Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Boston Celtics survived with a 97-90 game 4 win on Sunday to force a game 5 tomorrow in NYC. But how will the C’s make it to a game 6 on Friday? They’ve struggled on the road all year and will have to find a way to win away from home, obviously. And taking care of the ball will also be of the utmost importance. Celtics fans have pulled their hair out of their heads watching the C’s turn the ball over this season. Steve Bulpett writes:
The Celtics have made a lot of bad decisions on the floor through the first four games of their series with the Knicks. They have thrown the ball to people wearing uniforms of a different color and they have thrown the ball to paying customers — who were, to be fair, open.
Before they take the court in New York tomorrow night, the Celts must make another decision. Do they want to make their own plans for Friday night, or would they rather the NBA tell them where to go?
The crew at TD Garden is holding the date open for them, and the Celtics’ first step toward filling it with a Game 6 is to come to the conclusion that they badly want their season to continue.
The C’s must have a never say die attitude. They simply must want to continue playing. I attended Friday night’s game 3 debacle, and the Knicks were the team with all the fire and energy that night. They looked like a team that wanted to keep playing. The Celtics on the other hand looked like a team that was going through the motions. So can Boston ride Sunday’s wave and grab a game 5 win? Do they have any fight left in them?
This is about keeping the court. If the Celts win, they get to stay — albeit with a move back to their parquet park. If the Celts lose, they have to wait until next season to run it back.
“We’re never going to give up,” Avery Bradley said after Sunday’s overtime win. “We still feel like we have a chance to win this series.”
It can be accepted as an article of faith that the Knicks will come out aggressively and with confidence. Carmelo Anthony will fire away from the opening tip. The elbows that J.R. Smith throws at the Celtics’ chin will come in the form of long jump shots.
If they land, it will be interesting to see how the Bostonians react. If the Knicks take the early lead, it will test the Celtics’ will and desire.
We will know then if this is in them.
“Now we have to go into a hostile environment, and they’re going to be trying to get it over with,” Jason Terry said. “They don’t want to come back here, but we do.”
A hostile enviornment indeed. Paul Pierce and company have been a thorn in Knicks’ fans sides forever it seems. The MSG crowd will be raucous come tomorrow night, and I feel confident that KG, Truth and the gang will thrive off of that. Garnett has said that he loves playing the villain. Don’t be surprised if either he or Paul come out with one of their best games of the year. If so, Boston can move one step closer to doing the impossible. But more importantly, they will live to play another day.
The Celtics don’t have to win three more games; they have to win tomorrow night. If they defy conventional expectation and do so, this will be a good Friday for more than just those of the Eastern Orthodox faiths.
If the Celts can pull a Dave Roberts with Game 5, then the 2004 Red Sox-Yankees references will get a serious workout. Curt Schilling could read the national anthem Friday. The Celtics could pass out bloody socks to the fans.
The C’s came into this series hoping to put the kind of defensive pressure on the Knicks that would hurry their shots. They had planned to give pause to the free and easy gunners. Instead, it was New York that got into the leprechaun’s head and forced the aforementioned unconscionable mistakes.
But a win tomorrow by any means would create the pressure that all the Celtics schemes could not. The Knicks could be one of those higher NCAA seeds playing not to lose and thus contributing to their own demise.
Is any of this scenario likely? Hardly. But these days the Celtics have to get comfortable with grasping at slim straws.
So what do you think? Do the Celtics have a chance tomorrow? Will their road woes end? If so, who or what will be the key? We’ll all be watching…
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