Thank GOD that's over.
I'm thrilled that the bandwagon fans of Atlanta, who waited until hours before game 3 to get excited and sell out their building, have a good team to look forward to next year. They lost (and won) because of their youth and inexperience. But their athleticism and experience gained in this series is enough to make me think they'll be a contender next year.
Now its Cleveland's turn… and the Celtics are about to see the complete opposite of what they've been battling with these past two months (at least… that's what the Hawks series felt like). The Hawks ran and attacked the hoop… the Cavs are slow and will happily launch threes. The Hawks relied on a balanced attack… the Cavs rely on LeBron. And probably most importantly… the Cavs are the defending conference champs… and the Hawks had the worst record in the playoffs.
What does that mean for our Celtics? First… it means we're not walking into this series underestimating anyone. The Celtics are even spinning it to say we're the underdogs
"They were in the Finals last year," said Doc Rivers. "One of the things I told our team all year that every time we played them and already tonight, that we’re trying to catch them, not them trying to catch us. The record means nothing. That team went to the Finals last year, so in our mind we’re trying to catch them."
I'll repeat here what I've said in the comments: The 7 game series might actually be good for the C's. They dealt with adversity and came out in a deciding game with their best effort of the series. They were stung by a lesser team and had their egos checked. And they've been playing games every 2 or 3 days… rather than practicing. If they had swept… they'd have had a ton of time off. Maybe now they've learned a little something. Instead of this 7 game series being the worst thing that could have happened to the C's (as the national media would suggest)… maybe its the best thing… to get our minds right for the rest of road ahead.
Herald: Celts will test Cavs | Celts crush Hawks to advance | Rondo foul an explosive situation | Silent Paul deadly to Hawks | Watch out big brother, younger Eastern teams growing up | Doc finally passes exam | Lebron, mates, show respect | 1st quarter Perks up mates | Hawks get their due | Globe: Bad thoughts choked off by Pierce | Playoff plans still a go | Rondo lands hard | Celtics obey stop signs | Hawks come up empty | James still leading the way | Souza: Post deadline Game 7 thoughts | Clincher a cinch | Meglioa: Celtics bring intensity | T&G: Perk wakes up | Camerato: stars of the game | SI: C's played like they have something to prove |