Game 1 is in the books and personally I'd like to wipe it from my memory banks as quickly as possible. So game 2 can't come soon enough for me. Where we go from there depends solely on the events of game 2. In my mind, it could go in two extremely polar opposite directions. Neither would surprise me, though one would probably depress me.
The Best Case:
In a best case scenario, the team would take game 1 as a wake up call and come out firing on all cylinders. The Ubuntu, we-not-me, us against the world, Championship swagger would be back in full effect and we would see the boys in green giving 110%, take no prisoners, leave it all on the floor, and playing prime time basketball baby!!! (Ahem, sorry, ...just vomited up a little Dick Vitale there).
Anyway, we'd have Ray Allen ready and available to play but he wouldn't need to play that long because we'd have an early 20 point lead and play the subs for much of the 2nd half. Paul Pierce would be a brilliant point forward, Avery Bradley would be harassing the Hawks backcourt into submission, and Josh Smith would be cringing in fear in the shadow of Kevin Garnett's glare.
That would of course spark a 16 game winning streak that includes throttling the Miami Heat (causing LeBron James to demand a trade to the West coast) and culminates with destroying the Lakers (which prompts a tearful retirement by Kobe Bryant).
See the worst case after the break,... if you dare.
The Worst Case:
In a worst case scenario, the team would overcompensate with each player trying to be the hero and forgetting their roles within Doc's system leading to frustration and confusion on the court.
Ray Allen rushes back onto the court and promptly re-injures his ankles (both of them) which requires surgery which effectively ends his career. Avery Bradley forgets that he can shoot now, Keyon Dooling launches shots with reckless abandon, and Kevin Garnett kills someone with a trident.
The Big 3 all retire, Rajon Rondo is traded for pennies on the dollar, and Doc leaves the team for a cushy analyst job. The team hires ML Carr and, ...well, you know the rest.
The Heat go on to win the next 9 Championships in a row because every star in the game keeps signing with them and everyone in the world becomes bored with the NBA and people start watching the WNBA instead (no offense ladies).
David Stern then sells the whole league to China to pay off gambling debts and retires to the Caymans.
Back to Life, Back To Reality
Ok, ok. So there's probably some grey area between those two extremes. Chances are actually pretty good that Ray Allen won't play again. The team will likely be fired up but execution is going to be key. Hopefully the Celtics will hit more shots and the Hawks will miss more shots and let the chips fall where they may.
Losing Rondo hurts of course, but we still have a chance to steal home court with a split in Atlanta. Things change quick as a blink in the playoffs and momentum swings faster than you can say "this is getting us great ratings on ESPN/TNT/NBATV."
I still fully expect the Celtics to finish this series with a win and head on to the 2nd round to face the Bulls. But it won't be as easy as we'd all hoped and there's at least an element of doubt in even the most diehard's mind right now.
So, ...who's ready for Game 2? The future hangs in the balance!