I have seen amazing things in this series. Impossible shots falling time and time again. Clutch shot after clutch shot after clutch shot. Except for game 3, it's pretty much been a matter of who gets the ball last, wins.
That won't be the case tonight.
A funny thing happens to young, "no one gave us a chance" teams in game 7's. Suddenly, they have a chance. Suddenly, they're a win a way from knocking out the defending champions. Today, the Chicago Bulls will experience a "holy shit" moment that will make the pre-game butterflies flutter a little harder. They'll run out onto that Garden floor, and the crowd will be INSANE… and their juices will flow stronger than usual.
Early on, the adrenaline they rely on will make them jump a little higher on their jumpers… pushing their shots slightly out of whack. They'll be a little more aggressive on the glass than usual, so I'd expect an over-the-back foul or two… especially in Boston's house.
They'll calm down a little and play pretty well in the middle parts of the game, but by then the Celtics will have a double digit lead, which they'll hold onto until the 4th quarter… when someone on the Bulls (I'm looking at you, Ben Gordon) gets desperate and starts to try playing hero. It could work. He could get hot. But I'm guessing he'll try to force a little too much, and you'll see a teammate or two tell him to calm down. But he's Ben Gordon, and a couple of shots will fall, so he'll keep going.
Free throws will make the difference a little bigger than it was the whole game. The Celtics will probably win by 18, but they'll have a 10 point lead the whole way. It will be a testament to the Bulls, because most teams would get blown out in this situation, but they'll fight and hang on.
You can look at game 3 for a little taste of what's gonna happen tonight. It won't that kind of blowout tonight, but if I had tickets to tonight's game, I'd feel comfortable about making plans to meet someone at The Harp at 11.
Herald: One battle remaining | Celtics backed into a corner | Celtics Math: 3 plus (game) 7 equals won | Globe: Over time, no favorite | Ainge confirms KG won't play | TrueHoop: Top 10 moments of the series