Celtics look weird in Game 5 loss to Warriors
I guess when it’s all over, if the Warriors close this out, this final will be held up as an example of how important experience is in the championship round. That’s the easy conclusion to draw as the Celtics look like the better team most of the time. And yet, they find themselves 3-2 against the Warriors, who have, say it with me now, “BEEN HERE BEFORE.” But I’m not so convinced.
I think the Celtics are just weird. There hasn’t been a team to go this far that can swing so wildly from looking unbeatable to looking like five guys trying to get past high school detention in the same game. Sometimes it’s in the same neighborhood. Such volatility would normally always see a team eat it before this round, but the Celtics are also talented at the same time. There couldn’t have been a brighter example than Game 5 last night, that the C eventually lost 104-94.
In the first quarter, Boston couldn’t kick a bull in the ass with a snow shovel. They went 0-5 from three, and the only thing keeping them in the game was the fact that Steph Curry’s radar was off all night as he went from 0-9 to 3. They weren’t all that much better in the second quarter, but eventually made a few 3s and locked down the defense enough to keep the Warriors from slipping over the horizon.
And then in the 3rd, the quarterback that’s been an odyssey for all series and most playoffs, they made the Warriors not only struggle to score, but struggle to put one foot in front of the other or even to breathe. They outscored Golden State by 11, Jayson Tatum had nine points and three assists and consistently made good play on offense setting other scores. And the Warriors couldn’t do anything. Every Golden State possession looked like it was trying to move a couch to a no-elevator third floor, while the Cs zipped and whipped the ball on offense for a string of open looks. Most are proof of that by going 6-9 of three in the stanza and making it eight in a row starting in the second quarter.
And then they just…left. With their foot on the accelerator, maybe they just took the time to appreciate the scenery and lost track. Maybe they just like to play with their food, even though they haven’t earned that right. Maybe they just can’t help but destroy their own creation to give them the fury they need to feed on. Jordan Poole hit a banked three from another ZIP code to end the quarter, and the Celtics apparently used that as an excuse to crumble in on themselves, ostensibly for fun.
Tatum couldn’t find the rim, let alone the net. They treated basketball like food poisoning. The Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins went wild on them on defense. On a night Curry didn’t make a 3 and scored just 16 points, not only did the Celtics lose, but it wasn’t that close.
How do you do this? Perhaps the intensity the Cs can bring to defense — and when they do, they’re impenetrable — is so volatile that it can’t help but overflow at times. It seems like they can go from just constantly being in each opponent’s space (and covering all the driving and passing lanes) to them bitching at the referees and each other and throw the ball all over the arena like they’re steamin’ Wille Beamon on a coke frenzy with nothing more than a strong breeze. The Celtics can play with such fury on both sides in a good way, but if even a tiny bit spills out of a bottle it becomes a toxic danger site and you need a Hazmant suit just to watch it .
Perhaps that’s how Celtics coach Ime Udoka got them this far, as the players and the coach seem to be constantly pissed off at each other and do their jobs just out of defiance. When they point that rage at the world at large, they’re awesome. When it turns inward for imperceptible reasons or triggers, you get the mess of last night’s fourth. It certainly worked, and there are long stretches where the Celtics look like the best team in the league. But they can’t contain him for 48 minutes. There is a point in each match where it will vomit.
They could still win the series. Dealing with the ax sharpened their focus against the Bucks and Heat, realizing that if they bicker with everyone around them and once again go off at both ends, they will have to do it by SMS for summer. But they face a team that has earned its living, and itself an era, of being just about the most balanced outfit around. The Warriors don’t have to match the Celtics’ best points if they don’t match their lows, which is how they took the lead in this series.
And they won the Deep Game Steph-goes-0’fer. This is quite the canyon they just jumped.
The Magician of Aus!
We’ll end on this goofus from Australia. The Australians faced Peru yesterday in Qatar for a place in the World Cup. And as those tense games at the end of a long season tend to be, a turgid affair went to penalties. And Australia opted for the too-cute ploy of replacing their backup goalkeeper for the shootout. Except Australia tried to make their backup go crazy:
His name is Andrew Redmayne, and this is apparently his gig. Not so much the recording of the penalties as all the rigamarole during them which repels the shooters. The look after he saves one to clinch a spot sums up pretty much every interaction anyone has ever had with an Aussie – not as entertaining and funny as they think, but just charming enough to stand on. draw. And that’s usually accompanied by that kind of “dancing” that Redmayne puts on, no matter what arena you meet them in, because either nobody’s ever told an Aussie to knock it down, or no Aussies never listened.
At least he found his calling. So few of us can say that.