If you were a Celtics’ fan watching the Bulls v. Heat game the other night, you may have broken out into an uncontrollable cold sweat and a screaming fit. This is called PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This happens when you are forced to relive an experience, or experiences, that caused you trauma.
After the Heat closed out the Celtics in five games, you may have thought, “it’s over. He can’t hurt me anymore.” You were wrong. You may not have known it at the time but LeBron James was going to make you relive the turning point in the Eastern Conference Semifinals that spelled doom for the Celtics.
After leading for virtually the entire game, the Bulls found themselves in the unenvious position of having their opponent storm back and tie the game. The Bulls, like the Celtics, shouldn’t have even been in this situation. The game should have been on ice long before it got to this point. By the time it did, the Heat had hoarded all the momentum and weren’t about to start sharing.
With the game tied and Miami in possession of the last shot, Ronnie Brewer drew an offensive foul on James. While the foul looked questionable, James did something really petulant. He was in midair for the potential game-winning foul-line jumper when the whistle blew. As soon as he heard it, he stopped his follow through, landed with the ball, and started demonstrably complaining. If he was so sure he didn’t charge into Brewer, why didn’t he assume the official was calling the foul on Ronnie Brewer? Why didn’t he shoot the damn ball?
At any rate, now the game is really starting to conjure memories of the Celtics’ game four loss to Miami. Replace “charging into Ronnie Brewer” with “turning the ball over to Ray Allen” and you have the same situation. Tie game, only seconds left, a team capable of closing out. In both instances, poor execution won out. The other night, Derrick Rose provided a few cross-over stutter-step dribbles and took a step back long two: a shot he makes consistently when his opponent isn’t 6’8″ and super athletic. The shot clanged off the rim and the game went to overtime.
You know the rest of the story: Miami out athletic’d the entire Bulls team and strung together a few scores to put the game away. The funny part was the announcing crew that spent the entire Celtics’ experiencing talking about age catching up with a veteran team and running out of gas in the fourth quarter was using the same excuses for the Bulls. After watching Kevin Garnett try in vain to gut-out the last moments of his career season, I don’t want to hear about Joakim Noah being “out of gas”.
The similarities between these two games rival the Lincoln/Kennedy conspiracy theories. Both losing teams were known for the defense, yet couldn’t shut Miami down late in the fourth quarter and overtime. Both teams ran the same “Tom Thibodeau” set of defensive rotations. The late turnover by James game the opponent the final shot to win the game in regulation. The subsequent botched attempt. Even right down to the blown traveling calls on LeBron James:
Celtics Game 4:
Bulls Game 4:
Full Disclosure: these are meaningless. They are travels, they are turnovers and should have been called as such. But the Miami Heat won both of these games because James couldn’t be stopped, not because of these isolated incidents. Although, part of me wants a press conference reporter to ask James about these so we can get another “crab dribble” sound byte.
The Heat now hold the same commanding 3-1 series lead they held over Boston and will probably close out in five or six. If you’re like Wyc Grousbeck, this sucks. But at least you know you’re a Mavericks fan for the rest of the season.