Last night we got a treat. We got dessert before breakfast. We had our cake, ate it too, and then continued to eat and have that cake for 48 glorious minutes.
I’m talking about last night’s Warriors v. Celtics heavyweight showdown.
Through all the mayhem and the madness that ended in a narrow Celitcs W for their 14th straight (largely on the backs of the refs) there were four things specifically that grabbed me and held me on my couch like a sack of Naismiths.
ONE: This game highlighted exactly why the Celtics are currently, and historically, one of the best run franchises in sport. Shortly before the game one of the Celtic’s young stars, Jaylen Brown, found out that his closest friend from childhood had passed away. Jaylen ended up playing in the game and setting the tone for a hard-nosed Celtics defense that had the Warriors shook. Beyond Jaylen’s amazing performance through tragedy, the Celtics shone as a true team. Coach Brad Stevens told Jaylen that he didn’t expect him to play and said Jaylen should do what was best for him. He didn’t try and subtly get him to play before this marquee match-up. After the game, Kyrie Irving immediately went to Brown and gave him the game ball in honor of the lost friend. Everybody came together around Brown and kept the important things in mind, it was great to see.
TWO: The refs in this game were tragic. Early in the game, Brown hacked a Warrior’s arm on a layup and it was a clean block. Throughout the game the Celtics hammered the Warriors going one way and went to the line on touch fouls on the other end. Some of the calls late in the game gave the Celtics the free-throws they needed to salt away the game, and unfortunately made me feel like we didn’t get to see how the game should have played out. Don’t get me wrong, 90% of the hard-nosed defense was solid, by the book, shut-down defense, but 10% was home cooking. I’m just hoping the Celtics don’t become the next “gritty” team who are unofficially allowed to foul because they’re just playing so hard (think Tony Allen Grizzlies).
THREE: The Warriors played shitty and STILL almost broke up the Celtics’ winning streak. They were playing the Cs, the refs, and all of Boston, brought their C- game, and STILL almost won. Klay and Curry missed shots they would normally hit, Durant didn’t shoot as much as he should have, and the whole team wasn’t getting up and down like normal. They lost, sure, but just look at the game. The Warriors have a lot more in the tank, and if Klay or Steph hits 2 more of the shots they normally hit in their sleep, this is a whole different game. I’m not betting Cs after this one.
FOUR: Lastly, and most importantly, the prop bets. Specifically, the over/unders on Kyrie Irving. The line on Irving’s free-throws was at 3.5 with the line on his assists + rebounds at 10.5. For most of the game, the under on both looked real good. Bettors across the land threw their remotes when Kyrie missed the tech he was picked to shoot. But, lo’ and behold, Kyrie drew fouls in crunch time and quickly was 7/8 from the line, easily covering and some. Where the drama came in was that boards and dimes line. Kyrie was sitting pretty at 10 total with a minute left, and little hope of him giving up the rock or crashing the boards. The Warriors come down the court on the last posession, Steph shoots, offensive rebound, Klay shoots, shot skipps of the right side of the iron INTO KYRIE’S HANDS, horn sounds, he covers at the buzzer. Wow, just wow. RIP anyone who bet big on the under.
Long live the NBA.