take slightly).
Rondo has taken his game to new levels, following up his triple-double in Game Four with 16 second-half points last night.
As for the bench, it has been shortened, but it appears that Boston is in good shape if Glen Davis (Game Five), Tony Allen (Game Four), or Rasheed Wallace (Game Two) play well. With the way the starters have played, and the minutes they are logging, Boston does not need all three to play well. Just one.
So, I want to be confident in this team. But, I just remain nervous.
I am going to have to find some way to settle those nerves between now and tip-off for Game Six. The local bar may be calling my name.
Thinking back on those two quotes again, maybe for the first time in my life as a Celtics fan, I want to not be thinking of Larry Bird after Game Six.
For good luck, then, I’ll go with one more from Shawshank, as I hope for a Celtics win tomorrow night – “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” I will be hoping tomorrow night’s Game Six finds all the Celtics fans, and finds them well.