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Celtics deliver therapeutic win

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Thank you. Celtics. We needed that.

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This has been...a long...shortened season. And it hasn’t helped that it was folded into a long year defined by COVID-19. Sports are typically a welcome escape during difficult times, but this Celtics season hasn’t given us much in the way of pleasant distractions. If anything, for the diehards it has only reminded us of the pandemic and added to the stress and anxiety, which is why Friday’s win was a much needed breath of fresh air that many of us needed.

The Nets are a phenomenally talented basketball team. They are still up 2-1 and are rightly favored to win the series. Boston is still without All Star Jaylen Brown and may have lost Robert Williams as well. Even when the team was kinda-sorta-mostly healthy, they didn’t show any consistency this season. The Celtics might not win another game and settle for forcing a gentleman’s sweep.

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics - Game Three Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

On the other hand, maybe they will come out on Sunday and tie up the series. They’ll be playing at home in front of the largest crowd they’ve had in well over a year. Jayson Tatum has reminded us time and time again that he’s up to the challenge of being this team’s star. The supporting cast of Marcus Smart, Evan Fournier, and yes, even Kemba Walker have the ability to share in the scoring load as well. Tristan Thompson is showing some of that playoff experience and grit that he was signed for. Who knows what this team is capable of once it gets rolling?

This is the kind optimism we can talk ourselves into after a big playoff win. Maybe it will be short-lived. Perhaps it is a bit Pollyannaish to begin with. I’m not sure I care. If this is fool’s gold, let us enjoy our prospecting find before cold scientific reality sinks in.

For now, I’m focusing on all the positives. That includes turning a blind eye to the previous year and looking forward to the next year through slightly green-tinted goggles. Next year we should have a “normal” year with a summer league, full training camp, and actual occasional practices between games. Add to that the young guys will be a year older and will have valuable playoff experience.

This is still a team that just eight months ago was in the Eastern Conference Finals. A lot has happened in those months and there’s a lot to do going forward, but the core pieces of that team are still in place and that has to count for something. Maybe it could even mean something in this series.

All I know is that team Friday night was down big early and could have let go of the rope, but they didn’t. They showed us the heart at the most important time of the year and that counts for something. In short, the team is selling hope and I’m buying up all that bitcoin that I can.