For fans and media, it is fun to think about the possibilities. The Celtics were down 0 games to 3 and no team has come back from that - but what if they were the first? The Red Sox did it for the first time in baseball, why not the Celtics in basketball? Was that Wilcox tipped pass the Dave Roberts moment that we needed? Was Jason Terry's overtime performance just the thing to break open the floodgates?
Don't ask the players any of that though. They can't afford to miss the trees for the forest. They are on shaky ground and if they look too long at the horizon, they are likely to miss a step and fall to their demise.
Tomorrow’s choice is simple. Would you rather have Friday or summer? The Celtics have already performed the face-saving task of avoiding the sweep. Now it’s about something more basic, something gleaned in the playground at an early age. This is about keeping the court. If the Celts win, they get to stay — albeit with a move back to their parquet park. If the Celts lose, they have to wait until next season to run it back.
In the past, the playoffs have been "survive and advance." This year, it is just "survive to the next game." To do that, they'll have to play better on the road. Something they haven't proven they can do all year long. The Knicks will also have J.R. Smith back on the court. This isn't going to be easy.
On the other hand, if the Celtics do pull of a win, then you can bet that the collars will feel a little tighter in New York. They'll have to answer to that New York media about their inability to put a team away and the potential epic fail that could await them. Do they have the mental strength to handle that kind of adversity?
To know the answer to that question, the Celtics have to start with one more win. As our friend Master PO has reminded us on numerous occasions: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Sunday was that first step. Wednesday they have a chance to plant one more foot. Will it be on the backs of their opponent, or in the proverbial grave?