The Boston Celtics are the first #1 seed to trail a first round series 0-2 since the 1993 Phoenix Suns. The Suns came back to win that series 3-2. So, there’s some inspiration. The bad news is the Celtics are nowhere near as good as that Suns team and their season is basically done.
President Brad Stevens is now 2-10 in the playoffs in 3 postseason appearances . Late in the season he snuck his career regular season record up over .500 for the first time. The honeymoon in Boston is ovah. WEEI was the first to publish something about him being on the hot seat.
Oh, and Fred Hoiberg is now 2-0 in the playoffs and has the exact same regular season winning percentage as Stevens (.506). Hoiberg was on the hot seat in December.
This is how the Chicago Bulls were supposed to look. Jimmy Butler was a beast, scoring 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. One of those steals came with 1:55 remaining as he just took the ball from Jaylen Brown, one of the many useless assets the Celtics refused to give up in a trade that could have brought Butler to Boston earlier this season.
Dwyane Wade was a veteran closer. He scored 10 of his 22 points in the 4th quarter, including two big 3-pointers to help close out the game. Wade hit 3-of-4 from behind the arc and the Bulls were 10-of-25. The Bulls were 24th in the league in 3pt% this season. The Celtics, 14th this season, made just 10 of 33.
Rajon Rondo had 11 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. It was the Rajon Rondo that theoretically shows up whenever his team is on national television. He played well and he played hard. Whenever the broadcast showed Rondo, he was directing teammates defensively. He really can be good sometimes despite the fact that he still can’t shoot a basketball at 31-years old.
This is what the Bulls were supposed to look like this season. A superstar, two former All-Stars contributing despite diminished physical abilities, a serviceable veteran in Robin Lopez, and a bunch of younger guys helping out when they can. Sure, maybe it’s only working against a shook, undeserving 1-seed, but it’s working for a brief moment.
At this point you have to wonder if the Cavs losing the 1-seed and the Bulls ending up 8th was some sort of long con orchestrated by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, meant to embarrass their longtime Eastern Conference rivals. Obviously, that’s not what happened, but it really is a great conspiracy theory. Or if you want to take the Bulls out of the equation, maybe LeBron knew his team was really weak and wanted to avoid any chance of his team losing a 1-8 match-up. They have just squeaked out two wins over a team they easily could have met in a differently-numbered series.
But they didn’t. It’s the Boston Celtics with the 1-seed and the 0-2 deficit and the unused assets and the young superstar coach on the hot seat. Now they can turn their attention to the next few NBA Drafts and free agency classes where they will surely fix everything.
There’s only $87 million left on Al Horford’s contract over the next three seasons and he took 8 shots on Tuesday night. At least he pulled down 11 rebounds which is way more than the 6.8 he averaged this season. That’s a good sign.
As is the fact that Terry Rozier was able to get on the court during Game 2 after a DNP-CD in Game 1. Rozier and Jaylen Brown – 2 of the 12 players Boston has picked in the last two NBA drafts – now officially count as rotation players on a playoff team. They’ve combined for 12 points in the series.
If any of this seems depressing to Boston fans, they just need to look to the future and think of all the open looks Markelle Fultz will create for career 29% three-point shooter Marcus Smart. He’ll be able to flip off so many fans.