This is it. Game 6. Down 3-2. Win or the season is over.
It doesn’t get any more important for the Boston Celtics now. Yet, it also doesn’t get any simpler.
Win or it’s over. No grey left now.
This team seems to thrive on doing things the hard way. We’ve heard all the quotes about that. We’ve heard all of the “backs against the wall” quotes too.
They’ve been in a “win or else” spot three times already in the 2022 playoffs. Game 6 of the second round in Milwaukee. Game 7 of that same series in Boston. Then, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami.
Each time, the Celtics came through. No matter the odds, no matter the officials, no matter the injury report, the Celtics won.
Now, they have to do it twice more.
But, and this is important, they only really need to do it Thursday night for Game 6. The Celtics can’t win Banner 18 on Thursday. But they can make it so that there’s another game.
In the end, that’s all we really want as fans, right? Another game.
This team has been special. They went from a “What in the world is this?” mess of a group in 2021 to a juggernaut in 2022. It’s been a frustrating and terrifying roller coaster at times, but it’s also been undeniably exhilarating and fun.
It’s mid-June. Other teams are making trades. The Boston Celtics are still playing in the 2022 NBA Finals. They’re down, but they aren’t out. There’s another game to play, and hopefully another game after that too.
Thursday night, in Boston and around the world, Celtics nation is going to come together and cheer on the guys in green for another game. For two-and-a-half to three hours, that’s all that will matter. Everything else gets shut out.
We’ll cheer. We’ll yell, both in joy and frustration. We’ll scream at officials as if they are our mortal enemies sent to make the road even harder. We’ll exhale deeply on timeouts and sit back roughly in our seats. And when play starts up, we’ll be on the edge of our seats or we’ll stand, ready for battle once again.
All we really want is one more game. One more temporary escape from everything else. One more chance to be a part of something bigger. A world-wide family brought together by the Boston Celtics.
We’ve been here before. It’s the Celtics season, but it’s our season too. Three previous times, we put on our Celtics gear and got ourselves ready for hours of pure, rapturous torture. Three previous times, we collapsed into joyous puddles with smiles as wide as our faces could stretch them.
Now, we want that feeling again. Another game.
The Golden State Warriors are proud champions and worthy foes. They’re likeable enough to not truly hate, but ornery enough to have a heavy dose of “sports hate” thrown their way. They’ve earned their right to try to become 2022 NBA Champions on the parquet floor in TD Garden.
But that doesn’t mean the Celtics will let them. Spoiling things, along with bouncing back, has been what this team has done best.
The Brooklyn Nets were supposed to be the “just wait until the playoffs” team. Four games later they were sent spiraling into an offseason of uncertainty.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the defending champs. They had the chance to close it out on the home floor and to keep their title defense going. Down 3-2, the Celtics spoiled that and assured there would be no repeat.
The Miami Heat had become that infrequent rival. They kept Boston from the Finals in both 2012 and 2020. After losing a chance to close out the Heat at home, the Celtics were poised to fall to this sporadic rival again. But Boston spoiled that beach party in Miami, and made their first NBA Finals in 12 years.
Now, the Celtics can give us another game by holding off the Warriors. Another game.
This is Game 106 of this season. That’s not enough games. We want…no…we NEED Game 107.
The offseason and all the fun of trades and signings can wait. Overhyping Summer League prospects can wait. We need another game.
Another game before a summer of baseball games drones on interminably. Another game.
Weird things happen in Game 7. Someone you expect to be great falls short. Some unexpected role player steps forward to become a hero, forever remembered fondly by his fan base.
But to get there, you need to win Game 6 first. You need to force another game.
The Warriors don’t want to play another game. They know how wrong things can go in Game 7, even on their home floor. They want to close things out in Game 6 on Thursday night.
It’s up to the Celtics to delay that celebration. Ideally, they delay it permanently. But that’s something to worry about on Sunday, when there’s another game.
To get there, TD Garden needs to be rocking for Game 6. And virtual TD Gardens all across the globe need to be rocking too. Put on your green early today. Celebrate your Celtics fandom. Speak, tweet, text, write, scream another game into existence. If you wake up your neighbors overseas, just tell them it was all in service of forcing another game. They probably won’t get it, but that’s on them for not feeling the passion you do.
There’s a saying that often goes around that says “Boston is a brotherhood”. That’s needs to be felt during Game 6. Across the board. It doesn’t matter if Boston might as well be as faraway as a fairytale city. If you’re rooting for the Celtics, you’re part of it. That’s just how it works.
All we want as fans is another game. Since late-October, there’s always been another game on the schedule. There’s always been a next time to look forward to. There’s another game on the schedule right now too. It’s sitting there on Sunday at 8:00 PM ET. But it’s got an “if necessary” asterisk attached to it.
It’s up to the Celtics to remove that asterisk. It’s up to Boston to give us another game. One more time.
Getting another game is for Ime and Brad. It’s for Al. It’s for the Jayson, Jaylen, Marcus, Rob core. It’s for the kids. It’s for Derrick’s New Dad energy. It’s for the best damn bench vibes in the NBA.
It’s for Danny. It’s for Paul, KG and Ray. It’s for IT and AB. It’s to honor Bill Russell seeing the balloons ready to fall to celebrate a title for the opponent and snarling “Those fucking balloons are staying up there.”
And it’s for us too. We’ve been there all year long. Through all the downs and through all the ups. Through the underwhelming and overwhelming. For 105 times, we’ve donned our green and white and tried to will our guys on to greatness. It’s worked three times already when it was needed most.
Now, we need it again. The Celtics need to force one last, final, ultimate game.
Game 6. At home in front of the faithful maniacs who have shed sweat and dropped countless tears for this team, both inside and outside of TD Garden.
We’re not ready to say goodbye to these 2022 Boston Celtics. Not tonight. We need more time with these guys. We need one more reason to get geared up to scream, yell, cheer, laugh and maybe even cry.
Let’s get another game.