It's entirely possible the Celtics weren't going to win this anyway…
It's entirely possible the Magic, who came out strong, drained a lot of big 3's, and suddenly looked a lot more like the Magic team that stomped through the first 2 rounds, would have held on no matter what.
But this is one of the games where you CAN look at the referees as making a huge difference in the game.
Kendrick Perkins was helping Paul Pierce up off the floor when his hand slipped and went into Marcin Gortat… who just happened to be behind him. Gortat slapped the ball away and the refs called a double tech.
Then, minutes later, Perk had an emotional reaction to a bad foul call (which every guy on the broadcast said was a bad call) and Eddie F. Rush (whoa… has anyone checked on Tommy Heinsohn?) T'd him up, which led to the ejection.
That changed the complexion of this game.
Of course we'll never know how the game would have gone if Perkins wasn't tossed. We don't know if he would have fouled out.. or if he would have played great defense.
I do know this: Glen Davis wouldn't have taken a Dwight Howard elbow to the face (inadvertent) and left the game with a concussion. Marquis Daniels wouldn't have slammed into Marcin Gortat and left with a concussion.
The NBA SHOULD rescind at least one of Perk's techs. I think they should take both away (as do Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy). Yet the possibility exists that the league will let both stand, which would be his 7th tech of the playoffs, and a 1 game suspension. And if that happens, the C's may have to go without Perk… or Glen Davis… or even Rasheed Wallace who limped off the floor at the end.
Hey, you know what? Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett shot a combined 11 of 33 for the game. The Celtics, until the last 5 minutes of the game, were hanging around. If those guys had played well, we might have been talking about how the Celtics actually could have overcome this. They did have a chance to win this game.
But instead, this is a worst-case scenario for the NBA.
Their referees are now the center of a high-profile discussion for their poor performance. A pair of terrible technical fouls led to a chain reaction where the Celtics roster might have suffered at least one, and maybe more crippling injuries.
The league now has to either come out and rescind one or two techs that would have allowed a crucial player to remain in the game rather than be ejected… or allow them to stand, and let the topic of discussion for the entire Game 6 be how the league let questionable techs stand, leading to a suspension, and the loss of key Celtics reserves. It's a no-win situation.
David Stern has to pop that shit-eating grin on his face, sit there tomorrow, and once again proclaim that his referees are great… that nothing is wrong… and that they're not spotlight-hogging dicks who will step outside the bounds of their job descriptions, which is simply to make sure the rules of the game are followed.
We haven't even discussed Joey Crawford's demeanor on the Rajon Rondo technical foul. We'll save that for tomorrow.
The basketball played during the 113-92 Magic win will not be the main focus when you wake up tomorrow, pour your coffee, and flip on sports talk radio. All you'll hear about is technical fouls, and the names Joey Crawford and Eddie F. Rush.
For Orlando fans, that's a shame… for Celtics fans, that's a gas truck overturning onto open flames. For David Stern, it should make for a run to the medicine cabinet for some Pepto.
I'll end by trying to nip a couple of misconceptions in the bud.
- the Final score was huge, but the Celtics were always within striking distance. Don't let people tell you this was a blowout from jump. The C's had chances.
- This isn't the Bruins. Yes, the B's lost in OT in game 4 and they lost big in Game 5. Coincidences, yes… but it means nothing at all.
It's your turn. Tee off.