The Boston Celtics Take Game 4 And Are Not Dead Yet!!
Thank you sweet baby Jesus.
I don't know about anyone else, but I was not ready for tonight to be the last Celtics game I ever watch. There's just no way I could mentally handle the Celtics going two years without losing 4 games in a row only for that to happen in the ECF. That would have been it for me I'm pretty sure. I can handle a lot of pain when it comes to this team, but a sweep? I'm not sure I recover from that. Let that be the story for LeBron's Lakers.
And here we are. After the way the Celts very clearly quit in Game 3, who the hell knew what team would show up today. We spent the morning talking about how the players on the Celtics couldn't play well in the ECF because they missed Ime Udoka so much, then we had to hear how an anonymous sources "feels" that the Celtics just don't like each other, while also having already been dealing with Joe had lost the locker room.
Turns out, the Celtics just needed their players to remember there was a basketball game being played. For the first time all series, the Celtics finally looked like the team we saw all year. They were getting stops, they were moving the ball, they were taking and making high volume threes, they eventually stopped turning the ball over and look what happened. They live to see another day.
This win was resilient. Getting down by 9 early, every time the Celts started to pull away the Heat would come right back and answer, it required this team to consistently prove they could execute as the pressure started to rise. You know who was ready to rise to the occasion?
Down by 6 at the half, the Celtics season was basically going to be decided by whether or not their best players could pull off a miracle. In these huge moments, you have to be able to turn to your franchise guys and man did it feel great to watch them both respond, but especially Tatum. It wasn't just his 25 second half points on 11-15 (3-5) shooting with only 1 TO. It was everything. HIs defense was tremendous, his patience offensively was exactly what was needed as he didn't put himself in high risk situations, his rebounding was solid, Tatum's 20 second half minutes were exactly what you needed.
If he doesn't have that second half, the Celtics season is over.
But when I say it was as if the rest of the roster remembered there was a game, it's because finally we saw shots drop. Grant Williams with 14 huge points on 4-7 (4-6) and a +15, he needs to stay in the rotation for the rest of the series. Al Horford finally hit a jumpshot with his 4-7 )3-6), Derrick was 5-10 (3-7), these are things we simply haven't seen all series. The entire team was shooting 29% from three through three games, it made no goddamn sense.
Tonight is what things look like when they defend and they hit shots at their normal rate. It's no surprise that the Celts won another game while holding an opponent to under 100 points, this is where everything stems from. Your offense looks better when you get stops. That's Basketball 101.
Look, everyone knows how much work is left to do. The odds are still most certainly not in the Celts favor. But they survived. They live to see another day, where anything can happen. Last time I checked, there have been plenty of teams that have come back from being down 3-1. That's not impossible. At this point all you need to focus on is earning another opportunity to play. Tonight was the first step, the Heat let you get 1. Now you have to make it 2 and put the pressure on.
Of course, assuming the Celts can win on their own floor is literally the dumbest shit you can do. Not only have they not done so in this series, they've sucked ass at home for the last 3 years. But you know what? Eventually, water finds its level. I'll still take my chances at the Garden in a Game 7ish type game.
The Celtics could have shown up tonight and punted. They got down early and could have boarded the plane to Cancun. But they fought like hell to keep their season alive. Win Game 5 and the Heat maybe start to get nervous. We've seen the Celts come back from being down 3-2 and needing to go on the road. The Heat left the door open, you HAVE to make them pay for it.
There is a long ass way to go, but the Celts are on the board and there is hope. Here's to praying there's more to come.