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Screaming Speechless: Bamboozling Loss

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In the wake of last night's Celts loss in Cleveland, my colleague and sleepless chatting pal CelticBalla32 called in to the postgame edition of Celtics Stuff Live.  The ending of his call just seems too pertinent to omit.  In CB's words:

"My exit to the show was classic: I was speechless, coughed, and just when i was getting ready to recoup from speechlessness, my phone died."

Yep, that about sums up the sentiments here after a crushing Game 6 loss.

It was one that made me want to scream, but I couldn't seem to find the right words -- or the right subject to harp on.

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The Guru and I sat in silence for what seemed like quite some time after the final buzzer sounded on a sixth straight playoff road loss for the boys in green.  In reality, it was only a few seconds, but or those of us not accustomed to being quiet, that can feel like an eternity.

Finally, I wondered aloud, "I don't even get it.  What was the defining part of this loss?  What was the message to pick up?  I just don't even know what to feel right now."

A few hours later, that hasn't changed.

I want to scream about the offense sputtering again and the ruts caused by settling for jump shots (and not hitting them) and turning the ball over.  But it also seems worth noting that there were some added efforts made to get the ball to the rim, and they simply didn't work.  Glen Davis had a lot of trouble around the rim.  Paul Pierce made some great moves inside but had trouble finishing.  At times, the effort to get to the bucket was definitely there.

Loath as we are to get into too much officiating talk (the full refereeing spiel will have to be laid out here once and for all in the near future), there is certainly a temptation to skewer the zebras this time around.  Two simply atrocious calls at the end of the game followed 45 minutes of plenty of inconsistency to go around.  But questionable officiating comes nowhere close to explaining away 16 Cleveland offensive rebounds, 17 Celts turnovers or the fact that the Celtics had their shots blocked seven times.  Officiating isn't in the Celtics' control.  Boxing out most certainly is.

If ever there were a night to slam Doc, Friday seemed like the night.  He completely removed Leon Powe from the rotation, and his consistent use of a clearly struggling Infuriated Infant was a bit frustrating.  The clock management after Ray Allen's free throws in the final 23 seconds was inexplicable.  But lest I forget that I'm the one who asked for more Big Baby after Game 5.  Or that Doc having the guts to insert Eddie House into Sam Cassell's role worked quite well throughout most of the contest.

Flipping out about Kendrick Perkins' general inefficacy once more seems a reasonable enough proposition.  But if I'm going to focus on the long-time whipping boy, then it would only be fair to turn my attention as well to the better-advocated Rajon Rondo, the Game 5 hero who did so little right in his next outing.  Not interested in going this route.

I could lose my head about how even if the game had gone better, Doris Burke might have completely ruined my game-watching experience anyway.  But there are forum threads for that.  And it would take well more than one full-length Babble in order to fully articulate the experience last night for those of us viewing the national telecast.

The list goes on and on.  The screams and the "buts."

Despite all the sleep that's been lost over this team over this team over the past few weeks and all the complexities we spend our time looking for, sometimes it may just be best to remember that it really isn't enjoyable to lose and that sometimes the other team simply has things go its way -- and leave it at that just this once.

Because this beloved basketball team of ours is a day away from playing its biggest game of the decade.

Because beyond all the stress and nervousness that has gone into this playoff run for many of us fans, that game is a cause for excitement.

Friday night wasn't the best.  But it's over, and for all the "brink of elimination" talk about these Celtics after a tough loss, the boys in green are also on the brink of the Eastern Conference Finals -- and just five wins shy of a Finals berth.

This coming Sunday offers a chance to take care of one more of those wins.

Label me ready to turn my attention -- and excitement -- to that brighter day.

Who's with me?