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.
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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.