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Thank. You. Jesus. 

That sound you hear is a collective exhale from every Celtics fan on the planet. Make no mistake, you go down 0-2 by dropping both games at home with Joel Embiid back, NBA history says your season is over. That's basically what was on the line tonight. Everything this team has been building towards over the last 6 months, well tonight was their opportunity to save it and boy did they.

Of course, there's still work to do after dropping the opener, but take this shit one day at a time. We'll worry about that Friday. For now, the Celts saved their season and they looked DAMN good doing it,

There's ass kickings and then there's what we just watched. Mind you, due to foul trouble all night Jayson Tatum played 19 minutes and had 7 points. Al Horford went 1-8 from three. Did it matter? I dunno, look at that goddamn score. Joel Embiid coming back may turn out to be the best thing for this series for a few reasons. For starters, it makes the Celts take these games seriously. It was obvious from the opening tip how much more engaged they were defensively and how much more energy they played with. They looked like they team we saw all year that ran through the league. That was such a relief.

But there's also the style aspect. The Sixers pace was slow as shit offensively, Embiid didn't really do anything in his 27 minutes (-23), and it completely removed James Harden from the equation. After his prayer Game 1, Harden followed it up with a 2-14 (0-6). That sure is annoying but whatever, it's pretty clear that when the Celts are locked in that it's going to take a herculean effort from those two to keep up, and they did not get that tonight.

What we witnessed was near perfect Celtics basketball. They didn't allow a single quarter over 27 points, they allowed just 38 second half points. The ball moved offensively, and JUST LIKE JOE TOLD US, they let it fly from deep. They embraced Mazzulla Ball after getting away from it in Game 1 and look what happened. Celts finished 20-51 from deep after taking just 26 in Game 1. He made adjustments defensively by bringing higher ball pressure and not switching as much on screens. Instead, guys fought over them and completely eliminated the Sixers P&R offense. The wrinkle of having Smart start on Embiid was great and I expect to see that as the series goes on. 

There's still a LOT of basketball left to be played, but this game was a reminder of why we love and trust. This team isn't perfetct, they're going to make mistakes, but when they play to their potential they go to a level that nobody can match. It's really that simple.

We'll regroup in the morning to truly dive in, but you know what time it is