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Appreciating the “Let’s Go Celtics” Sendoff from Garden Crowd

 

It was a simple gesture that started with about three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The TD Garden was more than half empty, as LeBron James had already ensured the Celtics wouldn’t be clinching a return to the NBA Finals on the Garden parquet. A decent amount of C’s diehards remained until the bitter end when the chant popped up from one of the balcony sections to my left with mere moments remaining.

“LET’S GO CELTICS” (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP) “LET’S GO CELTICS”

At first, I took it simply as a smart and supportive gesture. Instead of showering your team with boos as they head into the series-deciding Game 7, why not give them some encouragement before they take off for South Beach in the winner-take-all affair.

The chanting did not fade however. Both ends of the Garden went back and forth with it. Through a myriad of foul calls, free throws and an endless final three minutes of regulation, the refrain continued from the Garden. It would neither fade or die out. Instead, it only gained steam. This wasn’t just an impromptu pep rally. It was more than that. It was a message.

Right as the chanting continued for about a minute, it hit me. Not only was this encouragement from the Garden faithful, this was a realization. Maybe, just maybe, this would be the last time Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen wear a Celtic uniform on the Garden floor. Uncertainity surround both men as they head into the offseason. Both are free agents, and it’s unclear if Garnett will play again beyond this year. Everyone knows the deal with both guys.

With no other appropriate way of thanking each of those guys specifically for their years of service, the Garden let the cheers weigh down upon the KG, Allen and the remainder of the starters watching from the bench. You know, just in case this was it for them.

It was as close to a thank you they could give at that point. They had appreciated what these underdogs had done during this season, and this incredible five-year run that had gone two years past the three-year “window.” The end was potentially near though finally, but the message was clear.

We don’t want it to end. We want more. So don’t get down on yourselves. Get even.

And every member of the Celtics roster appreciated that very message:

Kevin Garnett: “I just wanted to say to all the fans- I knew it was going to be a crazy day- it took me 3 hours to get to the Garden today, that’s unusual. I want to say to all the fans, thank you guys. I’ve never in my life experienced anything like this- in any sport. I’m just truly blessed to be a Celtic and be a part of the city of Boston. That’s what’s up to all the New Englanders around here. It’s f***ing crazy.”

Doc Rivers: ”Did you hear our crowd the last three minutes of the game? What other crowd in the NBA does that? It’s a terrific place to play. The fans were unbelievable. They did their part tonight. We just didn’t do ours.”

Ray Allen: ”Kevin was sitting next to me, and I said ‘I know I’m biased, but they’re the best fans I’ve ever played in front of or ever seen in my life.’ They understand the situation that is before us, and we understand it. And that was basically them sending us off, letting us know, hey, this is still well and alive. We need you guys to go down there and get a win for us. We all felt it on the bench.

I know the game was going on. It seemed like that three minutes lasted forever. It was special. I’ll talk about that forever, just knowing being down 20 and these people are still standing up, cheering us on, because they know we just have to win one game.”

Paul Pierce: “We have the best fans in the world. Down 20, at home, in the playoffs, and they cheer us off the court. And that’s just awesome. That’s why we have the best fans in the world.”

Rajon Rondo: ”It was unbelievable. We’ve always said this, but that just shows we have the best fans in sports. Not just basketball. A lot of them stayed, and the chant was unbelievable. It was a crazy feeling when you’re down 20.”

Rarely does a team feel optimistic after being blown out in a home playoff game. Yet, it somehow happened after Game 6. And that crazy feeling you felt down 20 Rajon? It’s called Celtic Pride.

  • The Cardinal

    The crowd and the players are class acts in that they acknowledge and appreciate one another openly and consistently. That's why it's so hard to criticize this team whose aging core is giving it everything they've got.

    I am so glad Danny didn't blow it up because win or lose, Ray, KG, PP, and RR earned the right for another shot at the championship many times over. As fans, our May and June have been so much better because of the opportunity they were given after the trade deadline.

  • Mike C

    > the players are class acts …

    For the most part, agreed. But while I may get shouted down here, I was disappointed with Rondo's crash-flop-foul vs. Chalmers. I am *no* fan of Chalmers, but I'd rather see us win with artistry with the ball, not cheap gamesmanship. (Same goes for somebody clutching their face and rolling around after a foul, when the replay clearly shows there was zero contact with the head… I love soccer, but institutionalized flopping is IMHO the worst thing about it, and something I do NOT want to see making its way into basketball.)

