Game 4 goes into Celts not so great eight
Let’s take a brief break from the game of baseball, and the Red Sox.
As most of my long-time readers know, following the Boston Celtics — a team I don’t cover and therefore can be a fan of — is one of my biggest hobbies.
So yes, last night’s loss in Game 4 of the Eastern Semis was a crusher in every sense of the word. I started watching the Celtics in 1983-84, at the height of the Bird era. Last night’s game ranks as one of the eight worst Celtics losses I’ve ever endured.
Here is the complete list:
Game 4 of the ’87 Finals. The heroic and wounded Celtics are about to tie the Lakers 2-2 in the Finals, but they blow a 13 point lead in the last four minutes. Larry Bird hits a 3 with 16 seconds left to put them up by 2. They foul Kareem, who misses the second free throw but the rebound goes off McHale’s hand and goes out of bounds. Magic hits the hook shot. Bird somehow breaks free and gets a clean look (albeit falling off the court) at the buzzer and the ball goes in and out. Down 3-1, that series was over just like this one.
Game 6 of the ’85 Finals. Even down 3-2 in the Finals, Celts were in decent shape because they had both Games 6 and 7 at home, and at that point in the rivalry, the Lakers had still never beaten them in the Finals. But aside from McHale, nobody shows up. Lakers win the title on the parquet. Still makes me want to puke just thinking about it.
Game 5 of the ’88 Conference Finals against the Pistons: Very similar to last night. An aging team near the end of its run. Celts are leading comfortably most of the night but run out of gas. They get a shot at the buzzer to win it in regulation but Bird misses it. Then they get smoked in OT (sound familiar)? The inevitable happens in Game 6. Pistons move on to the Finals. For all practical purposes, the original Big 3 era is over.
Game 5 of the ’90 First Round against the Knicks. They blow a 2-0 series lead and Ewing helps Knicks win Game 5 by banking in a 3. are you kidding me? Sadly, this was the last game of Dennis Johnson’s career, but he had a great game.
Game 4 of the ’92 Conference Semis against Cleveland. People forget that the Celtics were on a mega roll late in that season, led by a recharged Mchale, an ageless Parish, a blossoming Reggie Lewis and an inspired Ed Pinckney and an overachieving John Bagley. Bird is out for most of their late-season run, when they win something like 16 out of 17 and sweep the Pacers in the first round. Bird actually comes back for Game 4, the game i’m talking about, and a win would have put them up 3-1 in the series and set them up for a conference finals match with Jordan and the Bulls. Reggie gets fouled at the end of regulation. They don’t call it. in Overtime, Bird and Reggie run a give and go, and Bird somehow misses the layup!!! kind of like Rondo last night. Bad bad loss. Cavs end up winning the series in seven. Bird’s career ends after this series.
Game 4 of the ’02 Conference Finals against the Nets. The Celts make the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history to win Game 3. We all remember it. They are up 2-1 in the series. They have game 4 within their grasp but can’t seal the deal. Pierce misses a crucial free throw. Nets tie the series and win the series in six. So much for the honor of getting swept by the Lakers in the Finals.
Game 7 of last year’s Finals. I still can’t speak about it.
And last night.
We can take last night’s game off the list if they somehow come back to win this series, but at this hour, that isn’t feeling very likely.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, where Carl Crawford has increased his hitting streak to 10 games, and Jacoby Ellsbury has a 19-gamer going.