Monday, April 20, 2009

Screw the win; The Celtics are in trouble

The series is 1-1, but the Boston Celtics couldn't be in more trouble.

I know, I know; The Celtics did something like this last year, and that was with a healthy Kevin Garnett. They went to seven games with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks, of all teams, right? Why, they might as well have played the Washington Generals. And they still came out of it with a championship.

Thing is, that Hawks team last year is better than this year's Bulls team. I would like to say that it's hard to say that, being a Bulls fan, but the truth is, this is a Bulls team with a rookie point guard, an undersized shooting guard, and no post scoring. These Chicago Bulls should not be in this position. Garnett or no Garnett (Gar-nott? *rimshot*), the Celtics are still the World Champions.

And yet, here we are with a series at 1-1, that could have easily been 2-0, going back to Chicago on Thursday. The Chicago Bulls are playing the Celtics in Boston better than anyone in last year's playoffs did.

Yeah, the Celtics are in trouble.

Even though the Bulls lost tonight, they know they were still capable of winning. And it didn't matter that Ray Allen caught fire or that Bulls couldn't get a rebound if they were practicing their layup drills. Derrick Rose might as well have stayed home tonight. Brad Miller was wasting space. John Salmons still hasn't played a good game. The only people wearing red who were effective after halftime were Ben Gordon and the people working in valet parking.

And yet, the Bulls almost managed to pull it out.

Now, if the Bulls were this much trouble in Boston (the Bulls were 13-28 on the road), how much trouble do you think they'll be in Chicago (28-13 in the United Center)? This is not another Hawks situation, because that Hawks team was terrible on the road and Boston was almost unstoppable at home. No matter how much a lot of us wanted it, Boston was never in serious danger, because the Hawks forgot all about dribbling and offensive execution once they crossed the Georgia state line. They were 13-28 outside of Atlanta last year. That's just as bad as this year's Bulls were supposed to be.

When you're the champs, you're supposed to have two advantages. One: Homecourt advantage in the first round (except the '95 Rockets), and the art of intimidation. The Bulls took homecourt away and I don't think they're intimidated anymore. In fact, the Celtics have way more pressure on them than Chicago does. Chicago was supposed to get swept. Instead, they're going back to Chicago after giving Boston all they could handle at home. And keep in mind, Rondo tweaked his ankle. Even though he finished the game, let's wait and see if it tightens up on him after he gets his sneakers off.

By the way, the one game Boston played in Chicago this season....Chicago won it, 127-121.

Of course, there's the chance that I'm getting ahead of myself. This close call could refocus the Celtics and they could blow out the Bulls in both games in Chicago. After all, they are more balanced, defensively better, and have two big-time closers in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. They took it to the Lakers last year on the biggest stage in the NBA. They should be able to handle a midget and an emotionless rookie.

Then again, that's what was supposed to happen tonight. They were supposed to crush the insolent upstarts; you know, respond like champions.

I'm not saying Chicago's gonna win the series, but if Boston doesn't start playing like Boston, the stars are certainly lining up for an upset. I'm not saying it will happen, but don't say that it can't happen. After all, it wasn't too long ago that a couple of guys from this team (Gordon, Kirk Hinrich) helped sweep the defending champion Miami Heat.

That's all I'm saying.
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