Celtics are survivors on the strength of their will
Centuries and centuries and centuries after some meteor crashes into us and renders this planet barren or global warming decimates Earth and turns in inhabitable, visitors from another galaxy will arrive to re-establish life here.
They will find dust and dirt and desolation, maybe a cockroach or two.
And the Boston Celtics.
Why wouldn’t you think this group couldn’t survive anything that’s thrown their way and thrive, why they couldn’t just summon some kind of will from somewhere deep in their souls and keep plugging along.
The effort last night wasn’t particularly pretty nor was it overly-athletic, there weren’t many moments that provided jaw-dropping wonder. All it was was thorough and professional and emotional and a team – far more a “team” than the one on the other side of the equation – simply finding a way to get it done. You really don’t have to like the Boston Celtics to appreciate what they’re doing. Sure, Kevin Garnett’s woofing like he does and, yeah, Rajon Rondo can be amazing one minute and have one of the great mind-farts of all time with an over-and-back violation at a crucial moment and Ray Allen is classy but hobbled and you almost feel sorry for him some nights.
But you cannot discount will, and effort, and desire. You have to marvel at Paul Pierce sucking most of the night and hitting perhaps the biggest shot of the season with that dagger of a three. You have to admire Doc Rivers for making all the right moves, taking out Garnett with seven minutes left in a taut game because he needed to buy some time so the team’s emotional leader would be fresh down the stretch.
Now, it would be folly to count out the Heat, or the San Antonio Spurs tonight for that matter.
There is no question Miami has the talent and, perhaps, Erik Spoelstra will remember down the stretch of Game 6 that Chris Bosh is available and even if he isn’t 100 per cent, he represents a threat and at least occupies the mind and body of Garnett a little bit.
But in the East, at least, talent is basically second to will.
You could make the case very strongly that the conference final should be over and that we should be making reservations for a June week in Boston (yeah, that’s not going to suck at all) because the Celtics have been the better team more nights.
It hasn’t been as electrifying as Thunder-Spurs, that’s for sure; but it’s been amazing in its own way.
I want this kid cheering me on every time I fail.
How cool is that?
I was howling on the couch at the end of the game, wondering (a) which Heat player might charge into the stands or (b) how one person can be so positive.
Did you know that they make ice cream sandwiches where it’s a nice thick slab of vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies?
How come it took this long for me to find out?
That may be the best snack invention since, well, since I don’t know when.
Mail? Let’s start. Need to hear from some of you that I haven’t heard from in a while.
Raptors news! Raptors news! Raptors news!
Well, not really but at least a HOTH story here, as I’m sure you’ve seen.
Two things pop out:
They think they might bring in up to 25 guys for workouts – they’ll probably start next week and, no, there are no firm details – and that’s an awful lot of “I just want to come in and play defence and do what the coaches want; I think I’d be a good fit here, I work hard and will do what the coaches want” clichés from teens.
And while it’s not new by any stretch of the imagination, the importance they’re putting on the interviews in Chicago and here and the role a psychologist will play is kind of interesting.
Now, I know you don’t want knuckleheads to dominate your roster, that’s a headache no coach or organization needs, I think we can safely say one or two guys with an “edge” to them don’t hurt.
You can’t have all choirboys and you can’t have all thugs and idiots but striking that balance is difficult. Important, but difficult.
Okay, I know you’re not supposed to cheer in this gig – except for your story – but here’s a confession:
I want the women’s basketball team to qualify for London.
I like the women, I like the coach, I’ve written about a lot of this group for a very long time it seems and it’d be a perfect bookend for a couple of careers.
They are a fine group of women who represent the country with distinction and while they don’t get nearly the support nor attention they deserve, an appearance in London will unquestionably open some eyes and give girls across the country another group of role models and I would surmise they are badly needed.
I wrote about the women the other day, too (it’s here for those who missed it) before they headed off to Europe and a handful of exhibition games leading into the final qualification tournament in Turkey later this month.
One of the more interesting aspects of what they’ve gone through is that they’ve had to wait almost 10 months for this shot; they earned the berth at the Turkey tournament last summer and have a very, very long time to think about it.
And how’d they handle it?
Sports psychology, in part. Their big mantra this year is “win the day” because it’d been almost too hard to think about the end prize when the process took so long to unfold. And hearing it from an “outsider” made sense, coach Allison McNeill told us:
“Seriously, that did help just because there’s someone else there that’s saying the same message that the coaches are saying. And some of the older players have figured it out, how to stay in that moment.
"We’ve talked a lot about execution; if you’re executing, you’re not thinking about anything else down the line, you’re just thinking about today.
“We had a theme this year about “win the day” and it’s that we have to focus on that day, that game, that execution. We’ve just been practicing for that. It takes a lot of practice to stay in the moment and they’ve got some triggers and things they are working on if they feel themselves coming out of that.”
Mighty Red Tigers tonight under the lights, think good thoughts and keep me up to date on Spurs-Thunder if you get the chance.