I don't think I could've been any lower after game five. I was crushed like I confused The Who's soundcheck with the show's start (#toosoon?). But today I am fired tf up, ladies, gents, and theys. It's still hard to believe they're here after starting the year 18-21, but the C's are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals for the 4th time since the 2016-17 season/the history of this publication.
Now, of course, they're 0-3 in those previous ECFs and 0-4 dating back to 2012, but these Celtics are battled tested and ready to get over the hump (we're not becoming the Terry Pendleton of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals). This team has been resilient all season and proved today why they were right to go for the two-seed and not rest down the stretch. Admittedly, I wanted to avoid Brooklyn, but this path has helped the C's. They've gotten some much-needed callouses these playoffs. It's hard to say home-court advantage mattered in a series where the road team went 4-3, but it sure as shit did today as the Celtics drained 22 threes, highlighted by Batman's game seven record-tying seven triples (which are always best).
For the second time in three postseasons, the Celtics have knocked off the defending champs in a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinal (although the Raptors were a much different team without Kawhi). You don't hang a banner for that, but it's a sweet little nugget. And I don't want to hear shit about the Bucks not having Middleton; Giannis gets to play with his own set of rules (fullback rules), and we were without Timelord for like 92% of the series and still found a way to hold Milwaukee to 97.7 ppg over seven games.
There's still a looooong way to go for banner 18, but as a narrative guy, you can't ask for a much sweeter potential road to the Finals; knocking out the three teams that eliminated you the last three years. You'd love to see Philly in the mix cause fuck them, but I want Miami.
These Conference Finals are a revenge series. I fucking hate the Miami Heat. They've knocked the C's out of the playoffs three times since 2011, including in the bubble where the Celtics let the first two games slip away. Sure, it's different without Lebron, Wade, and Bosh, but they've still got Haslem! Game 7 in 2012 still hurts and is an all-time sliding doors moment in NBA history if Lebron doesn't win that title and the C's Big 3 gets to a third Finals, but I'm not going down that path rn---we're in a happy place.
We hear a lot about the Jays not even being in their prime yet, which is true, but this is their 3rd trip together to the ECF (and Jaylen's 4th). People will say Boston fans are spoiled. I say that's semi-valid at best. The Celtics have one championship since 1987. That's tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals and Carolina Hurricanes and behind the Florida Marlins, Minnesota Twins (who nearly got contracted) and Houston Rockets. This is a franchise dying for another championship. Let's not forget wee lil Dozo was just a high school sophomore the last time we won.
We've been on the cusp so many times since 2008. I haven't wanted a ring like this in a long time (2020ish).
I'll be honest (I always am, that's just writing fluff) I crushed some BL smooth and b rips before, during, and after the game and don't have too much to say about x's and o's. As much as I want to be #HireDdozo, I'm ready to relax after long weekend on the ub** streets and the stress of two elimination games---plus DSM---for real this time. Technical breakdowns are not my swag with b-ball, but after a slow start in the first quarter, the Celtics outscored Milwaukee 89-55 in the final 36 minutes. When the Bucks would get as close as 10, the C's answered and eventually ran the defending champs off the floor.
BIGGEST of ups to DPOY of the year, Marcus Smart, for bouncing back after his dreadful final minute-ish of game five with a double-double to cash yet another big-time plus sign ticket for the boiiii.
What a heads up play to end the first half. Basketball IQ like you read about. At least this time he got three shots.
Jayson was red hot; starting 5-5 from behind the arc, the only thing that could slow him down was questionable officiating. Hopefully, if the Celtics move past Miami, he'll finally start getting some star calls, but I am not overlooking the Heat whatsoever.
IMO Spoelstra is the best coach in the NBA, and their roster is full of guys with (bubble) Finals experience. It's gonna be a battle, but unlike this series, the Celtics have the best player on the floor, and his name is Jayson Tatum. I watched game 6 in a Wendy's parking lot on my phone in between ub** rides, but I'd be a real piece of shit if I didn't mention is FORTY SIX point showing in an elimination game on the defending champ's home floor.
I'm just so glad we won. I'm legit happy as I type this blog, which is incredibly rare. After Jayson picked up his fourth foul, I was terrified that could be the momentum switch the Bucks made their comeback, but instead, the Celtics extended their lead (S/O Jayson and Batman). Tonight's win was a team effort, and that's what it'll take to get past Miami. No more iso hero ball late please. Plenty more to come throughout the ECF, but I'm gonna soak this one in for the rest of the night. 8 more wins. Halfway home.
Stephen A. was spot on here, but Derrick White (1/10 from the floor) made his one basket count to push the lead to 15 late in the 3rd.
S/O Payton Pritchard too. He's had some ugly shooting nights these playoffs, but came to fucking play in game 7.