You know how when you feel really frustrated, lost, confused, betrayed, and downright depressed you just want to go for a walk in do particular direction and wander around aimlessly till you find some place to sit down and hopefully come to grips with what's happened? Ok, maybe you don't do that, but I do and this is probably going to end up being the literary form of that. So I apologize in advance if this has no clear direction or purpose.
I don't know if I was mentally prepared to be down 2 games to none. I believed that this team would bounce back with a victory in game 2. At worst, I thought, it would have been a close game at the end and perhaps the Heat would have gotten a lucky bounce and won the game. I didn't expect to see the "good guys" get blown out in 2 straight games (and they were blow outs, I don't care what the final score ended up being).
This is the same core group that has been to the Finals twice and has a Banner to their names right? The only thing that can stop them is injuries to Kevin Garnett (obviously 2 years ago, but I would argue that a still-recovering KG was a factor in game 7 last year too). When this team needs to win a game, they do, ...right?
While technically they wouldn't be eliminated with a game 3 loss, this next game is the definition of a "must win" game in the spirit in which that term was created. But wasn't game 2 a very, very, very important game to win? Ok, sure, all playoff games are very, very important. Still, I can't help but feel kind of blindsided by this loss.
All of a sudden we are faced with questions that I simply don't want to and am not prepared to ask. Are the Heat just a better team than us now? Is the season over for us? Who do we pull for after we are out of it? Did Danny make a huge mistake at the deadline (or even in the offseason)? Will Doc stick around? Will there be a lockout? Will Danny blow up the team or "rebuild on the fly" or run it back one more time with another plug-in piece or two? Is The Window closing already? I ...don't ...know, and I don't want to think about any of that. I'm not ready to.
Do I still believe in this team? Umm, I think so. I believe they are very capable of winning the next two at home, taking momentum, and making this a best of 3 series. They are capable of winning the next 4 and showing the world that there's still a championship swagger about this team. I have tons of hope in this team. The problem is that I haven't seen that hope or belief manifest itself on the court yet. I guess that is the definition of faith. Believing in something unseen. I have faith, but I have to admit that it is wavering.
By the way, please, spare me and everyone else the lecture on what it takes to be a "true fan." Every fan deals with stuff like this in their own way. It doesn't make them less of a fan or you more of one. There were many Red Sox fans who, when down 3-0 to the Yankees in '04, stopped believing that they had a shot to come back. If you are honest with yourself (and a Sox fan) you probably felt at least a little doubt. That doesn't mean you were not a fan. It didn't make the victory any less sweet. For those that believed the whole time, did they get a medal or something? Was there a special parade for them that I missed? Give me a break.
I really, really, really hope that the Celtics can rip this Heat team to shreds. I still think that they can. I'm just not sure of it anymore.
Part of me wanted to write a rah-rah, "we can do it" type of piece this morning to cheer everyone up (well, at least the "optimists") but I didn't want to sound fake or disingenuous. (Note: perhaps it is for the best, the only title I could come up with was M.C. Hammer's "Too Legit To Quit." I know, I'm sorry.) On the other hand, I simply cannot count this team out either. There's too much history there. Too much talent. Too much experience. Too much pride.
Several commented yesterday that the torch isn't passed. It is ripped out of the former team's hand. Well you are gonna have to kill this team to take that torch out of its cold, dead hands. Maybe that's just what is going to happen, but not before they strike back and do some damage on the other side. This team may or may not come back and win, but they will fight back. Of that I'm sure. And really, as a fan, that's all I can ask for at this point. The past is past; all we can do is deal with the present and hope for the future.