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The Celtics have dug themselves out of a hole they shouldn’t have been in.

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Six Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Being a fan means subjecting yourself to a series of emotions that drag you unceremoniously up, down, sideways, and spinning in circles, usually all within the course of one game. The playoffs do the same thing, but they amplify the sound by 11 and double the velocity.

Brad Stevens would probably suggest that I try not to get too high after wins or too low after losses. Yeah, right. I’m an emotional fan, and I own that.

I don’t take back a single word of my post following the game 2 loss. Those first two losses were an embarrassment. They were also instructive to understanding this team’s development, not to mention their place in the NBA’s current hierarchy. In short, they have a steep climb to go from “really good” to “great.”

There was always a chance that the team could turn things around and make it a series, but the first two games didn’t exactly give a lot of evidence to that effect. Likewise, there’s still a decent chance that the Bulls could win 2 of the next 3 games and send the Celtics home for the summer anyway. That’s how quickly things can change in the playoffs. There’s really no predicting this team and this series.

That is why there shouldn’t be too much celebration for these past two wins. They have simply dug themselves out of a hole they never should have been in to begin with. Now things are even and it becomes a 3-game series where the Celtics hold home-court advantage. Not that home court has meant much so far this series.

Still, there’s something to be said for enjoying the moment. The team could have lived down to their critics and accepted defeat. Instead, they persevered, rallied, and grabbed momentum back from the Bulls. That alone is worth appreciating and applauding.

These past two performances were just as instructive to understanding the Celtics’ development curve as the two losses were. The good balances the bad, and we now have a larger set of data points to evaluate the whole.

So I’m not exactly sure how to react emotionally at this point other than to be relieved. We’ve stared down the “worst 1 seed ever” label and watched as the team pushed itself back from the ledge. I don’t know about you, but it feels like I’ve been holding my breath for the past week. It isn’t really time to fully exhale, but I do think it is safe to breathe again. Just breathe in and breathe out.

I’m very much in the “feeling” category from a Myers–Briggs standpoint, and it is very important to me (for some reason) to define how I feel after games. Thus, this blog is my group therapy session and free counseling session, so I thank you all sincerely for keeping me moderately sane. But I do think “relieved” and “perhaps hopeful” is a good approximation of where I’m at.

All that could change in the first 4 minutes of the next game, but for now I’ll take it.

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