BOSTON (CBS)- I’d love to sit here and predict what the Celtics are going to do against the Knicks in Game 6.
But why bother? This series has been “bizzaro world” when it comes to the Boston basketball team.
We could say they need to get off to a hot start, but that hasn’t really meant anything this series. The Celtics had leads in Games 1, 2 and 4 before ultimately letting them slip away (the only difference is in Game 4, they caught fire in the final minutes and in overtime). We could say letting the Knicks get an early lead would be a recipe for disaster, but the 11-0 advantage they jumped out to in Game 5 meant little when the final buzzer went off.
I’ll go ahead and say this; whoever has more points at the end of the game will win. It’s pretty much the only certainty in the game, unless of course David Stern changes the rules at halftime – which is entirely possible.
There’s more clichés and obvious statements to be thrown out there. The Knicks are the better team, but the Celtics are the better “team.” Boston will use their “grit and balls” to give it everything they have, leaving it all out on the floor like it’s a Game 7. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will have to lead the way, and Jason Terry and Jeff Green will need to give them plenty of support while Brandon Bass needs to continue his strong defense on Carmelo Anthony. And for good measure, let’s add that Jordan Crawford needs to keep quiet on the bench — where he will (or at least should) remain for another 48 minutes on Friday.
The Celtics are their best when everyone touches the ball and when everyone gets involved in the offense. They’ve said it ad nauseam since Game 1, and finally showed it with the balanced box score from Wednesday night in New York. More of the same should lead to a victory and a winner-takes-all Game 7 on Sunday, but just as easily could lead to more the C’s making more of those unnecessary extra passes that either sail into the stands or right into the hands of a New York defender.
The Celtics are the team with the momentum, but they also threw all they had on Wednesday with Pierce, Bass and Green each playing over 40 minutes, KG logging 39 minuets, and Terry hitting the 35 minute mark off the bench. Hopefully the team had a good hyperbolic chamber session when they returned to Boston on Thursday, otherwise we could see an exhausted bunch on Friday night.
Do you have a popsicle headache yet?
Here is what we know for sure about Game 6: with a win, the Celtics would become just the fourth team to ever force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0. It’s one of the stats that has been ingrained in our minds since the C’s fell into that supposedly insurmountable hole, as is the fact no team has ever actually completed the amazing 3-0 comeback.
The Celtics defined the phrase “flipping the switch” last year, and maybe it just took the team a little longer this time around. Or maybe, while the Knicks are a talented bunch, they just aren’t ready to win the franchise’s first playoff series in over a decade. While it’s hard to call the Celtics a classy bunch, the Knicks haven’t exactly been an example of model citizenship. They approached Game 5 like it was the Celtics’ funeral, have swung some elbows towards Terry’s cranium, and keep running their mouth despite the series inching closer and closer to a historic collapse.
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But will they use the potential embarrassment as fuel tonight, or will they use it as a reason to keep folding? Again, we don’t know these answers, and to begin to speculate would have about as much purpose as trying to figure out the meaning behind all of Kenyon Martin’s tattoos.
We could be watching history in the making Friday night, but it could just as easily be the end of an era in Boston. No one knows for sure, and we won’t have that answer until roughly 9:45 Friday night.
But it’s been a heck of a ride the last two weeks, one that will hopefully continue into Sunday – and beyond – for the Boston Celtics.