It was Sunday, April 29 that the media restarted their "too old, too slow" routine about the Celtics. Boston lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round by a score of 83-74, and everyone was ready to count out Boston yet again. The C's have come to expect these comments ever since their deep playoff run in 2010. That year, the Celtics played the Cavs in the Semis. Not many predicted the Celtics to win that series, yet the Celtics stepped up and beat Cleveland in six games. It wasn't until Boston won the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals on the road that people started to pay attention to them. The insults sprung up again last year when Miami ousted the C's in five games in the second round. "Too slow, too much mileage, not enough left in the tank."
Naturally, not many saw the Celtics advancing even past Atlanta, down 0-1, and losing Rajon Rondo for Game 2 after bumping a referee. Well, the Celtics stepped up and won the next three games, going up 3-1. The Hawks forced a game six in Boston where the Celtics held on to finish them off and advance to the Semis.
The Celtics caught a break with the injury to Derrick Rose, resulting in the Bulls falling to the eighth-seeded 76ers. Philadelphia was no cakewalk for Boston. Philly forced seven games, but the Celtics' experience was too much for the 76ers. Boston won Game 7 by a score of 85-75.
So now here we are in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat waiting for Boston for the second straight season. Like always, not many people have given the Celtics a chance. They all looked like geniuses after the Heat ran away with Game 1. The Celtics came back with a stellar performance in the first half of Game 2, going up by as many as 15. The Heat stormed back in the second half to force overtime, where a controversial no-call where Dwayne Wade slapped Rajon Rondo in the face helped the Heat take down the Celtics, 115-111.
Game 3. A definite must-win for the Boston Celtics. Going down 0-3 and having to win 4 in a row, and 2 in Miami would be an impossible task for Boston. Being the champions that they are, the Celtics came up with the performance they needed. The C's were up by more than 20 in the fourth quarter, and, after a furious comeback attempt by Miami, won 101-91.
The series was now 2-1, a pivotal Game 4 coming up. The Celtics could tie up the series going back to Miami, or the Heat could take a convincing 3-1 lead, almost guaranteeing a series win. Once again, Boston came up with a great performance, once again going up by double-figures in the second half. This time, the Heat came all the way back, taking a lead with just a few minutes left in regulation. But the Celtics stayed the course coming back and taking a three-point lead with under a minute left. A wide open LeBron James nailed a game-tying three.
LeBron missed a game-winning shot in Game 2, causing the game to go into overtime. A similar situation presented itself in Game 4. Shot clock turned off, game tied, the Heat have the ball. After the Celtics stingy defense forced James to pass it up to Udonis Haslem, there was really no doubt: Overtime again. Haslem air-balled the potential game-winning jumper, and Game 4 went to OT. Both Paul Pierce and LeBron James fouled out down the stretch. The Celtics were up by one and the Heat had yet another chance to win it as time expired. The Celtics played terrific defense for all but one second in the possession. That one second allowed Dwyane Wade to shoot a WIDE open three. The shot bounced off the rim and the Celtics had snuck out with a victory.
The series is now tied at 2, and its anyone's series. If the Celtics can steal Game 5 in Miami, they'll be in perfect position to oust the Heat in six games. So the media will continue their jabs at the Celtics, and Boston will continue to prove them wrong. I don't think they mind it.