The Celtics will beat the Heat and advance to the NBA finals. Boston is down 2-0 to a team many feel is destined to finally produce the first NBA championship ring for LeBron James.
But to believe this, you have to have faith -- when there’s no reason for it.
I’m with Doc Rivers. There’s no use fighting the NBA, its officials or the networks.
“We not going to blame [the officials],” Rivers said after Wednesday’s 115-111 kick-to-the-groin setback in Game 2. “We have to play better, and we will.”
Why did Rivers say that?
Because he knows his team owned the first half of Game 2, leading by as many as 15 before squandering possession after possession in the third quarter as the Heat actually contained Rajon Rondo with a sagging defense that took away his penetration in the lane.
Rivers knows that well before Pierce fouled out, and before Dwyane Wade kicked Kevin Garnett in the groin on a layup and before Wade face-raked Rondo in overtime, the Celtics had a chance to take the game by the throat and make the officials a non-factor.
Rivers knows that the Celtics starters are tougher down the stretch than the Heat.
I have watched Games 1 and 2 over and over. The film doesn’t lie.
I know LeBron was the clear MVP of the league this season. I also know he pulled up for a 20-foot jumper on an isolation play on the final shot of regulation against Rondo, a player eight inches shorter. He has the reputation of passing up the key shot at the key moment. Before that ill-advised shot at the end of regulation, that’s exactly what he did.
He posted up just once in regulation in Game 2.
Wade? He had two points in the first half and had no idea what to do with the double teams the Celtics were throwing his way.
I know Paul Pierce is hurting and slowing down. I know KG played 43 minutes Wednesday. I know Avery Bradley is out and I know Ray Allen struggled staying in front of Wade.
Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem have made big shots in Games 1 and 2, but they don’t strike real fear into the Celtics. They’re nothing more than role players, and role players aren’t going to beat the Celtics in the Eastern finals.
Ask yourself two questions: What’s more likely -- the Celtics stealing a game in Miami? Or the Heat coming into the frenzy that will be the Garden this weekend and winning?
There’s little doubt in my mind that the Garden will make American Airlines Arena look like the Vegas Summer League in July.
Everyone knows what happened in the second quarter of Game 1 and what happened in the final 17 minutes of Game 2.
The NBA owes the Celtics -- or at least the fans sure feel that way.
My Twitter feed was flooded Wednesday night with complaints about the officials and the league. Everyone complained the NBA is fixed and commissioner David Stern clearly wants LeBron and Wade in another finals.
That may or may not be the case, but the NBA is one thing if nothing else -- the home for makeup calls and games.
That’s what you’re going to see starting with Game 3 in Boston. The abysmal officiating at the end of Game 2 made that much certain.
Which brings me back to another reason why the Celtics will win this series.
If the Celtics sense life, whether trailing in a game or series, it’s in their DNA to finish the comeback. Always has been.
Yes, LeBron and Wade might get the benefit of the doubt in Games 5 and 7 in Miami, but the Celtics have already shown they’re capable of taking the officials out of it by frustrating the Heat for long stretches.
Game 3 will go to the Celtics big. Game 4 will be tight, but the Celtics will find a way to pull it out. Back to Miami for Game 5, where the Heat all of sudden get nervous and fall apart under pressure.
Game 6 will be back in Boston and the Celtics will finish it out there.
So, forget the whining about the bad calls. The Celtics have, and their fans should, too. It’s all about taking matters into your own hands. When you have the most dynamic point guard in the game on your side, to go along with the greatest 3-point shooter who showed he still has it under pressure in Game 2, you’re going to have a chance.
The Celtics have the best coaching staff in the NBA. They will find a way, like they did in the first half against the Heat on Wednesday, to get inside the heads of LeBron and Wade. They will find a way to make the Heat a team of individuals.
Mark it down. The best way to answer bad calls against you is to use it as motivation. The Celtics do that better than any team in the NBA.
Enjoy the weekend as the Celtics engineer the comeback that will make everyone forget how bad Games 1 and 2 felt.
Now to the Trags Bag, to let fans vent about the series so far, which hasn't produced a lot of feel-good emotions among Celtics fans.
@BR_Rollin No way C's survive if the fouls go like that. Not saying it's fixed but NBA refs are the most subjective in sports, right trags?
@maximcan Changed the whole complexion of OT. Hard to look past that.
@bostongirl_a all class “@RedsArmy_John: RT @Trags: "We're not going to blame [referees]. We have to play better, and we will." Doc #Celtics”
@PCrammons absolute joke and the fans will have to read 37 articles, nationally and locally, about how it WASN'T about the refs.
@Sports_fan20 Are NBA officials really this incompetent, or is the fix in? It's one or the other, right ??
@0_LayDX that feeling was close to how i felt after the SB loss. I am actually doubting Celts will even get the home calls.
@macsafety_ttown as a fan of basketball the celtics for over 35 years I can say if/when the celts lose this I won't ever watch again this league =joke