We hear it all the time. 'The playoffs are different.'
And yes, that's true. The playoffs ARE different. The specter 'of lose and go home' rattles the nerves of previously unflappable men. Add to that pressure the fact that you are wearing the uniform of basketball's most storied franchise… which just so happens to be trying to break a 20 year drought and comes into this whole thing so heavily favored, even a trip to the Finals doesn't feel like enough.
How do you deal with all of that?
Just play ball.
All of those circumstances surrounding you might be changing… but the court is still 94 feet long and the rim is still 10 feet high. You guys have just played ball for months now… and it got you 66 wins. Just play ball for the next couple of months… and you'll get 16 more. Anyone who is worried about that message getting to Doc Rivers… I think he already knows it.
“When you have a talented team, you don’t have to match up. You play what you have. When you don’t, then you do have to match up. We’re just going to play our game. That’s because we have the guns to do that. And that’s a nice place to be. I haven’t had that a whole bunch.”
Here are a few images for you as we head into playoff game #1 tonight. First, courtesy of reader Jesse Haley:
And… from our friends at BostonSportz:
And from KG's new Gatorade commericial (which I'm still trying to find the video of online)
Couple of other notes out of day one of the playoffs:
- There the Spurs are… down 3 at home in OT… and TIM DUNCAN hits the game tying 3??? Are you kidding me? Just awesome.
- Chris Paul clearly was not phased by the pressure of his first playoff game. 35 points and 10 dimes. Damn.
- And how's that trash talk going Washington?
Hey… a new ownership has stepped up to keep professional basketball in Seattle. Sorry, Sonics fans. That's almost like getting kicked in the nuts.
Herald: Celts get real, again | 5 keys for the Celtics | Finals pick is nothing odd | Garnett back to work | Globe: Routine excellence is Allen's secret | They were ready from Day 1 | Hawks ready to let loose | Garnett shifts focus from personal life | Hard to match that 80's show | Camerato: Series preview | Megliola: Meaningful games set to begin | T&G: C's heavy favorites | Rondo ready for the challenge | Concord Monitor: Reminders of C's past | Atlanta just doesn't match up | SouthCoastToday: For Celtics, contents hardly under pressure | Doc's doubters a little quieter now | SI: Mannix says C's over Spurs in finals