There are few things like being in the Garden for a Celtics playoff game. I honestly cannot think of a place that has brought my life higher highs and lower lows than Celts playoff games in this building. If you've experienced it, you know what I mean.
May 6th, 2019. The Celts watched Giannis come into their building and drop 39 points, George Hill had an extremely frustrating 15 points off the Bucks bench, and the Celts dropped the second of both home games in what was one of the most brutal playoff series we've seen in recent memory. That was 753 days ago. The Garden hasn't seen a playoff game since, until tonight.
Now maybe you are someone who already believes this series is over. I mean, we all saw Game 2. I get it. But just like I've done with the other series on this blog, the same thing applies here. If you are someone who thinks that maybe there's a 0.000001% chance of this series at some point becoming competitive, tonight is a pretty important game. Gigantic difference between 2-1 and 0-3. At 2-1 with another game at home, there's a sliver of life. At 0-3, you're going fishing. It's a wrap for you. There's a reason people say a series doesn't start until a team loses at home. Last time I checked, the Celts haven't done that yet.
Game 2 was pretty much all our biggest fears coming to life. Competitive for about only 4 minutes, then the turnovers crept in, Joe Harris couldn't miss and they got blown the fuck out. There was no answer for anything the Nets tried offensively. Then Tatum got his eye gouged out and it was a wrap. Perhaps that's now out of the Celts system or something because another effort like what we saw on Tuesday is going to give you the exact same result, only now it'll be on your home floor. As a team that has let these types of opportunities slip all season long, I can understand the skepticism. When have they shown us that they have the type of backbone required to actually punch back this series? I'm talking about for more than a couple of possessions. A full 48 minutes. We know they can, we've seen it in prior seasons, so I know it's in there. You're down to your last lifeline now. This is legitimately their last chance. All we can do is hope they finally respond and play with the sense of urgency required to pull off such a monumental task.
Tatum is going to have to wake up and actually produce. He's had a disaster series so far. Kemba cannot miss 11 of his first 14 shots or whatever that bullshit was in Game 2. Smart cannot be careless with the basketball and turn it over. Fournier needs to fill his role as a secondary shooter. Brad needs to make sure he doesn't get pantsed by Steve Nash. They collectively need to be perfect or damn near close to it to even have a chance and that still might not be enough. It's one thing to lose because you don't have the horses. No shame in that. But I want to see a team that fights. If the first game back at the Garden in 753 days isn't enough to have their energy right, what the fuck will?
Finally, the Kyrie return. If you're going to the game tonight, don't be an asshole. Plain and simple. Just be normal. It's not that hard. My stance on Kyrie's tenure in Boston is pretty simple. I don't really care about what he said to season ticket holders, I don't care about the drama or the quotes during his time in Boston. I care about the basketball stuff. The quitting in the MIL series. Now maybe you feel differently, and you want to boo him until you're red in the face. Booing someone has always been weird to me personally, like the physical act of booing is just something that always seems silly to me, but if you're someone that's waited two years to boo Kyrie then have at it. Just don't be an asshole. We're seeing what's going on all around the league right now. Don't be a scumbag.
The season is pretty much on the line. Avoid the sweep tonight, ride that momentum into Game 4 when the Garden should be at full capacity or close to it, and then who knows. If not, you're cooked.