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The NBA Finals Are Not For The Faint Of Heart

Jesse D. Garrabrant. Getty Images.

The NBA Playoffs are a rollercoaster of emotions. Always have been, always will be. Each round brings with it its own set of nerves/hopes/expectations. In my experience, it breaks down like this

Round 1 - You really are just hoping your favorite team doesn't embarrass themselves and actually wins a round

Round 2 - This is where things start to get a little more real, and it's your first true "hump" to get over. Plenty of teams win 1 round, but with a Final 4 spot at stake, this is really when the stress starts to hit

Round 3 - Every game gives you a heart attack given what's on the line. For some, this is a massive stepping stone they need to get over. You're so close to the Finals and a title you can almost taste it, which is truly the cause of your emotional swings

Round 4 - Every possession gives you a heart attack. Every mistake feels like it's basically the worst thing to ever happen to you. As you make your way deeper into the series, things only intensify. With each win, you feel a level of joy you didn't know existed. With each loss, you get a level of depression you didn't know existed. It's torture and incredible all at the same time

It had been a long, long, long time since myself and Celts fans everywhere experienced the ups and downs of an NBA Finals. We've had it all. Brutal home losses, huge title sealing home wins, life altering Game 7 losses, you name it and I'm pretty sure I've experienced it over my 35 years on this planet.

Which brings me to the 2022 Boston Celtics. No team has brought us so much joy and so much frustration all in the same season. It's the most bipolar Celtics team I've ever had the privilege of dedicating my entire existence to. When you think they'll zig, they zag. When you think they might be cooked, they win. When you think they're in a good spot, they kick you in the dick. That's how it has been since October and now through 5 games of the NBA Finals, nothing has really changed. 

Now down 2-3 in a series where it certainly feels like the Celts have spent more time blowing golden opportunities than not, for the third time in these playoffs the Celtics are facing elimination. I've had a lot of doom and gloom in my mentions since Monday and I get it, I'm frustrated too. But I do think it's important to remember, 3 losses is not 4 losses. The Warriors do not win the title by winning 3 games. As someone who believed in this team at their lowest, when they were 11th in the conference and couldn't even beat the fucking Knicks, I don't really understand bailing on this team now, given everything they've shown us throughout this season.

  

Is this just my brain trying to spinzone itself? No doubt about it. But I also feel it in my heart. I know what my eyes see when this team plays the right way. I know what they are capable of. Is it a bit of an issue that the Celts basically cannot have a down quarter for the rest of these Finals? Absolutely. Is it beyond terrifying knowing that Steph & Klay smell blood? You fucking betcha. But they are not invincible. We've seen what happens in this very series when the Celts don't play like assholes. It may require more than just that in order to pull off this NBA title, but let's just start there and see what happens.

I say it all the time and it's true. If loving and trusting were easy, everyone would do it. It's not just about the good times when this team looks unstoppable. It's about the bad times. It's about the times when you blow back to back games in the Finals and are currently on life support. That is when your belief needs to be at its strongest in my opinion. This shit is hard, winning an NBA title is hard. Very seldomly do things work out perfectly and without stress. I'm choosing to believe in the resiliency that this team has showed us all for the last 5 months and multiple times during this Finals run. 

Could it all be for nothing? Sure. The Warriors are really good. Steph could go Game 4 Steph again and anything the Celts do might not even matter. But that's why they play the games. You take this shit one game at a time, one quarter at a time, and one possession at a time. Until the clock hits 0.0 and this team is dead and buried for good, you won't convince me they cannot dig themselves out of a hole. I've seen them do it too many times. Yeah, I wish they would stop putting themselves in these holes to begin with but since when do we ever get what we want with this team.  

If it feels like I'm rambling, it's because I am. I am losing my mind. This is what the NBA Finals does to a person. If you've experienced one of these things before, you get it. Rationale thought and actions go out the window. We still have all day today and all day tomorrow to get through and sometimes you just need to blog out your feelings. 

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This series is not over. The Celtics are not dead. Believe in what we've watched these last 6 months. Win at home tomorrow night and then who the hell knows what happens in Game 7. Those things are a toss up. You can call me crazy or a homer or a Green Teamer, who the hell cares. Love and Trust.