"Impossibly, would you believe your Celtics were ahead 14-2 at the start of the game? Because they came out just torrid. Because they're fans just lifted them. They're the best fans in basketball. It's the loudest crowd in basketball. It's the most energy expended within the confines of a four-walled arena that you have in basketball. And on the very energy of the decibel level, it lifted them to a 14-2 lead." - Skip Bayless, 6/7/2022
I'll say what a lot of you are thinking. That the opinions of a middle aged, possibly clinically insane, grossly overpaid Sports Shouting host shouldn't account for anything. That's a point well taken. These words are certainly not enough to wash out the bitter taste of seeing a promising team who had met every challenge, overcome every obstacle in their path, for months, suddenly melt like an ice cream cake over three consecutive games. We'll have to live with the memories of dozens upon dozens of unforced mistakes, treating the ball like it was an unexploded IED, and general lack of focus. We say Jayson Tatum driving the lane out of control with no plan for what to do when he got there so many times, I expect that at some point this summer, everyone of us will shook awake in the middle of the night by a fever dream of him tossing the ball up behind his head into the bottom of the rim.
So I came to Skip looking not for affirmation, but to hear how he would spin the success of his greatest nemesis, Steph Curry. And if he going to choose to declare the Garden crowd the best and the loudest crowd in the NBA, capable of lifting an otherwise overmatched team into an early lead merely by the awesome might of their decibel levels? Well, it's all I got. It's beats reliving how many times Jaylon Brown dribbled the ball off his foot. So thanks, Skip.
Still, it's the Curry stuff that is where Bayless' true genius is revealed. Stupid me, lesser observer that I am, woke up today believing that, for all the Celtics mistakes, the Warriors are champions again for one reason: They're the better team. At least they played better when it mattered most, which should be the way you determine who the better team is. Otherwise, what's the point of the entire exercise?
But Bayless didn't get to where he is conceding that point. Or any other, for that matter. He is a true believer in the tenets of Skipism. And if his teachings include the gospel that says Curry doesn't show up in the big games, well then by Skip, nothing is going to dissuade him. Not even Curry scoring 29 or more points in five of the six games, including 34 in the clincher (on the road). That was not an MVP-worthy performance. That was some other thing:
I understand that in times like these especially, zealotry can be a dangerous thing. Not something to be admired. But at the same time, I respect anyone who can be so devoted to a particular cause, no matter how misguided they are. That's Bayless. When he hates on a guy, he's willing to dedicate his entire life - his very being - into that hatred. It's a vessel into which he pours his essence. And in that way, his cult-like dedication to saying the guy who just led his franchise to their fourth title in a short span of years is really not that good, is sort of strangely beautiful. Also, deranged.
On second thought, maybe we shouldn't appreciate what he says about Boston fans. If he admires us, there must be something wrong.