May 29, 2023

Celtics One Win from Making NBA Playoff History: No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game playoff series. The Boston Celtics would complete the feat with a win at home tonight against the Miami Heat, joining in that achievement baseball's 2004 Boston Red Sox and hockey's 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings.

posted by rcade to basketball at 01:14 PM - 6 comments

I don't know what to expect tonight. I'm not convinced of the inevitability of the Celtics' momentum. I can see either team winning it.

Looking at it from the Heat perspective, yesterday reminded me of the feeling I had in between Game 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series. The Heat thinking as the Red Sox must have back then: how did we let things get to this point?

Tonight will be historic regardless. Either the Celtics become the first team to win a series after going down 0-3, or they become the first team to force a Game 7 and lose it at home rather than on the road.

When you look at the Celtics' remarkable turnaround, there's something that no one is talking about. In my mind, the Boston team that lost Game 3 with everyone wanting to run the young coach out of town doesn't get transformed on the fly without a hidden presence behind the green curtain: the unseen hand of Brad Stevens. I want to hear what role he's had in all this after the series is over. Whether he's been a puppetmaster of sorts or hung back and let Mazzulla and the players figure things out on their own.

posted by beaverboard at 02:56 PM on May 29, 2023

From what I have seen of Brad Stevens since he replaced Danny Ainge as GM, he has pretty much let the coach do the coaching. Don't forget that Stevens learned at the feet of Ainge, who in turn learned at the feet of Auerbach. That he learned well is evident in the trades he has made to build out from the core players. I believe that Mazzula has been able to self-correct with some valuable input from his assistant coaches. One other voice from behind the curtain is that of Mike Zarren, VP of Basketball Operations and Team Councel. It is a quiet voice, but it might be the most important and most heeded of all.

My wife and I will be occupying our usual seats in Section 316, Row 5, seat 9 and 10 tonight. I will let you know tomorrow if we are still alive.

...and here's the reason Derek White is our hero.

posted by Howard_T at 04:58 PM on May 29, 2023

The Heat can still win but I don't think it's likely because the game's in Boston. That place is going to be crazy tonight.

posted by rcade at 05:20 PM on May 29, 2023

Thank you for representing, Howard.

Are you going to carry emergency locator transmitters so rescue personnel can locate and evacuate you in the event of bedlam?

Lord if Johnny Most was alive to call this game. There'd have to be an oxygen tank high above courtside. I can still hear him almost reaching his laryngeal threshold when Ralph Sampson slugged Jerry Sichting in 1986. And that was just a warmup for the Pistons series in 87.

posted by beaverboard at 08:04 PM on May 29, 2023

The link framed last night's game as an impending historic triumph for another Boston franchise and Miami said nah, we like the 8-seed-to-the-Finals story better.

posted by rcade at 09:24 AM on May 30, 2023

Joe Mazzulla is fortunate. In his first season as a head coach, he's been administered the career changing pain that Erik Spoelstra endured in the 2011 Finals.

But it doesn't matter because if Brad Stevens has any backbone, Mazzulla won't have the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.

posted by beaverboard at 09:57 AM on May 30, 2023

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