posted at 4/8/2011 1:02 PM EDT
To me there is one big positive in this. It happened now. Here is what I mean. The Celtics came into this game ready to play at a reasonably high level. They then met a Bulls team ready to play at an INCREDIBLY high level, The result... we got a beat down.
Now, when you lose to the Clippers, you always know in the back of your mind you can beat them anytime you really want to(if your the Celtics that is) You know you really didn't play that good, that you wern't really invested in the game and you know that just putting in a bit more effort will win it for you next time. However, when you lose to a team that is ahead of you in the standings, going for your throne in a game you came to reasonably focused, that's something else entirely. That's a wake up call.
It's what happened to Cleveland last year when they met us. They had no idea, how much more we wanted a title than they did and by the time they figured it out, the series was over. If the Bulls did this to us in game 1 of the Eastern conference Finals, I don't think we'd recover. I think we'd bow out in six games, left dazed and confused and wondering what happened.
But, this didn't happen to us in game 1 of the eastern conference finals, it happened a month early. The Bulls have our full attention now. if that beat down doesn't tell us it's time to flip the switch, nothing will. We still have the elements of a great team when healthy. We can play the same kind of crazy maniacal defense the bulls played, and when healthy we have size, experience, and matchup advantages at many positions. We also have a month to watch film of this over and over.
When Shaq is back (I'm saying "when" damnit!) We move JO to the bench. That is a lot of size, starting and subbing for us. Size to give hard fouls, grab rebounds and alter shots. The Celtics starters were +19 this year when Shaq started. They are +11 when Perk played and +7 when JO is starting and finally +1 when krystic is starting. Big differences.
Not to mention this team has a lot of pride. They now have time to think about how badly they want a championship. If anything rights the ship and gets the Celtics playing at championship level I think this is it.
Let's hope it's a gift that brings out the best in this team.