Almost every day recently, the Celtics have gotten positive news about their chances of making it to the Eastern Conference finals. First, Chicago, a formidable foe, was instantly transformed into a good-but-not-great virtual non-contender by the season-ending injury to Derrick Rose. (Btw, it was predictable that it would happen eventually, from the number of times and violence with which Rose throws his body at defenses.)
Next, Josh Smith sprained his knee. Even a mild sprain will not be 100% in time to help the Hawks win round 1 -- not that they had much of a shot anyway given the prior injuries to Horford and Pachulia.
At the same time, the Cs pulled out a great win in Atlanta without Rondo or Ray, proving to themselves that everybody -- including their bench guys -- can and will step up when asked.
So what's the problem?
The problem is that good luck can be a curse in disguise. The Cs won it all in '08 in part because they had such a HARD time in the early rounds. This toughened them up in ways nothing else could. By the time they hit the Finals, they were case-hardened... and it showed. (Remember the game-four 24-point comeback?)
Now it seems fate, after sticking it to us earlier in the season, is stepping in and preparing a nice cushy red carpet for the Cs to put their dainty little feet on as they march to the ECF.
It's scary. If there's one thing this team has shown us over the years it's their endless capacity for overconfidence and forgetting how hard it is to get to the top of the mountain. Ok, to their credit, this kind of behavior tends to happen in the (admittedly mostly meaningless) regular season, not the playoffs. But still.... there's the Hawks game 1. They weren't ready. Again.
So yeah.... it's scary. I hope the Cs don't start counting their blessings and continue to focus on relentlessly mowing down the opposition. Because this is not gonna be a slam dunk. No chance of that. The Celtics are too offensively challenged to take ANY series lightly, let alone one with the Heat and whomever comes out of the West.