    You can say every team does this to some extent, and that may be true, but it's still not what I want to see from the C's. I want to believe we're better than that.

    • steve

      stop whining like a little beech.

    • monty

      as a big soccer fan i was thinking about the same thing at the moment, but there's a clear difference here between flopping and winning a foul. rondo put himself in position to get fouled by chalmers and have chalmers pick up another. it was a smart play to draw the foul. i think this is more akin to paul pierce's typical move of the pump fake and the jumpshot foul than a dive.

  • tbunny

    Tough loss but we love this team. LET'S GO CELTICS!!!

  • Kafel

    Two things make me optimistic about game 7:
    1. Celtics played 2 bad games in a row, I mean in game 5 they didn't play well until 4q and yet They won. I don"t believe that Boston will have 3 bad games in a row! They will come out focused and ready.
    2. James had just monster game, he won it almost by himself and that won't likely happen again on Saturday.

    Oh and please someone tell KG what Shaun Powell wrote about Celtics chances: "They’ve made it this far on pride, more than anything else. But that takes you only so far.
    Like, to the doorstep of the NBA Finals. But probably not through the door." Maybe this will fire him up even more and He will respond like in that game with Hawks!

    Let's go Celtics!

  • Eric

    5 more games to win! Let'S go Celtics!

  • GowGow

    LET'S GO CELTICS!

  • Nathan

    I how we utterly destroy lebron and the heatles in game 7!!!!!!

  • Chief

    Made me wish I was there when the chanting started

  • Anthony

    I was pretty disappointed with the game and didn't even want to watch the last minutes of the game. But then I hear the on-going chants "Let's go Celtics" and it just puts everything in perspective. This team has gone through so much over the course of season and to boo them just wouldn't be fair. J.Green, Wilcox, JO season ending injuries; Pierce, Ray, AB, Dooling, Stiemsma, MP injuries; I don't think any other team has had that much injuries.

    I can assure you it resonated with the Heats players and they're envious of the type of fans the Celtics have. If the situation were reversed and the game was played in Miami, I'm sure their limited remaining fans would have started booing instead of showing support.

    Everything said, I'm just proud of this Celtics team and proud to be part of Celtics Nation.

    #Believe Banner 18!!

  • shawn

    I just wish some clown hadn’t overshadowed the class of the majority of Celtic fans by pouring a beer on Lebron. Funny as it may have been, it was completely classless and because it was caught on national TV you know that is what outsiders will look at and the media will run with. But I guess the important thing is that the players got the message, I know Boston fans chanted for them and certainly not media attention/praise…because WE ARE NOT SOUTH BEACH! Celtice Pride!

    • Zee

      Not to mention, the guy who threw the ball at Dwyane Wade's head. That wasn't cool either.

  • W2.

    OKC here we come!

  • High Rollers

    That kind of thing renews perspective, renews a spirit. That’s why you see it in movies all the time. I keep thinking about Cool Runnings when the guys are almost about to surprise the world by winning gold. When their less than optimal sled comes apart down the chute, there’s an absolutely tragic sense of failure. Until each manages to stand up, dust off, and carry their sled together past the finish line. When everybody–including the smug Swiss competition–sees it, the clapping begins, the cheers of true appreciation rain down, and there’s a sense of something greater. That’s the kind of cheer that I was hoping but not expecting to emerge out of those last three minutes last night. But then it did. That kind of cheer changes things. It may not determine who wins Saturday, but if we come out decisive and without the fumbles, that sendoff will surely have had a little something to do with it. It said, don’t worry about tomorrow, we love you guys, go with our blessing and good wishes, and whatever happens, because nothing is ever promised, we know what you have been, and you’re a part of this club forever because of it.

  • banner18

    I love the Boston team because they've always been resilient and thrived in pressure. They are a unit who have great teamwork. They always put the team first before themselves. Each of these guys always stress and preach being in a team to win. They fight along and for each other on the floor every night. People keep saying they're getting old, year after year, but look at them, they almost always make an appearance to the East Finals or NBA Finals year after year. Sure they're getting old, but wisdom and experience comes with their age. I'm confident that they could take game 7 just 'cause they've been through a lot of game 7s before. Been there done that as they say. I'm not so sure if I could say the same of the other team. I'm positive our boys will bounce back. LET'S GO CELTICS!!!

