It's always interesting to get an outside perspective on this team. Matt Moore, whom you might recognize from sites like Hardwood Paroxysm, ProBasketballTalk, and almost daily Twitter wars, has a big primer on the big game over at CBSSports.com… including what will fuel tomorrow's tilt.
Losing to the Lakers in the Finals was devastating for the Celtics. Losing a championship series is hard for any player, but these are the Celtics, a group of veterans trying to make good on promises to themselves as well as their fans that they would collect multiple rings once among players of their caliber. Beyond that, though, losing to L.A. creates a sense of failure beyond just disappointment. You've let down the players that came before you, the players who managed to beat the Lakers, who protected that legacy (despite the Lakers having won quite a few of their own throughout the years). It's the darkest of all places, as Garnett told WEEI this fall about his mindset after Game 7:
“Very dark, to be honest, dark. ‘Just leave me alone, let me be my myself. I don’t want to deal with anything right now. Let me just be in a dark place.’ Just the way I replay the game over and over in my mind, trying to get a resolution to some type of place to where you can settle with it. I never found it, but that’s what it is. I say it’s fuel to the fire. [Expletive? (Bleeped completely out] .“
If you missed this week's Two Man Game, we asked Tim Legler what a rivalry game like this means… and he basically said players ultimately know it's just another game. Still, though… I gotta think that some of these guys will get their juices flowing being in that building again… knowing how they felt the last time they left.