Are the Celtics for real? It is a question that must be asked.
The Celtics has been phenomenal all year long, gaining the best record in the league and home-court advantage in the playoffs. They were known for their cohesiveness, defense, and of course the "Big Three"; Paul Peirce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.
They looked unstoppable going into the Eastern Conference playoffs. They were the No. 1 seed, facing the lowly Atlanta Hawks, a team that was under .500.
Piece of cake, right?
Well, one day after the Celtics finished Game Three against the Hawks, a team that had won 29 less games than them, we had to wonder about the fortitude of the team we once thought an unstoppable force.
In the regular season, the Celtics looked like the best defensive team in the NBA, on the court and on paper. But in their first-round series with the Hawks, they made Josh Smith look like MJ, and couldn't contain Joe Johnson to save their lives. No offense to Joe, but he isn't exactly the amazing offensive force he was in this series. The Celtics defense looked terrible away from home.
We have to wonder; if they didn't have home-court advantage, would they have won the series?
Ray Allen's usually dependable stroke could only be classified as streaky at best. Kevin Garnett lacked his usual intensity all series long. Paul Peirce was at times inconsistent, but had a very good series. It seemed as if he was the only one who realized that they were not coasting, they were in the playoffs!
All of the issues in this series have left some question marks with the Celtics, as they move on to face Lebron and his Cavaliers. If the Celtics can't stop a middle-of-the-road player in Joe Johnson, how can they expect to stop the best player in the East?