The Celtics have put themselves in a situation that teams never want to see themselves in: down 3-1 in a playoff series. The series deficit pretty much sums up the regular season for Boston. All year long it felt like they were playing from behind, whether it was them being down in a game or catching up with the rest of the league record-wise.
All season long, fans, including myself, stood by this team and supported them through all the ups and downs. I would say just to wait for the playoffs and this team will start to get going. The team looked great in the first round, but have looked like a YMCA pickup basketball team that got put together last week the past three games.
All year long it was about “waiting.” “Wait for the playoffs!” “Wait until we get to see Kyrie in the playoffs!” These were all things that I’ve said during the season, and here’s what I have to say now:
This series is NOT over. The Celtics are down 3-1 to the 60-win Milwaukee Bucks. This is a situation where teams may feel the need to give up and believe that the series is already over. That is not what I expect to see from the Celtics tonight. What do the Celtics have to lose? Absolutely nothing. The Celtics are going to have to play the best basketball they’ve played all year for three straight games. Improbable? Yes, but not impossible. Like I said in my previous article, the last team to come back from a 3-1 deficit had Kyrie Irving on their side.
Speaking of Kyrie: I’m going to dedicate the rest of this article to him.
When the Celtics first traded for you, I was upset. I was shocked we got rid of Isaiah Thomas, who was the heart of Boston. Soon I realized just how special of a player you were, and how incredibly lucky the Celtics were to have you (especially considering how lopsided the trade was). Soon I realized just what you brought to the table, and how important you’d be to our future success.
Unfortunately, you and Gordon missed the playoffs last season, causing our young guys to take over in your absence. This season seemed like it was going to be special. Everybody was finally back and healthy, the bench got a fantastic experience in the playoffs, and the kids were growing up. Every member of the team was ultra-confident going into the season, but that was a mistake.
Fast forward to now, the Celtics couldn’t find their way until towards the end of the season. We (Celtics fans) were confident going into the playoffs because of one man: you. The Celtics made it to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals without you or Hayward last year. We felt it was your responsibility to lead your team in the playoffs. Right now it’s not looking like that.
The Celtics can’t win a playoff series where you’re only averaging 22 points with 36/24% splits. No matter how much the other guys step up, it’d be nearly impossible to win a series when your star player is posting those numbers. Game 5 is yours. You wanted your own team? You wanted the responsibility and pressure of leading a championship team? Well, the ball is in your court and the clock’s ticking.
Tonight could be your last chance to prove yourself as a true leader. If you don’t step it up and do what Kyrie Irving is most known for, the Celtics are going home, and it worries me that you won’t be back in Celtics’ green next year. I have the utmost confidence in you and what you do for this team, but I need to see it tonight.
Dante, a fan who hasn’t lost faith in you
One game at a time boys! The Celtics may have put themselves in this hole, but nobody said it would be easy. Let’s shock the world and prove everybody wrong.
Photo: The Athletic