71 games down, 11 to go. At this point, we know what happens in just about every game, “Celtics lose hard-fought battle in final minutes”. The amount of times I’ve started an article with “Well that was tough to watch” is downright pathetic, so let’s just cut to the juicy stuff, sound good?
The middle two periods, particularly the third, were a sucky snoozefest. The end.
But the first and last periods? That’s why I watch Celtics basketball. Facing a division rival and playoff-bound Raptors, the Celtics came out firing. And by Celtics I mean Rajon Rondo. And by firing I mean he had ten assists in the first twelve minutes of the game. That’s crazy!! Watching Rondo move around fearlessly and distribute magically was one of the most heart-warming sights we’ll see this season. It was also very encouraging to see him return in the fourth quarter, stitched up and itching to play after getting cut on the forehead in the third. Actions like those are the kind Celtics fans have been looking for from the (temperamentally, athletically-overgifted, genius, childish) Captain.
The fourth quarter was also a pleasure to watch as Brad Stevens and the Celtics employed their tried-and-true “lets show up again in the fourth quarter and make this one interesting so it isn’t blatantly obvious that we’re losing games on purpose” strategy. And boy oh boy did it work! Just as I was about to shut the game off out of disgust, Jared Sullinger decided to make this one interesting. One of my favorite players from the first two months of the season, Sullinger has had a shakily inconsistent season, to say the least. But tonight, he looked like the player I tabbed as team MVP in December. His 19 fourth quarter points nearly sparked a Celtics comeback and pleasantly reminded us how great of a player he can be. The fourth quarter was also a microcosm of how much he has grown as a player, highlighted by his three treys. The last eleven games will be huge for players like Sully to end their seasons on a strong note.
There, I did it! A cheerful post-game recap over a loss. Either this season has absolutely ruined my inner-basketball fan or I’m maturing as a journalist; here’s to hoping it’s the latter. Enjoy these last eleven games, Celtics fans, and be sure to look out for any players making a big rush or showing a huge uptick in their efforts to impress management for next year’s squad. Thanks for the read and keep bleeding Green.