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Lessons from Celtics-Heat: flamethrower therapy

Last year’s playoff loss to the Heat still looms large over my psyche, but the Celtics’ total destruction Thursday night offered some perverse form of therapy.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

I know there was a Celtics game last night, but I’ve actually been working on a spec script I wanted to share with you guys:


Kramer throws open the door.

Kramer: “We out-heated the Heat!”

Jerry: “We what?”

Kramer: “I’m telling you Jerry, we out-heated the Heat. The Heat, you know, the basketball Heat, not the temperature heat? They have been, henceforth, out-heated!”

Jerry: “Who even are we?”

Kramer: “Not the Heat, that’s for sure.”


I’m not sure that I’ll be able to sell NBC on a revival of Seinfeld with such a bare-bones script, but hopefully the Celtics will provide us with more comedic beat downs of the Miami Heat so that I can fill an entire season.

The Celtics absolutely throttled the Terry Rozier-reloaded Heat 143-110, ensuring that any and all PTSD from last year’s playoffs would remain bottled up and unprocessed until at least the next time the two meet. It was spectacular, unapologetic, and emancipating from a potentially hellish week of NBA discussion. In short, it ruled, and the nightmares of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals won’t hurt me tonight!

If I was a Heat fan right now, I’d probably throw my hands in the air and demand this loss be filed in the “statistical outlier” category of losses considering the Celtics dropped a team 63-55-95 line even with Kristaps Porzingis exiting in the third quarter with a left ankle injury.

One team shooting 60 percent from the field and over 50 percent from three and a Celtic rolling their left ankle reminds me of a certain playoff series when… oh, God. The nightmares! They’re back! Caleb Martin! Max Strus! (Gabe Vincent goes for a rebound) Tatum no! Watch out for your ankle! GRANT NO! DON’T DO IT! JIMMY IS DANG—(blacks out)

I guess I spoke too soon about the nightmares, but it’s comforting to know that the Celtics were the ones shooting a mathematically-outlandish clip. Per the NBA on TNT broadcast, they were the first team in NBA history to have five players make three three-pointers and three two-pointers, which is one of those stats that makes you go “really? The first ever? I mean… I guess that’s kind of specific… yeah. Yeah, that’s fine.”

Ultimately, very little in NBA discourse will be altered by tonight’s game. The Celtics are in a different league talent-wise than the Heat, and tonight’s destruction merely confirmed that. But the world will forget how coming into tonight, the Heat were one of the hot teams in the Eastern Conference.

Not winning-wise of course, as they had lost four straight coming in, but narrative-wise, having just shipped off Kyle Lowry’s eternally-horrific contract and a first round pick for Terry Rozier. It was a trade that was impossible to hate for the Heat, as Rozier was a contender-level piece quarantined away in Charlotte. It was one of those “man, the Heat did it again” trades, and with Rozier’s history in Boston, this was a fitting introduction to his new team.

Because of all that, this game had the potential to be extremely awkward for the Celtics. If Miami had won, this game would have nestled in my brain like a futuristic-mind-control-chip, ready to be activated at any moment to remind of how the Heat owned the Celtics. It would have been impossible to shake, as even if the Celtics won the next 37 straight and finished 71-11, the specter of the Heat would loom over the playoffs like a dark cloud.

Instead, I’m writing Seinfeld parodies and making references to The Office. How the turn tables.

They said trauma needs to be carefully processed and professionally handled, and that’s definitely true. But sports trauma is more like an infestation of weeds on the cornfields of your brain. You don’t need therapy for weeds, you need a flamethrower.

Enter a total blowout, here to bring the fires of justice upon the crimes of old. Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but this win has bought me enough anti-Miami medication to last at least until the next matchup. When is that exactly? February 11th… hmm. That’s not really that much time…

Irrelevant! When it comes to Miami, I’ll take everything I can get. I won’t allow myself to forget how emotionally jarring it was to fall down 3-0 to this very same—well, not really the same, but we’re going to forget about that—Miami team. We can’t forget about history, otherwise it may repeat itself.

I say “we” like I’m on the team, but it’s really the Celtics who need to stay focused on that feeling. Don’t let that pain and disappointment stay in the past, rather let it be the jetpack that propels you past your prior limitations.

I certainly don’t like how that series made me feel, and I’ll bet all the money in my pocket against all the money in your pocket that the Celtics don’t either. They say if you can’t outrun the past, run harder. I think running is really hard, so I say bring a flamethrower.

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