Split second thoughts on Boston's big win


Split second thoughts on Boston's big win

Three seconds.

How many different thoughts and emotions can your brain squeeze into three measly seconds?

Im not sure theres one definitive answer, except that its always more than you think. Whether its the seconds after your car skids out of control in a snowstorm. After you briefly stumble on your way down a massive flight of stairs. Or after one of the top five basketball players in the world breaks loose for an open, game-winning, essentially-season-ending three-pointer.

3 2 1

Your brains ability to cram so much into such a short, almost non-existent period of time is (not to get too Bill Walton on you ) one of the true marvels of the human condition. One of those things that we dont fully understand, but generally whether its to avoid further confusion or the fear of waking up in our own Charlie Kaufman movie don't question. But we know that its there. We know that in those moments of trepidation our mind can and will morph into a flip book of reflection and horror.

Then, just as quickly, its over.

Your car grinds safely to a halt. You barely catch yourself on the railing. Dwyane Wades three-pointer bounces off the rim and falls harmlessly to the ground next to Marquis Daniels jaw. Everythings back to normal, but you never forget how it felt. How quickly everything meant nothing. It gives you a new appreciation for what you have, and leaves you in a considerable state of shock.

Thats where we are this morning.

For three seconds last night, the Celtics were dead. From the moment Wade crossed up Rondo, pump faked Daniels and rose up for an uncontested (although off-balanced) game-winning three, all your worst fears about this team became a reality. In those three seconds, you saw the Heat celebrating on the parquet, you watched the excruciating press conferences, lived through the media firestorm, the two days of eulogies and the eventual public beheading in Miami.

You saw Wade's shot go in. You felt the Celtics lose.

The end of a truly great season. The end of a historic era.

BUT thanks to one or one thousand slight miscalculations in Wades release, the Celtics are now stronger than ever. Whether thats real or just the perception doesnt matter. For the next two days, that's how we'll look at this team. The same crew that would have been dead and buried if not for one missed jumper is now a serious threat to upset the Heat and make it back the Finals for the third time in five long, confusing and undeniably satisfying seasons.

At this point, we understand what they'll have to do to win. We're familiar with every possible reason they might lose. After an entire postseason of staring aimlessly into the Green enigma, we finally have a read on these guys. We know who they are. We know who they're up against.

Deep down, we know where this is headed.

Obviously, nothing is certain in this life andor postseason. There's so much basketball and drama waiting to play out over these next four days and two games. But come on, you know as well as I do:

The Celtics are going to lose tomorrow.

They're going to win on Thursday.

Or they'll win tomorrow. And lose on Thursday.

Bottom line: If you've got plans for Saturday night, you might as well start coming up with excuses. Start teaching your kid how to fake a cough. Start looking for another night to meet your girlfriend's parents. Tell your cousin that you saw his fiancee with another guy, that this weekend's wedding is a mistake. Park your car in a handicap spot. Have the thing impounded. Do whatever you can to ensure that on Saturday night at 8:30 pm, there's nothing in the way of you and your TV. Because this thing's coming down to the wire. There's no other way for it this series, this season, this rivalry, this era to end.

It wasn't ending with a Heat sweep. It wasn't ending with Marquis Daniels biting on a last second pump fake. It's not ending on a Tuesday night in Miami.

It will come down to Saturday. It has to. This entire postseason has been about fate and circumstance. About building towards something that we could never really understand. Something special. And there could be nothing (in our world) more special than CelticsHeat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. If they get there, it will all make sense.

If the Celtics win?

I'm not touching that yet.

If they lose? Well, you know how it's going to feel.

For three seconds, you were already there.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat


Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”