Up until this point I've been hesitant to call this an "instant classic." That just seems to be one of those terms that is overused. Besides, I'm not old enough to speak authoritatively on history.
However, after last night's epic, I can't imagine there being another series that rivaled this one. Yes, it is just the first round, so the stakes are somewhat lower, but it is still win or go home.
Whatever you are looking for in a playoff series is here. Buzzer beaters, gutsy performances through pain, young players stepping up, cagey veterans never letting up, "playoff fouls," good (and bad) coaching, the list goes on. ...and on, and on...
This series has included 7 overtime periods. Seven. This is history happening right here.
Someday in the future you'll be having a conversation with someone about some future playoff series and how close it is or how many overtimes it includes. You will laugh and say, "that's nothing, I remember when..." and you'll describe this series.
The only question at this point is how you'll remember it. Will it be a hard fought yet satisfying win or a hard fought regrettable loss?
Jumping in the time machine again, imagine if you could go back in time and alter the events of history. Think about what you could do with minimal effort. As a Celtics fan, you could move the ball one inch on 2 plays and this series is a sweep. A Bulls fan could do the same and they win in 5 games. And the thing is, either fan would have an endless supply of plays to pick from that could have decided the games one way or another.
That's why I'm not going to get too hung up on one play or another that "cost us the game." The Celtics had numerous opportunities to put the Bulls away all game (and all series) long. You could say the same for the Bulls.
Earlier this series I saw some Bulls fans talk about how evenly these teams are matched up because of the Garnett injury. I wrote that off as a little bit of optimistic homerism. I was sure that the Celtics were the better team and they would prove it on the court. I was wrong. The Celtics may indeed be a better team, but right now, with the current lineup, in this series, at this moment in time, these teams are as evenly matched as you'll ever see.
Neither team is backing down an inch. Both teams have done enough to make thier fans proud. Still, only one can walk away winners from the best first round series ever (and perhaps the best series ever). That is if this series ever ends.