It's a sad day in Boston when I have to type this, but there is just no avoiding the facts any longer.
Fact: The Celtics are three games below .500 at 14-17
Fact: They haven't won since Christmas
Conclusion: It's over.
I hate to say it, but the Boston Celtics can't contend for a championship this year. How could they?
If they can't even come within 20 points of the Sacramento Kings, then what's the point of even pretending there is still hope?
Over the past eight games, the C's are a lottery-caliber 2-6.
I don't know the exact numbers, but I'm guessing that is the worst eight-game stretch by a Celtics team since before the Big Three era.
Give me a second while I do some research.
Wait...this doesn't seem right. Either ESPN's 2011-12 schedule of the Celtics is wrong or everything I just said is. Well, I can assure you that it is not me.
According to ESPN, the 2011-12 Celtics apparently went 1-7 over an eight-game period that included a five-game losing streak, leaving them at 15-17 (just one game better than the current Celtics in a season with 16 less games).
But that can't be right, can it?
That team came within 12 minutes of the NBA Finals after withstanding crippling injuries, and we just established that any team that has a record under .500 after 30 games and is susceptible to long losing streaks cannot contend for a championship.
So there is just no way that literally this same exact thing happened to the Celtics last year.
Yet the more that I am thinking about it, I suppose I do vaguely remember the Celtics struggling at around this point in the season last year.
Well, that just completely shot my logic from the first half of the article. On the plus side, though, the Celtics aren't done.
In fact, despite the apocalyptic look of the Boston Celtics at this point in the season, there is no cause for worry or even panic.
We have all seen this happen before, yet we are all still worrying.
It's like watching The Dark Knight Rises. You go into the movie knowing that, in the end, Batman is going to save Gotham. Yet at every turn, there are obstacles that make you doubt your preconceived notion.
While Bruce Wayne is in Bane's prison with a broken back, you think to yourself, could it be that he won't save the day this time?
Then you remember when he goes to Harvey Dent's press-conference to turn himself in The Dark Knight or when he was knocked unconscious in his burning mansion with debris falling all around him in Batman Begins and you had the same doubts.
In every case, Batman overcomes the adversity and, as you had originally expected, saves Gotham.
Now, I'm not guaranteeing that the Celtics will "save the day" by winning an NBA championship, but I am guaranteeing that they will, metaphorically speaking, fix their broken back, improve, return better than ever and make a run to a title.
To further the reference, there were two possible ends to Batman's journey: either he came back to Gotham and blew up with the bomb over the Atlantic Ocean, or he saved Gotham, and later, Alfred saw him at a cafe in Florence with his wife.
Now, despite the doomsday reports on the Celtics, there are two possible conclusions to possibly their final legitimate run together (just as TDKR was possibly the final Batman movie). They will either turn their season around and fall just short of an NBA title (see: last season), like the first possible ending to Batman, or they will turn their season around and win an NBA championship, like the second possible ending to TDKR.
In the end, Christopher Nolan decided to end the Batman trilogy happily with Alfred realizing his fantasy: spotting Bruce Wayne with a wife while he is enjoying a drink in Florence.
Unlike many others, at this point, I'm not ruling out the possibility of my fantasy still coming true: being in Boston as the Celtics' championship parade goes by.
I know, this isn't a movie script with a guaranteed happy ending as I make it sound, but I didn't just write this article to arbitrarily compare the Celtics to Batman or provide false hope to fans.
Can the Celtics still contend for a championship?
The fact of the matter is that the Celtics can't be counted out. I don't care if they have a losing record or if they haven't won this entire year.
Overcoming poor records is routine for Doc Rivers and his team. It sounds strange to say it, but the C's honestly save their energy for when they need it most.
When the time is right, they will flip that switch and the real Boston Celtics will come out.
They are the hero this city deserves, but not the one we need right now. Come the second-half of the season and the playoffs when they are the hero we need and deserve?