In the first two games of 2017 Eastern Conference finals of the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers have completely dominated and downright humiliated the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers took both games at the Boston Garden by 13 and 44 points, respectively, to take a commanding lead going back to Cleveland. To make matters seem even more dire for Celtics fans, Boston point guard and fan favorite Isaiah Thomas will be out for the remainder of the playoffs with a lower body injury. Down 2-0, without arguably their best player, and now heading on the road for two crucial games which may in fact decide their fate in this year’s playoffs. But, I say, the Cavaliers should be scared of what is looming at their doorstep – a historical moment in Boston Celtics history.
The Boston Sports history book is filled with championships, heartbreaking defeats, memorable photos which are embedded into the hearts and souls of us Boston fans. We have seen defeat from bitter rivals like the Canadiens, the Yankees, and the Giants. We have been one out or even one strike away from a World Series, only to lose in 7 games to the Mets. Even players who once donned our jerseys had the nerve to hit home runs over a green monster or hit a winning shot to seal a victory or catch a much needed pass for a first down. And then, there are the historical moments which we tell our children, who will then tell their children. The historical moments of the comebacks when no one, no sports writer, no television analyst, no one on the planet other than the Boston sports fan believed we could do it. And then it happened.
A stolen base in Game 4 with our backs to the wall against the best closer and possibly one of the top 10 pitchers of all time. That small crack in the mighty armor of the Yankees propelled a previously underachieving bunch to one victory, then another, then another, and then the final victory of the series. Down 3-0 with almost nothing left in the tank, the Boston Red Sox gathered what they could, Dave Roberts stole a base, and the Red Sox came storming back to create history. Are you paying attention Cavaliers?
In 2013, with the score 4-1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Toronto, The Boston Bruins were less than a period away from defeat. 4-1 in the third period of a hockey game typically spells defeat and the odds were stacked against Boston. Having lost Games 5 and 6 to Toronto, momentum had completely shifted to Toronto. With the strength of solid goaltending down the stretch, key goals from stars like Patrice Bergeron, and the will of the Boston sports fans at the Garden, the Boston Bruins made sports history with an improbable comeback to seal their place in Boston Sports history. Determination, never quit attitude, never make excuses – that defines the Bruins comeback win. And Cavaliers, guess who else has that playing style?
And in recent memory, I recall a certain team that was down by an insurmountable numbers of points in the final game of their season. Three to four touchdowns behind at half time. The Atlanta Falcons had begun making calls to locals in Atlanta to get their parade route set. The owner and his wife left their comfortable suite to join the Falcons on the sideline. It was a glorious time to be an Atlanta Falcon, victory was all but assured. There was no way that the New England Patriots were going to make a comeback. This was a lead that was solid. All they had to do was show up and play 30 minutes and the victory was in the bag. That memo did not make it to the New England Patriots, their coaches, nor the sports fans of Boston. For New England went out in the second half and completely steamrolled the lifeless, hapless, emotionless Falcons all the way to the most incredible comeback Super Bowl and sports history. That’s right, the most incredible feeling poured over New England as running back James White pushed his way into the end zone to seal the victory in overtime for the Patriots. And, the Patriots were down one of their best players for the game. In the end, the team won and Boston had yet another moment in sports history to add to their storied book of accomplishments. Down a man, like the Celtics are now, but found a way to win.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have all but sealed their fate with this 2-0 lead in the finals. By most fans, writers, broadcasters, and basketball minds, the series is over and the Cavaliers are headed to another NBA finals. But, I say, not so fast. Boston has history on its side with comebacks from 3 out of 4 of the big dogs – The Bruins, Patriots, and Red Sox. Now, in 2017, it is time to write another page in the incredible history of Boston sports. Can you imagine if Cleveland were to lose now, having been up 2-0 in dominant fashion. Against a team that just found out that its top scorer will not play again this season? With all those stars – James, Irving, Love, Smith – for that team to lose now would be one of the biggest losses in NBA history. All of the pressure is on the Cavaliers going forward in this season. If they win, by most opinions, they were supposed to win. But, if they lose, wow that would surely be looked at as one of the biggest disappointments. No pressure on the Boston Celtics whatsoever. And when you play stress free and worry free basketball, and just have fun out there, what ever happens will happen. Including a monumental comeback for the ages. Go Celtics.