A Dysfunctional Night to Remember

A Dysfunctional Night to Remember
March 6, 2014, 9:45 am
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Wednesday night was a dysfunctional but still somewhat memorable one at the TD Garden. From pregame warm-ups right on through the final buzzer, the building was filled with a chaotic mix of anger, jealously, frustration, laughter, apathy, nostalgia, faith, hope and perspective; the kind of combination that usually only presents itself when a team is slogging through the depths of which the Celtics are right now.

For starters, there were more than a few empty seats for the game against the Warriors, and that’s putting it lightly. In the seats that weren’t empty, the most common jersey was probably Steph Curry’s No. 30. After Steph, the second most popular attraction was one of the visiting team’s assistant coaches — Brian Scalabrine. And the third star of the night was easily that random guy in the stands who looks likes 2Pac. I think we should call him 3Pac. But either way, he popped up on the Jumbotron late in the third quarter and inspired a “Let’s Go 2Pac!” chant from the crowd.

The real Pac used to refer to himself as the rose that grew from concrete, but last night his impostor watched a bunch of garbage sprout up from a Garden. For 48 minutes, the Celtics were absolutely throttled by the Warriors. The final count was 108-88, and you know how you’ll sometimes watch a one-sided game and think it really wasn’t as bad as the final score? In this case, it was worse. The Celtics were over-matched at every position (except for maybe point guard) and were outplayed in every facet of the game (including point guard).

Adding to the embarrassment, Boston was coming off three days rest and has been home since last Wednesday. The Warriors were playing the final leg of a five-game road trip and were less than 24 hours removed from an emotional win in Indiana. This had all the makings of a trap game, but ultimately was nothing more than a crap game. (Sorry.)

“They were really good and we weren’t,” Brad Stevens said. “Which is a bad combination when you’re playing a team of that talent level.”

This is true.

The loss dropped the Celtics to 20-41, keeping them on pace to finish with the third worst record of any Celtics team since 1950. They’ve now lost two straight games and eight of their last 10. We all knew this what would be a tough year and, man, has it ever been. Boston’s now played 30 games against teams with an above .500 record, and after last night, they’re 4-26. That’s brutal. Really makes you wonder if heaven’s even got a ghetto . . .

Of course, the good news in all this is that the Celtics have the fourth worst record in the league. If the season ended today, they’d have a 37.8 percent chance of landing a Top 3 pick and an 11.9 percent chance at the No. 1 overall. And at this point, that’s probably all that matters. While it’s easy to get bent out of shape over a loss like Wednesday’s (no one wants to see the Celtics embarrassed), it’s easier to swallow in the shadow of the big picture. It’s really just a loss like any other. It doesn’t matter if it’s by 20 points or two points. It’s not like the last six years, when the window was perpetually closing on this team, and every embarrassing loss seemed to expedite the process.

Nope. The window is closed. The Celtics are just trying to pry it back open. But they can’t yet. It’s not budging. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week or next month. It won’t be until May 20 (the NBA Lottery) that we can even consider a shift in the direction of this franchise, and even then, that shift won’t occur until the draft in late June. In the meantime, the unfortunate reality is that losses truly are more important than wins. Losses in any way, shape, or form.

That said, it’d be nice if they can avoid losses like last night’s. That was the kind of horrible performance that you just can’t unsee.

Of course, for Louis Corbett, that’s just fine.

By now, you’ve heard the story of Louis — the 12-year-old Celtics fan from New Zealand who’s suffering from a disease (retinitis pigmentosa) that will not-so-slowly rob him of his vision. After getting the diagnosis, Corbett made a bucket list of things he’d like to see before going blind, and a Celtics game at the Garden was on the list. The story made the papers in New Zealand, was picked up by the guys over at Red’s Army, who then tweeted Corinne Grousbeck and the rest is history. Once hearing Louis’ story, the Grousbecks and the whole franchise went to unbelievable lengths to make last night a moment that Corbett will never forget. He had meet and greets with Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and all the players. Floor seats under the basket. He was the guest of honor.

Obviously, it’s a shame that this was the game Louis got to see. As Brad Stevens said afterwards, “I wish we could have played better for him.” And sure, that would have been great. But something tells me it doesn’t matter. Something tells me that Louis is doing just fine this morning. He might not even need a plane to fly back to New Zealand. He can just float across the world, powered by the string of lifelong memories that were jam packed into one magical night. And you know what? If Louis’s feeling OK after that loss, I’m pretty sure we can.

It might be a night that most of us would assume to just forget, but it’s all the consolation in the world knowing that Louis Corbett never will.

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