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Homecourt Disadvantage

Adam Glanzman. Getty Images.

Off the rip, I hate feeling like I only blog after losses but (checks notes) it’s factual. I am morphing into the Barstool version Michael Felger, crying ‘Wolf’ after every dumb loss and nowhere to be found after a win. And I hate that shit. I gave up local sports talk years ago because of how toxic and negative it was. But alas, here we are. Maybe I’m just old and grumpy now. But the losses are simply more compelling to talk about. You don’t need a second “Holy shit what a win blog,” we’ve got that covered. Also, I do this on my own time, and I’m not paid for it (nor should be). So at the moment I’m angrily typing into my notes app at 12:43 AM, with a 3 year-old who will be up calling for me in less than 6 hours. Needless to say, I’m a little more fired up and aggro to weigh-in following losses than wins. 

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Preamble out of the way, let’s get into it. What is this team’s problem and why can’t they defend their home court?

If you’re an idiot like me who spends time aimlessly scrolling twitter, I’m sure you saw the horrific stat floating around about the final four teams in the NBA playoffs and their home records this post season. If not, be prepared to puke:

  • Denver 9-3, 8-0 at home
  • Miami 9-3, 6-0 at home
  • LA 8-5, 6-0 at home
  • Boston 8-6, 4-4 at home

One of those things is not like the other. If you go back to last year, the C's are 10-10 at home in their last 20 home playoff games. To be fair, they have won two home Game 7s in that stretch, so it’s not like they CAN’T show up. But that in and of itself is the problem.

When you boil it down, this team’s bravado and self-regard is out of line with their play on the floor. They truly seem to believe they can show up and win. Whether it’s reading their own press clippings, resting on their laurels, smelling their own farts, whatever cliche you want to call it, they think they are better than they are. The sense of entitlement is palpable. The complete disregard to the little things, the attention to details, is embarrassing. Until their backs are against the wall. Then they care. Then they show up. 

That’s a major problem. The fan base feels it. This fan base does not love this team. 

We like this team. 

We think this team is definitely good enough to win a title. 

But "love?" Nah, it’s not there.

It is really hard to wrap your arms around a team who doesn’t respect the game enough to show up and fight every night. To give a shit for a full 48 minutes unless their backs are against the wall. I'm not talking vs. the Hornets in January. Last time I checked, it's the fucking playoffs.

The vibes in the Garden are different because of it, too, even compared to last year’s run. The act has worn thin on an admittedly spoiled fan base who thinks it’s its birthright to win championships. We are as much as fault as the players in that regard. But when it’s hard as a fan to be amped up for an ECF game, you know something is rotten. You don’t know if the players are gonna give a shit.

I think back to Game 6 of the 2012 ECF vs. the Heat. The LeBron Game. The night he shed all his postseason/Celtics demons and eviscerated the Celtics who were at home with a chance to close out the series. As much as it sucked to watch the team get buried at home, to watch LeBron do whatever he wanted to the tune of 45-15-5 on 73% shooting, the lasting memory is something much different. 

As the blowout was ending and the realization we were headed back to Miami for a Game 7 set in - knowing full well we probably blew our chance to close out the series, knowing the KG-Pierce-Allen era was nearing it’s end - the fan base stood and chanted “Let’s Go Celtics” for 4 minutes. 4 fucking minutes. At the end of a 20 point rout. As corny as that is, and boy is it corny, it also shows the passion and love this fan base had for those teams, teams you knew that would fight every night.

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Could you imagine the fans doing that for this team? Hell no. When they no-showed Game 5 of the Sixers series, we booed them off the court. And deservedly so.

As for the game itself, there's plenty to pick apart. The complete lack of defense, Tatum's 4Q no-show, Jaylen's turnovers, the coaching decisions, pick your poison. I'll leave all that to Greenie. It's the macro I care about right now.

Side note: I'm sure people will bitch about timeouts in the 3Q. Some is fair, he should have called one at some point. But there are also 2 built in TV-timeouts. Nothing changed the whole quarter. They gave up 46 fucking points. This wasn't a run or a spurt a well-used timeout could have stopped. It was a total quarter of ineptitude. Rant over.

In true Celtics fashion, they will respond to the Game 1 loss and win Game 2. I still think they win the series and still think they have as good a chance as anyone to win the title. But for once, I want them to show up before it’s a necessity, and play with the urgency ANY playoff game should require, not wait for your back to be against the wall and the margin of error to be non-existent. 

God, this shit is getting old. I'm done typing and I'm tired as hell. Celtics, I beg of you, let us enjoy an objectively good basketball team’s playoff run. Please. Just give a shit consistently. That’s not too much to ask.