This is it folks, the season is on the line. The proverbial backs are against the wall and the symbolic chips are all pushed into the center of the table. Use whatever cliche you want, it is win or go home time.
There are plenty of reasons why we might not win tonight and the first three start at the 2, 3, and 4 positions on the Miami Heat. Age, injuries, and depth round out the top 6 but there's time enough for all that if we do in fact end up falling short (believe me, I could go on and on about this).
Instead, I'd like to rouse my inner optimist and get silly with a little pie in the sky blind faith. So grab your rally cap and a six pack of lime Kool Aid and hop on the bandwagon with me. We're going to win game 5 and here's why.
(Disclaimer: If you cannot stomach candy coated optimism at this point, feel free to stop reading now.)
Hardest Thing To Do: Close Out A Champion
In one glass, take one part "heart of a Champion," mix in a little "now or never" and "backed into a corner," shake well. In another glass, take one part "questionable mental toughness," and add three parts "egos" and two parts "immaturity" and sprinkle with "inexperienced coaching" and stir with a doubt spoon. Now, pour both glasses into a bowl and watch the chemical reaction take place. That sucker is unstable folks and it could all blow up in Miami tonight.
Game 4: Where Everything Went Right For The Heat
The Heat got all their stars to play well in the same game and it still took overtime to close us out. They were one botched play (and one missed Rondo layup) away from going home locked up at 2 games apiece. Give them credit that they closed out the game and took advantage of the Boston miscues, but can they keep it up? Is there any reason to think that Kevin Garnett isn't going to take out all that pent up frustration out on Chris Bosh tonight? If we can slow down either Wade or LeBron then this could go very well for the good guys.
Game 3: Where Nearly Everything Went Right For The Celtics
Aside from Rondo's injury, I'm not sure what else you could have asked for in game 3. Garnett had his best game in years, showing that he's still capable of great things. Pierce was in the Truth Zone and even Ray was getting in the action. If our stars can align like that again (say it with me now) no team can beat us - even with a one armed point guard. This is not theory, it is fact that was proven just a few days ago. It can (and should!) happen again.
One Word: Pride
The Lakers were two time Champs and ended up getting swept out of the playoffs looking like punks. That was embarrassing for their fans and franchise. That is the opposite of what the Celtics are all about. They refused to go down 3-0 and they will again refuse to be closed out tonight. There's too much pride to go out like this. They will take it one game at a time and stare down elimination and live to play another day. After that, they get to come back to Boston (can you imagine what that crowd is going to be like?) and with any Celtic luck they'll be headed to a Game 7 where the Heat will be feeling dazed and confused by what just happened to them.
Basically, we're at the point in the Rocky fight where he's been pummeled, cut above the eye so he can see, and he's using the ropes to stay upright. You know what happens next.
Just win. Go Celtics.
Update: More recommended reading from CSNNE - Hold off on those Celtics obits just yet