Do we even have to watch Game 6?
And a Game 7 if there is one?
The formula looks in place, since the Celtics lost Avery Bradley in Game 1, that is. Games 2 & 5, blowout losses in Atlanta. Games 3 & 4, close wins in Boston.
That sets us up for a close Celtic win in Game 6 here in Boston. Doesn’t it?
Yeah, I know the above means jack…especially since you have no idea which players will show up for the C’s, even at home. It has become abundantly clear that Isaiah can’t do it by himself. After his performance in Game 5, you wonder if Isaiah will even show up.
Of course he will. But he won’t be able to do much if there are two or three guys draped over him. Especially if his ankle is still banged up, which it probably is. Hopefully he won’t talk about it though, like other players have talked about their injuries to the press. From what I’ve seen from Isaiah, I don’t believe he will go that route. But I guess you never know…by the way, I’m not blaming Stevens for leaving him in too long like most others are. Yeah, he probably should have never come out for the fourth, based on the score. But it was a couple minutes in. Brad had a sub at the table to replace him next whistle. I’m not getting hung up over it.
Anyway, the Celts got blasted in Game 5 because Thomas was getting smothered and no one else on the team could do anything about it. The game could have gone so much differently if the C’s hit some of their open looks early in the game. Had a 10 point lead at one point. What if it was 15? Or 20?
Ok, Atlanta was missing some open looks at the same time as well. But I don’t think I’ve seen so many layups missed by one team…in an entire series. And uncontested three pointers as well…types of shots that the Celtics made plenty of during the season. One play by Dirk Nowit…errrrr, I mean, Kelly Olynyk was particularly vexing. He grabbed an offensive rebound 2 feet from the basket and instead of going up strong, he shied away and actually threw it over the basket, barely nipping a part of the rim at the far end. Maybe he was protecting the shoulder, I don’t know…but it was awful.
Well, that was all part of the reason anyway. In the 3rd quarter it looked like they decided to stop playing defense as well. Talk about uncontested jumpers. Stiffs like Kent Bazemore and Mike Scott were dropping shots down like they were actually good. Ok, that was a little harsh. Those guys can play at least a little bit. But they were unstoppable that game…that quarter anyway.
So now that the C’s are back home, is it all good again? Not so sure. Honestly, I could see them just running out of gas and calling it a series. Maybe that was part of the reason for the Hawks 3rd quarter explosion in Game 5. The Celts have given everything they have in this series…and all year, for that matter. That’s what they have to do to win games at their talent level. How much do they have left? And it comes down to other guys besides Thomas stepping up, as we have already said.
Marcus Smart was HUGE in Game 4. I can’t say I am a big fan of his game (his offensive one anyway), but it does appear the guy has some stones. I wasn’t all that worked up over his defensive effort against Paul Millsap at the end of the game. He couldn’t have done any worse than anyone else. Yes, he played big there as well. But Brad Stevens probably did have a good point by saying Millsap was probably tired after scoring all those points before Marcus got on him. That all being said, the C’s could use that kind of game from him again tonight. But we surely cannot count on it.
We’ve all been saying it the whole series, but a return to form of Jae Crowder would be nice. Yeah, of course he is banged up. But if he’s out there like 35 minutes a game, it can’t be that bad. I’m sorry, it can’t be. High ankle sprain, high schmankle sprain. So he needs to find his shot again…and soon. 26% for the series (21% from three)? YIKES!! (44% & 34% during the regular season, for comparison’s sake). Unfortunately, the C’s can’t turn to anyone else, so he’s gonna be out there a lot again tonight.
Speaking of “showing up”, what happens if the real Al Horford decides to appear tonight? Have not been impressed by this potential “max contract” guy this series at all. Truth be told, I haven’t been impressed by Millsap either, other than his 45 point game. That’s the thing that aggravates the crap out of me. The Celtics had a pretty good opportunity to advance in the playoffs. But they have been so putrid offensively that they haven’t taken advantage of it.
Don’t blame the Avery Bradley injury either. It hurt (pun intended!), for sure. But they still had enough to beat the Hawks. Don’t blame the lack of home court advantage either. Or anything else. It is what it is.
I speak in the past tense often here because I believe the train stops tonight. The Celtics have given us plenty of highlights and hope for the future during this current season. Worked together as a team with max effort to get to this point. They will again tonight. The fans at the Gaaaaaah-den will be fired up. It just won’t be enough. I hope I am wrong that it is not over tonight. But just have that feeling…
So…to answer the question posed above…please do watch tonight. And applaud this 2015-16 team. Say goodbye to Sully and Turner, among others, if you wish. But don’t forget about the long view. And hope for some fireworks from Danny this summer…
Posted on April 28, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Game 6, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, NBA playoffs, Paul Millsap. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.