During the regular season, the Boston Celtics went 31-10 on the road, the best away record in the league. During the postseason, the Celtics are 0-4 on the road. Perhaps the losing wasn’t as troubling in the first round, when none of the Celtics’ away games were lost by double digits. But then the team lost by 24 points to Cleveland in Game 3. To put that in perspective, the Celtics lost by more than ten points in just two games during the regular season. Obviously, the Celtics need some mental toughness and they need it fast.
But, wait, this is 2008. Professional athletes aren’t pushed, they are pampered. So instead of getting chewed out and shamed, the Celtics are getting comforted. Dan Shaughnessy wrote in today’s Boston Globe that Celtics management is going to every extreme to make the next away game feel like a home game for the losers of four straight road games. The link to the article is http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2008/05/12/home_cooking_up/ Continue reading
When a fan’s team is in the playoffs, he or she builds a list of reasons for hating the other team. It’s an organic catalog that starts with stereotypes about the other team’s city (ex: Detroit‘s a run-down city) and ends with the annoying and meaningless physical features of the opposing players (ex: Rasheed Wallace’s freaking bald spot). Boston fans, groomed in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, are naturals at assembling ordered and ranked excuses to hate the other team.
But for the first round of the playoffs this year, I didn’t put much time into a hate hierarchy. Not a single analyst I heard predicted the Hawks hanging with the Celtics for more than five games. I thought it would be a clean sweep. Why waste energy hating Atlanta when the Celtics are facing so much more compelling teams in later rounds?
Then the Hawks won two games and I suddenly needed a list. Easy, right? Wrong.
For the first time in recent memory, I could not make myself hate the opponent. In truth, I fell for the Hawks.
This is not to say my love of the Celtics is in jeopardy. To put my feelings in context, it’s as if someone is married to his wife (the Celtics) and loves her very much, but still finds a young, hot actress (the Hawks) attractive. After Game 4, the Hawks were my metaphorical Jessica Alba. Continue reading