Surviving Barstool | Ep. 2 Premieres Tuesday 11/28 At 8PM ETWATCH EP. 1 NOW

The Best Thing The Celtics Can Do Tonight Is Play As If Game 1 Never Happened

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

While I'm sure the players enjoyed the 2 day break after Game 1, as a fan it was bullshit. You can't look like you did against the Hawks in Game 1 and then leave me wanting more for what felt like no fewer than 100 years. Don't even get me started how there's another 2 day break between Games 2 and 3.

If the opener showed us anything, it was mostly just confirmation to what we knew heading into the series. The Hawks were going to have a lot of trouble containing the Celtics two best players, Trae Young was going to be in hell, the Hawks shooting wasn't great, and when this team played focused, they'd be able to get whatever they wanted whenever they wanted.

Heading into Game 2, I need the Celts to do me a favor. I need them to completely forget about Game 1. I need them to approach this game and play it as if the game never happened. Technically this is Game 2, but I want them to treat it like Game 1. 

While I don't think the second half is some major concern, the team clearly just got bored, I've watched enough Celtics basketball in my life to know that they can sometimes fall into the bad habit of assuming. They at times "assume" that a game will be easy, or that a game is won before it even starts. When that happens we see more isolation offense early, the ball doesn't move, and the next thing you know the other team has punched them in the mouth and has all the confidence in the world.

You know what was so great about Game 1? There was no assumption. There was just dominance. From the opening tip we saw a version of this team that was focused and determined. Yeah everyone thought this would be a blowout, but the team took it seriously in order to make that happen. They respected their opponent and it showed. 

What the Celts need to be careful with today is assuming that Game 2 is going to go exactly like Game 1. Maybe it will, but only if the Celts come correct. The Hawks will be more desperate this time around as they try to avoid an 0-2 hole and chances are they probably don't start 0-9 from deep again. That's why I'm very excited to see how the Celts come out in this game. Part of this is the unknown with Joe and how he navigates a playoff series. We've literally never been in this spot with him before, so the hope is that he has everyone focused and ready to go. What we can't have is the players assuming that winning Game 1 automatically means you win Game 2. That is not how the NBA works. 

What I hope to see is Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown remain aggressive and continue to exploit their mismatches. I know that they know that nobody on the Hawks can stop them, but I also know there are times when that happens when we see someone like Tatum settle for jumpers instead of using his size and speed to attack the rim. It's very weird. 

Tonight is about not becoming complacent. We know about the rebounding, we know about the turnovers, but complacency was just as big a part of why this team did not win the title as any of those other things. You have an opportunity to bury the Hawks tonight and take another step forward in making this a quick series. The Sixers did it, the Kings did it. The time has now come for the Celts to do the same. Do not play with your food and you too can find yourself with a 2-0 lead.

Fuck around, and you may not like what you find out. 

Love and Trust.