The Celtics do NOT get a free pass if they lose Game 7 on Saturday. Any fan that claims the Celtics are playing with house money at this point—therefore rationalizing a loss to Miami in the final game of the Eastern Conference Finals—is a complete buffoon.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because I already know how the narrative will go if the Celtics lose on Saturday. The “ESPN experts” will say something like, “It was a valiant effort by an older Celtics team…a team no one expected to make it this far. They should be proud of putting up such a good fight, especially if it is the last stand for the Big Three.”
The ignorant fans will be talking months from now about how they didn’t expect this team to A). make the playoffs, B). beat Atlanta in Round One, or C). Advance to the Conference Finals. The subtext being, “Yeah, it sucks they lost, but since we didn’t expect them to make it this far, we can’t be too upset that they fell short of the Finals.”
You know who would never entertain the idea of “playing with house money?”
Just listen to one of that guy’s postgame rants and you’ll realize he expects to win the NBA Championship every time he steps on the court.
The Celtics should have ended the Heat series in five games, considering they outplayed Miami in games two through five. Just like they should have ended the 76ers series in five games as they outplayed Philadelphia in games one, three, four and five.
This isn’t a team that lacks so much talent compared to their opponents that we should feel lucky they’re winning. They have plenty of talent; they’re just as healthy as every other playoff team (just ask Chicago about Derrick Rose or Miami about Chris Bosh); they have three future Hall-of-Famers and a former Coach of the Year. They are not outmatched.
Sure, win or lose on Saturday I’ll still be proud of the fight they put up this postseason. They certainly could have come up with plenty of excuses to bow out early. But since they have gotten to this point—and proved that they belong in the Finals just as much as any other team—I think it’s only fair that we expect them to win.
If you’re a Celtics fan, it’s understandably lazy to be happy they made it this far and not expect anything more. Be better than that. Expect this team to be in the Finals. The old guys taking the floor on Saturday night certainly will.