NBA Playoffs 2012: A Special Message for the Celtics
If you went to bed early, you missed something special at the TD Garden last night.
No, not the Jordan-esque offensive clinic put on by LeBron James. Though, to be fair, that was pretty incredible, too. The 27-year-old hit 12 of his first 14 shots, scoring 30 points in the first half alone. By comparison, the entire Celtics team scored only 42 points in that same span.
James finished the game with 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. And, perhaps for the first time in the series, looked like a player worthy of his royal nickname.
It was a historic performance. Probably in the conversation as one of the best individual playoff performances of the last decade.
But, that wasn’t the special part. Something else happened off the court.
With just over a minute left to play and the starters from both teams watching from the sidelines, it began. A little scattered at first, but clearly audible to everyone watching. The loyal fans that remained joined together in a surprising “Let’s go Celtics!” chant.
Surprising because the Celtics were down 20 points at that point. Surprising because the original Big Three combined for just 31 points. Surprising because Boston had let a golden opportunity to eliminate the Heat and advance to the NBA Finals slip through their fingers. Surprising because the momentum had shifted back in Miami’s favor.
It didn’t matter. The chant only grew louder.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett sat stone-faced on the Celtics bench, nodding their heads. Nothing had to be said. No words needed to be exchanged. No explanation was needed. Everyone in the building—and at home—got the message loud and clear.
It was a message of unity and support. Of appreciation and gratitude. Of resolve. It echoed through the rafters where 17 championship banners hang and an empty space for number 18 still waits to be filled.
The message was simple: We’re not done yet. This isn’t over.
And according to Ray Allen, the message was received.
“Kevin was sitting next to me, and I said—I know I’m biased—but they are the best fans I've ever played in front of or ever seen in my life,” Allen told ESPN. “They understand the situation that is before us, and we understand it. And that was basically them sending us off, letting us know, ‘Hey, this is still well and alive. We need you guys to go down there and get a win for us.’ We all felt it on the bench.
“I know the game was going on. It seemed like that three minutes lasted forever. It was special. I’ll talk about that forever, just knowing that, being down 20, and these people are still standing up, cheering us on, because they know we just have to win one game.”
One game. Winner goes to the NBA Finals to face Oklahoma City, loser gets a head start on their summer vacation plans.
Doc Rivers nodded as the Celtics' bench players finished out the final seconds of Game 6 and the chant continued to pour down from the stands. He got the message, too.
Only time will tell, but maybe—just maybe—it was enough to swing the momentum back in Boston’s favor. We’ll find out on Saturday night.
Until then, let’s go Celtics.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?