The Celtics-Cavaliers meeting was just a regular-season game. A big one, to be sure, especially for the Celtics. But it was nothing more than a normal game on Easter Sunday between two good teams.
Uhh, yeah, and Megan Fox is nothing more than a normal chick.
Just look at the incredible supernova of emotion. As excellent as the Cavs have looked this season, especially compared to the mediocre Celtics, they still envy Boston’s ring. You could see it in Mike Brown’s intense tirade, in a fierce comeback led by extreme desire, and in every snarl on Lebron James’ face. As Lebron jawed with every Celtic in sight, once even going into the Celtics’ huddle to continue his line of trash talk, you could see it clearly: Lebron wants what the Celtics once earned. And he wants it badly.
It’s why the 22-point lead wasn’t safe. It’s why Lebron demanded the ball and forced his way to the hoop. It’s why he — and not anybody else — was going to decide the game with a three in the final seconds. It’s why he got into it with Tony Allen, and why he edgily chest-bumped Pierce when defending him. It’s why — even after the loss — Lebron didn’t stop flapping his lips in Boston’s direction. Lebron and the Cavs didn’t win the game, but their emphatic comeback nonetheless hammered home their point: We want to win a championship, desperately, and we’re willing to claw, scrap and bully our way to it.
Their run fell short, but it wasn’t for naught. “What we did [Sunday] is good for our team,” James said yesterday, following the game. “I don’t know what they are thinking in their locker room. For us, we’re not hanging our heads about this loss.”
I don’t know what they are thinking in their locker room. After a big win the Celtics needed like oxygen, it should have been clear that they’d be ecstatic. But Cleveland’s late run, and Lebron’s utter dominance, cast a troublesome shadow of doubt even in victory. A game on the verge of being a blowout became a barn-burner, and a confidence-booster became a dose of the staggering reality that Cleveland, when at its best, reaches a level the Celtics can’t quite obtain.
But the Celtics clutched onto the victory and refused to let it elude their grasps. After late losses to Oklahoma City and Houston, Boston’s veteran mettle was being questioned. Could they win close games? Could they hit big shots? Could they get big stops?
After the C’s went ahead by 22 points in the third quarter, those questions probably shouldn’t have been answered yesterday. But the Cavs came back, seizing the lead from Boston, and garbage time quickly morphed into crunch-time. A lesser team, one without big-game experience, might have crumbled. Lebron had the superstar look in his eyes, the one that said he wasn’t going to be denied. No way, no how. Still, the Celtics met him with enough big plays down the stretch to turn King James away, even at his most glorious. Their cool resolve in the face of a fiery comeback was nothing short of remarkable, even in the embers of a burned-down 22-point lead.
And so the Celtics move on, one game closer to the playoffs, one game closer to a postseason that — still — could result in anything from a first-round exit to a championship banner. Yesterday’s game was just one game, but it felt like more. There was great play, and a huge lead. Then, a quick and furious fall. Finally, a courageous win. Just one game, but three different chapters.
One game, three chapters, and all will be remembered. The lessons learned by Cleveland and Boston will be carried with them into the postseason, and the emotion of the hard-fought battle won’t be dismissed anytime soon, either. King James and his Merry Men made it known that they are willing to do everything it takes to win a title, but the Celtics aren’t going to go down quietly. And not without a fight.
Doc Rivers said before yesterday’s game, “It’d be great to win a game, and great to beat Cleveland. But after the game, it goes back to being just another game.”
After seeing the chippy, uncontrolled passion in every step of yesterday’s game, I don’t see how anyone could think that Doc was right.