Back From The Dead?
Talking about both Boston winter sports teams…Celtics and Bruins. The simple answer to the question? Not quite. But wins on Friday night for both gives them both some hope. For one of the squads more than the other, but we will get to that.
If I had written this piece before Friday night, I would have entitled it “Life Support?”. Because it had seemed at that point that the playoffs were over for both teams before they had even really begun. Prospects were indeed bleak. One win apiece doesn’t necessarily change that. But things may be looking up.
The Bruins had the most exciting win of the two. Took them until double overtime to get it done. And won by someone who most people had never heard of…Sean Kuraly. 8 regular season games for the B’s with one assist. 2 playoff games with no points. Averaged less than 10 minutes a game in those 10 contests. Then in Game 5, back in for a benched Ryan Spooner, over 28 minutes played and 2 goals? What?!
Of course the B’s should have won in the first overtime, but let’s not even go there.
This series with Ottawa has been a dogfight, no question. The Senators have outscored the B’s 12-11. 3 OT games out of 5. A bounce here or there and the B’s could be in the lead actually.
Do I think the win Friday will spur the Bruins to victory in the series? No, I don’t. I’m thinking they will actually lose Game 6 Sunday (of course making my Ottawa 4-2 series win prediction come true!).
I just don’t think the B’s have the horses. For as much as the Game 5 win will pump their spirits and probably do wonders for them mentally, the physical aspect cannot be ignored. How much do they have left in the tank? About 39 hours after the finish of Game 5, they will lace them up for Game 6. David Krejci, who wasn’t healthy in the first place, left last game early with another injury. Hard to believe he will suit up for the next one. Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid presumably are still out.
The defense is the real key here. It’s amazing they have only allowed 12 goals in the series with some of the characters on the blue line. Tommy Cross had to play in one game! Yeah, Ottawa is no offensive juggernaut for sure. And Tuukka Rask has had his “7 million dollar goalie” moments. He has not played as well as people will lead you to believe…and admittedly part of that has been because of the rotating defensmen around him. But he was absolutely fantastic for at least the second half of Game 5 though, no question.
Back to the defense though, Zdeno Chara played over 36 minutes Friday and is averaging almost 30 for the series. 40 years old and still a good player. But…that’s some serious mileage so far. Charlie McAvoy? He may have plenty of juice for Game 6, but can we guarantee he keeps playing the way he has been? Perhaps the intensity in the NHL playoffs will wear him down a bit? And Joe Morrow played almost 30 minutes Friday. Joe Morrow? Seems he played pretty well, but can we count on that going forward?
For the Bruins, great win in Game 5. But I see that as the last hurrah. Unless Brad Marchand finally decides to show up…
On to the Celtics…
Now this one is a different story. Game 1 disappointment, Game 2 atrocity. Then a Game 3 rebound on the road. Though a blown 20 point lead early doesn’t help matters. Even if they still won by 17.
I don’t love the Celtics’ chances overall for the entire playoffs. But I do think they come back and win this series. And no, not just cuz Rajon Rondo is likely done for the series. Rondo has (had) clearly stepped up his game for this series. And I didn’t think “National TV Rondo” would show up for the series. So I was wrong. Wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last.
The Celtics, despite their flaws, and despite the personal situation Isaiah Thomas is still going through, are simply a better overall team than the Bulls.
Jimmy Butler will get his. Dwayne Wade will do enough. Robin Lopez, unfortunately, will probably still do OK against any of the Celtics’ “bigs”. But can the rest of the Bobby Portis’, Jerian Grant’s and Paul Zipser’s keep doing what they are doing? Maybe. But I’m not counting on it.
This Celtic team is not a championship team by any means. Many moves still have to be made to keep on that path. We’ve been through all this before. But they are too good to drop a first round series to a team that barely made the playoffs. I would have even said that if there was still a healthy Rondo to deal with.
Now that it is 2-1, the series becomes more manageable, even if Game 4 is in Chicago.
I can’t say that I thought inserting Gerald Green into the starting lineup in Game 3 was the perfect answer. But it didn’t hurt. Brad Stevens will have to continue to mix and match to find solutions. And despite his putrid career playoff record, I somehow have faith that he will. For this round anyway.
I see a C’s win in Game 4, but still a 6-7 game series, probably 7. It won’t be easy. But at least winning Game 3 gave them a shot to get back in this thing. And sure, their 3-point shooting in Game 3 was off the charts. I hate all the threes, but that’s their game. I expect more of the same going forward.
In any event, it makes for a good day of Sunday viewing. Along with the Boston Red Sox trying to actually win a game in Baltimore. But that’s a story for a different day…
Posted on April 23, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Brad Marchand, Brad Stevens, Bruce Cassidy, Charlie McAvoy, Chicago Bulls, Dwayne Wade, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler, NBA playoffs, Ottawa Senators, Rajon Rondo, Stanley Cup playoffs, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.