The following is a Boston Celtics fan’s reaction to the first two games of the NBA Finals, as he looks to answer the question that no one asked: “How does a Celtics fan—whose team is not in any way, shape, or form participating in the NBA Finals— feel about what has thus far transpired?” I hope you enjoy.
The Heat have tied the NBA Finals after doing…whatever it is they do, and I — the resident Boston Celtics fan, who just witnessed this chicanery eliminate my team just one week ago — am here to provide insight.
Since the C’s elimination, I’ve been spending every waking hour studying M.H.I.S.S (Miami Heat Induced Shell Shock). Developments in treatment are slow, and we may be years away from a cure. A similar disease, known as J.T.A.I.I.S.S (Jayson Tatum Ankle Injury Induced Shell Shock), appeared briefly in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but epidemiologists have determined the loss was not M.H.I.S.S caused.
All this has led to a troubling conclusion: the 2023 strain of M.H.I.S.S went dormant for eighteen straight quarters — or since the end of Game 3 of the ECF — before suddenly flaring up in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
And man, did Denver feel it. The Heat just stole a game in Denver despite staring down a mountain of impossibility, breathing about as much oxygen as if they were standing on top of it. The laundry list of things they had to overcome to snag home court advantage is inconceivable, but color me in-conceived.
What the Heat had to deal with:
– One of the best offenses in NBA history
– An 8-point deficit heading into the 4th Quarter
– Michael Jord…I mean Caleb Martin was basically unplayable
– 41 points from Nikola Jokić
– Christian Braun stealing inbounds passes
How they dealt with it:
– Made said offense look like an AAU team
– Shot almost 70 percent in the 4th Quarter to go up by as much as 11 points
– Despite not playing for most of the game, Martin strapped a corner three in gotta-have-it time…because why not
– Forced the rest of the Nuggets’ roster to disappear
– Stopped passing the ball to Christian Braun on inbounds plays
That might be the most emotionally conflicting basketball game I have ever watched. My resentment for the Heat forced me to root for the Nuggets…initially. But then I realized that the NBA season — something I love — would be over if the Nuggets just swept the Heat.
So now I’m rooting for the Heat to come back, because who says no to free basketball? But then I saw Denver flailing around like a bunch of beached salmon and immediately experienced Post-Miami Heat Stress Disorder.
What followed was a full astral projection of my corporeal form, allowing me to predict the future and see exactly how each possession would go. I then began screaming at the Nuggets players, but I don’t think they could hear me.
*Christian Braun helps off of the slipping Gabe Vincent* “Oh, well Gabe Vincent is about to hit a three…YEP. What are we doing Christian… WHAT ARE WE DOING CHRISTIAN!!”
*A Duncan Robinson head fake sends Jamaal Murray flying (while Michael Malone says we can’t give up open threes in the cutaway interview)* “Oh look, an open three… (Mike Breen impression while rolling my eyes) BANG. You’ve gotta be kidding me Jamal. Did you even watch the Celtics series? DID YOU JAMAL”
Miami continues to use unfathomable tacts used against the Boston Celtics
I really shouldn’t be, but I am still totally confounded every time the Heat pull this off. We’ve now seen three rounds of this buffoonery, yet somehow it blindsides me every time. I’ve spent more words than should be legal outlining the formula of a Miami Masterclass, but I’ll summarize quickly:
Lurk for the entire game, activate goblin mode at the very end, stun everyone, and walk off the court like nothing happened.
That last part speaks to something I never noticed during the ECF, probably because I was emotionally compromised: this Heat team has certainty.
“Certainty” in sports is a concept I am determined to push into the mainstream because it is the hidden quality of greatness that no one ever talks about. Arrogance is a non-starter (just ask the Memphis Grizzlies), and while confidence alone is good, it can also be broken, something the Celtics tend to find out at exactly the wrong moments.
But certainty is the space between arrogance and confidence. It’s when a team — or a player in individual sports — knows exactly who they are, and so momentum and wild swings in the emotion of a series or game have no effect on them.
The Heat are certain that they can punch any distance above their level, so losing the first seven quarters of the series didn’t matter. They knew what they were capable of, and however insane it may seem to an outside observer, they played their game: lurk, go nuts, win, and walk it off.
Part of me hoped that this series would be such a party for the Nuggets that the whole world would retroactively wish that the Boston Celtics had made it to the NBA Finals in the Heat’s place. But the other part of me hoped that both teams would show their certainty, and that’s happened.
But I do demand that Caleb Martin start hitting shots. Because I swear, if he used every shred of greatness he had in his bag to sink the Boston Celtics like Jaws sank Brody’s boat…