The Celtics are heading into game 6 tonight, with a chance to close out the Regular Season Champs at TD Garden. Make no mistake, they have done nothing yet, but they are on the threshold of completing one of the most unexpected 2nd round upsets in NBA history.
I can’t help but not notice though, in the past 36 hours, the lack of attention given to the hometown team after their 32 point win. The Celtics likely don’t mind it, in fact they are probably relishing flying under the radar here as the underdogs, as the Cavaliers and LeBron have been dissected under the microscope, thanks to their second home no-show of the series. The more focus and pressure they get on them, the better, right?
Yet, despite all this, I can’t help but be perturbed by the lack of credit given to the Celtics after their big win, in all forms of media yesterday. Instead of asking, how did the Celtics shut down LeBron, it’s been termed everywhere by simply asking what went wrong for the Cavs, as opposed to what went right for the Celtics.
The questions about Cleveland came fast and furious on Wednesday. Is LeBron James still hurt? Is he a choke artist? Does he even care? His lack of aggressiveness stood out Tuesday night like a sore thumb, and people needed to find a reason why.
Lots of questions with very few answers at this point. Yet, there is one simple answer, the masses are overlooking in their hunt to explain LeBron’s struggles. You see, it’s quite simple really. The Boston Celtics have been the best team this series, and likely are the better team overall.
You see, yes LeBron had an off night on Tuesday, but take a look at that box score. Guess what? If LeBron scores 45 in that game, the Cavs STILL lose. The way everyone is acting, you would have guessed that the C’s won a squeaker in which LeBron no showed. Game 5 was a lot like Game 3 actually, just with the team’s roles reversed.
There was no way Boston was going to beat the Cavs in that contest unless everyone played out of their mind. Cleveland played flawlessly, and deserved much of the credit, rather than what’s wrong with Boston? The same goes for Boston in game 5, but a lot of people out there just don’t want to believe it.
Despite the C’s dominating the vast majority of the first five games of this series, still the skeptics remain. The C’s are playing well, but there is or was “no way the Cavs should lose to this Celtic team.” With their aging core, and regular season struggles, no one outside of 495 saw this coming.
Well, I’ll ask everyone about this. If you were starting a playground game, there’s obviously no doubt who would be the number 1 pick overall. However, after that, who would go in the next four spots in choosing teams? Rondo is a definite. Then we have The Big Three. Would you see anyone on the Cleveland roster being selected over any of those three guys after Lebron? I wouldn’t and I’m not being a homer here either.
People also keep playing the age card with The Big Three as well, as a reason the Cavs should be dismissing them. Have those three guys regressed that much since these two teams last matched up? Sure. However, have you taken a look at the Cavs starting lineup? Anthony Parker is 34, Jamison is 33, and Shaq is 37. Then you have Mo Williams who can’t play a lick of defense.
I guess what it comes down to here is the fact that while Cleveland is still a good team, they are a flawed team. They have the best player in this series, but the Celtics have the next best four, yet people still hesitate to declare that Boston has more talent than the Cavs. I saw this before the series started, even when people looked at me like I had three heads. There was too much talent there not to keep the faith.
It may not have always looked like it for the Green team. People wanted to believe they couldn’t just turn on the switch when they wanted to. Yet, it appears Doc Rivers and company were playing possum for the final couple months.
For now though, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. I want to hear more about Tom Thibideadou’s terrific defensive gameplans in holding the Cavs under 90 points 3 times in this series already.
I want to hear about the continued resurgence of Ray Allen who knocked down six treys during game 5m to add to his tremendous postseason resume.
I want to hear about the sustained bench contributions of Tony Allen and Glen Davis, the latter of which carried Boston in the final 12 minutes of game 5, by putting up a quick 12 points.
I want to hear about KG looking as good as he has all year, showing no signs of his knee troubles while averaging 18-6 every game against Cleveland.
I want to hear about The Truth discovering his offensive aggressiveness once again ,while putting together a terrific all around line of 21-11-7 in helping to keep tabs on LeBron all night.
These were the stories that went under the radar Tuesday night. The stories of how, with just one more win, this team that was long left for dead, could be a legitimate Championship contender, once more.
Now that’s a story I want to hear more about, it’s a story that could begin tonight.