Friday, April 2, 2010

Some Lightning in Thunder Loss

The Celtics played with energy, and lit up the stat sheet. Yet, Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder got the W. I talk about how, even in a disappointing loss, the C's give reason for hope...

Two parallel universes collided at the Garden Wednesday night. Had fate worked out differently, the Celtics could've looked a lot like the young and surging Thunder that beat them 109-104. In 2007, Boston traded Jeff Green (who scored 17 against Boston last night) in a package to the Supersonics. This brought Ray Allen to the Celtics and put the new Big Three in motion. Had the trade never happened, the Celtics would've looked very different: a lot younger and a lot like Oklahoma City. There wouldn't have been an '08 championship. But, they could've had the up and coming superstar, Kevin Durant, and a young aspiring team that would contend for many years to come. Given Boston's recent struggles, especially against young teams, it's easy to see why many fans might want to rewind time and make this happen.

On the T ride home after Wednesday night's loss someone came up to my friend and asked who won. When told the bad news he replied, "Ahh...they got no more haaaht!!". This pretty much echoes the sentiments of all Celtics fans. Their team is too old and they've given up. The Big Three brought the city a championship in 2008. However, their performance this second half of the season has shown that that could very well be the last one. The Celtics have been inconsistent; their win streaks short. Recently, they impressed fans with a victory over the Mavericks only to let them down with a lopsided loss to the Spurs. Celtics fans have come to expect that with every W there's a disappointing L around the corner.  

I've felt this same way for most of the season, however; strangely enough; Wednesday's loss made me feel differently. In a lot of ways, it was the referees that lost the game for Boston that night. Garnett said it best, "I thought we were playing Michael f---kin Jordan tonight the way he was getting the whistle. Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team." And he's right. Durant shot 15 free throws and made all of them, while the Celtics only attempted 17 free throws as a unit. Yet blaming a loss purely on the referees is a bit unfair. Durant helped the Thunder by putting up 37 points, and the Celtics had their share of botched opportunities. Such as when Sheed missed a 3-pointer trailing by 4 with 1:01 left in the fourth. Like Pierce said after the game, "The referees, they make they call. And it is what it is. I can't control that part of the game I just gotta control what I do as a player". So while OKC's free throws definitely contributed to the equation, they weren't the whole story.

For the most part though, the Celtics impressed me. The old lions played with an energy that matched the young Thunder. Contrary to the beliefs of the random guy from the T, the Celtics did play with heart. They were coming back from deficits instead of losing leads, and they kept the game neck and neck for most of the second half. There wasn't even a third quarter meltdown which we've seen so often this season. Even Rasheed Wallace shined through the stink cloud surrounding him. Every time he attempted a field goal, I cringed. Yet he crushed it 7 out of 8 times and finished with 18 points - tying for the Celtics lead. Rondo recorded a double double, and overall Boston finished with 60% shooting from the field. It's as if the Celtics were trying to prove they still had it. They'd looked at the other bench, saw the team that could've been them and aimed to show fans that the right choice was made. Unfortunately, they came up short. But, after watching them play so hard, it's hard for me to say they don't have heart anymore. Maybe they didn't before, but they do now. The Celtics lost, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

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  1. Why is Mikki Moore in that picture lol?

  2. Very interesting perspective.. now let's see them grind out some wins!

  3. hard to find picks of the oklahoma game for free haha -saversports

  4. There, posted a different picture. :)