Upset Special Brewing in Beantown?

I’m a
bit torn, here.

As a
Timberwolves fan, I want to see KG win a championship.  As an NBA fan, I want to see the Hawks
complete an unthinkable upset on Sunday in Boston.  And as a sports fan, I want to see any team
from Boston go down in defeat. 

Why?  In all honesty, I’m a jealous SOB…with an endless
line of incompetent teams in Minnesota, it’s nauseating to see Boston teams
have some tremendous success.  I loved
seeing the Patriots finish the 2007 NFL season 18-1, and admittedly, despite KG’s
12 seasons as the face of the Timberwolves franchise, witnessing the Celtics lose
in humiliating fashion would put a slight grin on my face.  I’ll admit it…I’m little more than a bitter,
frustrated Twin Cities sports fan.

What’s a
Wolves fan to do?  Well, as much as I
appreciate KG’s endless line of contributions to our favorite squad, it’s
impossible not to love the scrappy bunch of guys from Atlanta.

Going
into the Celtics-Hawks matchup, I considered the series to be the equivalent of a
first round bye for Boston.  I thought the
Hawks might steal one of the games in
Atlanta, but other than that, I was expecting a thorough domination by the
Celtics.  Anyone who says they believed
all along that the Hawks could compete with Boston is a dirty rotten liar – indeed,
this was supposed to be one of the most lopsided playoff series in recent
memory.

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And, in
fact, the three games in Boston have been completely one-sided.  But the difference between Boston’s
performances at the Garden and their performances in Atlanta has been nothing short of
mindboggling.

In
Atlanta, the Celtics have looked amateurish and old on the defensive end,
especially in critical junctures of games. 
Their game six strategy focused on double-teaming Joe Johnson whenever
he touched the ball, but this approach led to nonstop open looks for the Hawks.  Give Johnson credit for being extremely
unselfish with the basketball, but give Doc Rivers a big fat wag of the finger
for allowing the Hawks to have considerable success on the offensive end.

The free
throw disparity in game six will undoubtedly raise eyebrows; the Hawks shot a
stunning 47 free throws during the game (and sunk 36), while the Celtics could
only manage 25 free throw attempts, making 20 of their shots from the charity stripe.

Were
there some borderline calls on Boston? 
Absolutely.  But don’t blame the officiating for their game six debacle – Boston played lazy defense in the fourth
quarter, frequently allowing opportunities in transition for Bibby and company,
and they picked up plenty of fouls along the way. 
When you’re tired – mentally and physically – you tend to commit unnecessary
fouls, and the Celtics appeared utterly worn.

After
the Hawks tied the series at 2-2, I saw an absolutely ridiculous argument from
a Celtics forum; apparently, the tough competition Boston was facing from
Atlanta was supposedly making them battle tested, improving their ability to
face adversity later in the playoffs. 
Nice try, but there’s no imaginable way to spin this humiliating series
into a positive for the Celtics.  Win or
lose, they’ll still emerge from their duel with Atlanta as a beaten, battered
team.

Indeed,
even if Boston survives game seven, what are we to think about the Celtics’
chances against a well-rested LeBron James? 
What are we to think about their ability to beat Detroit on the road in
a potential Easter Conference Finals showdown? 
If they can’t play serviceable defense on the road against Atlanta, how
can they possibly win a championship? 
This series has dismantled previous playoff expectations for Boston.

To be
fair, Atlanta has played a helluva lot better than we thought they would.  They’re playing like a 50-win team, not a
squad that finished the season 37-45. 
Even if the Hawks can’t upset the Celtics on Sunday, this Atlanta team would have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

As for
our man KG, we’ve seen a familiar sight from him – fading in the fourth
quarter.  Some things never change, huh?

Ripping
KG here at T’Wolves Blog might not be taken terribly well, but anyone who isn’t
disappointed with his fourth quarter performance in games three, four and six
needs to start being honest with themselves. 
The man is not perfect, and unfortunately for the Celtics, KG’s
unwillingness to take big shots in crunch time has traveled with him
from Minnesota to
Boston.

Still,
although I’ve been generally underwhelmed with KG’s fourth quarter performances
on the road in Atlanta, he wasn’t the reason Boston lost game six.  Rarely will you see Ray Allen shoot as poorly
as he did late in game six, as he went 1-8 from three-point range on Friday.  He had countless opportunities to sink key
shots, and he seemingly failed each time. 
It was embarrassing.

If you
would have told any NBA fan that, out of the eight opening round playoff
series, the Celtics-Hawks matchup would be the only series to go the full seven
games, you would have been declared a certified nut.  But these Hawks have shown some unexpected
gutsiness, and their youth has proven to be their best asset in their home
games.

Since
Atlanta has already been blown out three times in Boston, the Celtics deserve
to be the favorites by a considerable margin in game seven.  But this has become a one-game series;
now, anything can happen.  As this series has
proved, we shouldn’t be surprised by anything that happens between the Hawks
and Celtics.

TWolves Blog Staff

About TWolves Blog Staff

Former writers for TwolvesBlog.com

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