  • CelticsBIG3

    Hope the Celtics can come together on this. They know they disappointed the fans in the building last night, and being the prideful group they are, you have to believe they will carry with them those incredible chants on the airplane to Miami, into the hotel, and into the American Airlines Arena. Leave it to the folks in the balcony to drive another incredible chant. I've led section 326 many a night to an array of different chants. When we look back on these chants in a few days, I want them to be remembered as what helped push the Celtics to compete and win in South Beach; rather than a fond farewell to a group that has brought me endless memories from "blood, sweat, and tears" in 2008 to "grit and balls" through 2012. We want more; WE NEED MORE – Bring it to us boys, and please be sure to pack for Oklahoma City. I remember in 2010, it came out that the Celtics had stashed $2600 in the ceiling of the Staples Center during their only visit to the building that season with plans to regain it by making the NBA Finals. Lets hope the Celtics stashed some guts and "non-isolation-Paul Pierce" plays in the ceiling at the American Airlines Arena.

    • High Rollers

      I think they're already in the air and on their way, BIG3. God only knows what they're chewing on right now. I'm hoping it's Bubblicious. Or that 5 gum with the freaky commercials they play at the movie theater.

      • noche

        I bet it's Stride – that's the only thing that could last the 3.5 hour flight.

        • High Rollers

          Excellent point.

  • Zee

    LETS GO CELTICS!?

  • High Rollers

    I love Jackie Mac, but she is officially today's Debbie Downer. Not only does she figuratively send the entire team to the corner as one would a five-year-old, but she apparently fails to appreciate the entirety of last night's ending. And yes, this is another reference to the chant, the fans. This is what happens to journalists, I guess, even the most basketball savvy and credentialed journalists with basketball-filled pasts. Look. When a person gets in his/her own way, then sometimes you need someone to reach out a hand, offer a slap lovingly upside the head, and say, "C'mon! Let's go!" (Sound familiar, Paul and Rajon?) The crowd that remained last night gave the most loving slap imaginable. Whatever was inexcusable from our crew last night was collectively and publicly absolved by the ones that count, the ones that stayed. I hope that point got through to the guys as well. A "high-yield proposition," Jackie Mac? Get your mind off Wall Street for a minute and remember what's like to be a player and a fan right in the middle of things. You will have the rest of your life to eulogize this group with ruler-sharp verbal lamentations, if you must. But just for now, please, Jackie Mac, try to believe in this team whole-heartedly. Maybe you can't, because of your job. But I don't care what they did last night, they deserve nothing less. We all heard the jury speak.

    • High Rollers

      Here's the link to her piece: http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/8024409/

      • The Cardinal

        Sports journalists and talking heads epitomize the phrase "a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing." While I can and do appreciate many aspects of what they do, I generally find the editorials and commentary tiresome simply.

        Generally speaking, journalists are no more qualified to write or speak about what's going on in the heads and hearts athletes they cover than you or I, and I always find it a little presumptuous of individuals who never were and never will be world class athletes to speak with such certainty about "why" a particular player was either outstanding or was horrendous in any given game.

        As Muhammad Ali once said to Howard Cosell when Howard was pontificating about all the reasons Ali should retire and not fight George Foreman: "Howard, who have you fought?"

        • High Rollers

          Love your post here. Although I should note that Jackie's a baller. That's why I get so irritated when she goes all Wall Street on us.

  • High Rollers

    I personally want another tilt like Game 4. Total bar fight. Horns locked in epic battle. Everyone knowing that it's going to be 48 minutes of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. And more than anything else, I WANT TO SEE THAT D!

  • James Patrick

    The chants of Let's Go Celtics!!! Gave me almost as many goosebumps as KG's "Anything's Possible" speech. We can do this. I still believe and we do have the best fans in the world!!!

