I watch a lot of basketball. I’ve watched so much of the Celtics that I could black out like Will Ferrell did in Old School and spew a steady stream of information that I’d never remember knowing. As much as I like to goof around and keep the tone of things light, I’ve worked hard to get to a point where I can give you, our dear reader, a solid perspective on the team that is backed by a good knowledge base.
And not a damn bit of it means anything anymore.
Everything I’ve learned. Every gut instinct I’ve developed. It’s all shit.
And the thing is, I think I love it that way.
As I type these words, The Celtics are in various states of their pre-game preparation in Philadelphia. They are mentally preparing themselves to close the Sixers out and wait for the Heat and Pacers to settle their differences. Just past 8pm, a referee will toss the ball skyward…
I’d love to tell you Rajon Rondo, whom Doc Rivers lauded for his leadership after Game 6, will carry that over into this, a critical deciding game that could re-shape the entire post-season. But I don’t know that he will. Are we getting the aggressive “Swag” that decimates defenses by living in the paint and hitting layups and floaters at impossible angles. Or are we getting “dribble the ball for 20 seconds while desperately directing traffic” Rondo? I dunno.
I’d love to tell you that Pierce’s knee will feel better, and he’ll come out as “The Truth”… flexin’ that old man strength that reminds you that, no matter what, you NEVER fight your father. But I don’t know that it will. For all I know he got out of bed this morning begging the good Lord above for the strength to get through another day.
I’d love to tell you the same about Ray Allen… that the little grains of bone fragment have settled into a spot that make the pain tolerable enough to get that perfect amount of lift after he peels around the pick. Or that Kevin Garnett is so pissed off at someone who may or may not have actually called him old that we’re getting 25 and 15 out of him. Or that Brandon Bass will carry over his momentum and start swapping nylon with that herky-jerky stroke of his from 18 feet. Or that Greg Stiemsma’s foot feels well enough for him to block 5 shots. Or that Ryan Hollins can play 15 minutes without falling down. Or that Mickael Pietrus will blend a nice mix of 3’s with drives, forgetting that horrible thing that scared him shitless and will still haunt him for months, if not years.
I’d love to tell you all those things. Or any of those things. But every single one of those things is an absolutely unpredictable variable. It’s gotten to a point where the only guarantee in these games is that, at some point, if he plays, Avery Bradley’s shoulder WILL pop out of its socket.
And you can call that infuriating if you want. But I love it all. Because sometimes the worst thing that you can have going into some of these games is the guarantee of a certain outcome. For once, as the final sands drip through the hourglass that is the “Big 3” era, we can all sit together, even those of us who fancy ourselves as some level of expert, and just go along for the ride.
I will be happy if the Celtics win. I will be upset if they lose (especially if they blow another lead). But I watch this game without any pre-conceived notions anymore because such things are impossible to conceive anymore.
Celtics play-by-play legend Mike Gorman went on the radio yesterday and said this team could go out tonight and blow out the Sixers, or get blown out by the Sixers, and neither would shock him. We can dust off the cliche phrases like “expect the unexpected” if we’d like. However you want to describe it is up to you.
All I know is, this ride is about to end. The absolute inability to look into this team’s future means we have to be fully invested in the present. And that’s probably how it should always be.