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If Tonight Is In Fact The End Of The Celtics Season From Hell, At Least Go Down With A Fight

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.

Well….this is it. The Celts lose tonight in Brooklyn, you know what that means. The season from hell will be over. The Celts will have gone fishin' as they say on Inside The NBA. As of the writing of this blog the official injury report from today isn't out, but based on what we saw yesterday

it's not looking all that great. Beating a mostly healthy Nets team (minus Jeff Green) is hard enough, doing it down 3 starters is basically impossible. I don't care what team you are. We saw that undermanned Celts group put up a fight in Game 4 which was respectable, but at some point you simply run out of firepower. Even with Tatum dropping an efficient 40, that's barely enough to stay close. 

When you take a step back and look at the 2020-21 season for this team, it's mostly terrible. There are some bright spots here and there, but largely it's been a disaster. I do find it pretty insane that during a year where the Celts top 7 were active for a total of zero (0) games together, this team got no injury luck even in the postseason. Even with Jaylen's injury, if you take that out and just look at who was available with Kemba/Smart/Fournier/Tatum/Rob, that group has played 8 total minutes together this postseason (if Kemba and Rob both sit tonight). 

Sometimes, it comes down to who you have available. You're not going to win at this stage of the season if your best players aren't available. We just saw it with the Lakers and AD. We saw it yesterday with the Sixers and Embiid. You need your top end talent to be on the floor if you want success this time of year. That's what has made this season so frustrating from pretty much start to finish. We've essentially never been able to see the team the front office and Brad intended to have. Now I'm not saying they'd be title favorites if everyone played, but you have to admit it's pretty wild that at no point of this season including the playoffs did we ever get to see the normal intended lineup for any legitimate stretch. Just comparing it to the Nets in this series, their two most used lineups have both played 2x the minutes together

Kyrie/Harden/Harris/Durant/Blake: 53 minutes

Kyrie/Harden/Harris/Durant/Brown: 19 minutes

Call me crazy, but something tells me the Nets best players going up against the Celtics reserves probably is going to be an uphill battle. If you look at the closest loss in this series in Game 1, it's not like Kemba really made all that much of a difference, he shot just 5-16, but Rob's presence certainly mattered. The dude had 9 blocks. Since he went out, there has been no rim protection at all. James Harden and Kyrie are living at the rim. Now without both and Jaylen already out, you can see how having 50+ points and two of your better defenders in street clothes is an issue on both ends.

Given everything that happened in Game 4, the one thing I want to see tonight is a team that fights. Don't be like the Heat and get blown out by 50 to end your season. It's going to take prayer performances from everyone who sees the floor just for the chance to maybe send this back to the Garden for a Game 6. As I said after Game 4, there's no shame in losing to this Nets team because you don't have the horses. It's another thing to flat out quit and just call it a season. We've seen what that looks like as well. At the very least, go down swinging.

The Celts are a loss away from entering a fairly important offseason. The tough part is they need to make decisions about a roster that we never really saw play together. It's why it wouldn't surprise me if we saw them run it back with mostly the same top 7-10 and whatever they can do to improve the bench. 

If they somehow pull off the upset of the century and bring this back to Boston, they still need to win the next 2, something that I would call nearly impossible. Especially if it's just Tatum and the reserves. It's a shame that we didn't get to see both of these teams at full strength because outside of Game 2, all of them have been fairly close for the majority of these games. But that's how the cookie crumbles unfortunately. 

Just show some fight tonight, and let the chips fall where they may.