Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump
(last night’s game deserved Gino)
Thomas has, to an increasing degree, been able to trust his teammates during his time on the bench. He had 12 points by the start of the fourth quarter, and yet the Celts led by 29 at 88-59 — the biggest lead after three quarters in a playoff game in C’s history.
Last night’s game was a reminder to let the cake bake.
The Celtics won four straight, and they won each game more convincingly than the one before.
Last night, in their very first opportunity to close out an opponent, the Celtics rose to the occasion.
I’ll admit that all season long, I’ve wondered how the Celtics would handle a situation like this. How would they go about ending another team’s season? But it seems, perhaps, that they learned something in the first two games–that they learned by doing just how hard playoff basketball can be. Not that they are not equal to the task, but that the task requires more from them than regular season ball.
The Bulls, for their part, went out ’08 Lakers style. There are elimination games where the winner and loser are so evenly matched that it seems unfair that the gap between outcomes is so great, when the contest was so close. Then there are games where the other team folds faster than Superman on laundry day (thanks, Bart). Last night was one of those games.
Page 2: Where Danny is going to Washington with IT
Crowder said he was rooting for the Atlanta Hawks to knock off the Wizards in Game 6 Friday night. If the Hawks had won that game, the Celtics would have had more time before their second-round series, and attending Chyna Thomas’ funeral would have been more feasible.
“He didn’t ask us to come, but we wanted to be there,” Crowder said. “We were hoping Atlanta would get that win to give us a few days, but he did come back and say, ‘Y’all just prepare. I’m gonna do my part and prepare. And once I get back, I’ll be ready to go.'”
Like Crowder, Avery Bradley was hoping to attend the funeral before learning Game 1 would be Sunday.
“Because of the time of the game on Sunday, it makes it difficult for me to be there,” said Bradley, who grew up in Tacoma, like Thomas. “But my family will be there to support Isaiah. I mean, we’re family. Tacoma’s small. We all know each other. So I know my family will be there for me.”
No surprises here–if the team thought IT needed them there, I’m pretty sure they would all be there tomorrow regardless of what that meant for their game on Sunday.
And it is kind of a shame that Washington closed out Atlanta–and that as generous as the NBA playoff schedule can be at times, it can also whipsaw you from the end of one series right into the start of another.
Page 3: Where Brad Stevens has had it with your crap
You how they say who you are is who you are when no one is watching? Well that there’s Brad Stevens. Granted, Hoidberg took an exceptionally low road by carping on that whole ‘discontinues his dribble’ thing. That was ridiculous, and he didn’t exactly respond well to criticism of the notion.
He’s also a guy in an impossible situation. Fred’s roster by the end of this season was something like an orchestra made up of nothing but tubas and oboes. And then, when Boston came out flat in the first two games, there was all this pressure on Hoidberg to continue winning games. Like as if the Bulls were suddenly favorites–were suddenly the better team.
Stevens knows how hard it is to win games in the NBA. He’s probably got a pretty good idea how many hours a week Fred works. And to get that kind of treatment from a bunch of people who couldn’t coach a half, much less an entire season? Pretty low rent.
Finally: The C’s aren’t on the boat this time
The rest of the links
MassLive: Boston Celtics’ Avery Bradley felt disrespected by Jimmy Butler: ‘I took it personal’ | Avery Bradley after Boston Celtics defeat Chicago Bulls: ‘Y’all knew what was going to happen’ | Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics wipe away Chicago Bulls in Game 6, 105-83