  • BuddB

    All right so we all thought the CELTICS were going to go on and win 4 straight from the Heat espec. after winning in Miami in game 5, and going home to the best crowd in the NBA but what the hell happened to all the stars for the Celtics over confident like the Heat got cocky after winning the first 2, that Boston should have taken game 2. It was like just thinking that there were going to get it done came out okay we got this one so lets play. Well I don't care Lebron scored 45 pts. the rest of the team wasn't any where near as good but they got the job done. But the Celtics slow movement from one end to the other and what the hell is letting the ball roll past half court just waiting for some one to try to steal it or hey let's use 10 seconds to let the defense get set up so we have nothing to do but waste the clock. Pick the damn ball up get down and go for the basket, is that transition basketball ???

  • BuddB

    Especially at he end of the game with 6 minutes doing the same slowness if any one wanted to slow should of been Miami doing so but they didn,t have to.Yes this was a was a bad game I would love to see the intensity get back up to what it should have been now to win a 2nd. game back here I know game 7 can go either way and the Celtics have to play a hell of a lot better and get their shooting percentage up less turn overs ,rebounding and general great team pride ,heart that is what this team has always been about. The best group off guys on a team and they need to play a better offensive and defensive to get by the Heat.

  • BuddB

    Down here the are saying get the walkers out for the visitors as THEY LOOK OLD AND TIRED. So yes I'm a long time Celtics fan grew up in Mass.now I'm a transplant to So.Florida use to think the Heat was never better than the Celtics but now it's to time to get it done on the Heat home court again._Never stopped loving the Celtics and haven't given up on them and never will, just a little dissapointed with the players performance last night. So Celtics bring your best game to the Miami arena as your going to have to beat the Heat here again and you can._ Hopefully optimistic still got the Celtic's pride and you guy's can do this. _ Bud B._

  • I_Love_Green

    Game 7 is going to be the most difficult and gritty win of the big 3 era, but we will get it done.

  • Lantrell Walker

    S/O to the fans who stayed until the final buzzer despite the lopsided game & let these Celtics know how much we love them. I think that that it means much more to this Celtics team than we or anyone else could ever really understand. If anyone else needs anymore assurance of how great & mentally tough these Celtics are, here's the tweet of the night from RedsArmy last night: The Celtics WILL take this as a slight. Whether it was or wasn't…
    they will

    #WeBelieveIn18

  • Batman

    I was about to turn my TV off before I heard this chant
    I just sat there and listened and remembered since 2008 all thats happened
    I've had the time of my life as a Celtics fan for these last 5 years
    I wish I could tell everyone on the Celtics thanks specifically, but since I can't I'm glad the Boston Faithful did it for me

    • Pete

      I seriously teared up reading this comment. So many memories from a team that just never quit, even when it didn't really have a chance of winning (like last year's ECF). The fans last night echoed my sentiments exactly, and no matter what happens tomorrow, I think that KG, Ray and Paul will forever be proud to say "I am a Celtic"

  • Stephen

    I'm from back East originally now living on the West Coast. After getting over my dissapointment with the bad showing by the C's, I'm so glad I didn't walk away from the TV before the game ended. I endlessly listen each year to clueless Laker fans who know nothing about NBA basketball. I can vouch for what I'm about to say. That is, what happened during the last 3 or 4 minutes last night would never and I mean NEVER!!! happen with Laker fans. I watched the look on the faces of the C's as the crowd continued to chant. KG, PP, Rondo. Ray—- all of them where blown away by the send off they got, particularly after such a horrible performance. I could see the look in Ray's eyes— angry that the team had let the fans down. I'm callin it now. C's deliver in game 7. I love this team. Keep the faith people. # 18 is happening!!!!!

  • jaypee

    lets go CELTICS! let's go CELTICS!!! beat the Heat.. c'mon guys you can do it….

  • Switcharoo

    Only in Boston, only for such are heartfelt team.
    I know in my heart that those guys are heading to S. Beach with that chat in their hearts and minds and are prepared to give the Heat the fight of their lives for the ECF. Win or lose they will return the gesture by playing at the top of their ability.
    All things said I’m just happy to have been witness to this chapter in Celtics history.
    LET’S GO CELTICS!!!
    We believe in you guys
    We believe in #18!

  • Uptown

    We are going to win on Saturday night. I love this Celtics team

  • CelticsBIG3

    This team never shits the bed twice in a row. Lets go get it.

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