The first round has officially started and the Celtics are looking the best they have all season, going up 3-0 with the hopeful sweep in Chicago today— that is the headline everyone wishes they could see and I wish I was talking about but unfortunately, this round has not agreed. The truth is that the Celtics are down 2-1, thanks to a must-win game three that the C’s did not disappoint in, instead being on the brink of a sweep. They are working so hard to come back to force a game six in Chicago and prove they deserve that one seed. After three games, here are three keys to the Celtics rollercoaster of a round.
What won the C’s game three was their shooting percentages and how they shot. They shot 47.7% vs the Bulls 39.3%, including the C’s 45.9% vs 28.6% from behind the arc. One of the biggest shooting issues came in game two when they would miss easy layups, the Bulls would score and then they would try to make it up with awful three point shots or hard two’s which just made the deficit even worse. Taking the easy shots they need and smart three’s are the key to winning games.
2. Rajon Rondo
Former Celtics little guy, Rajon Rondo, looks like he is playing on the 2008 championship team again. In the first two games, he had 23 points, 17 rebounds, 20 assists, 7 steals and one block. He also was a former player for Brad Stevens so he knows how Stevens coaches and how to stop whatever plays the C’s are brewing up. Fortunately for the C’s, Rondo will be out for the remainder of the season with a broken right thumb. Rondo's value to the Bull's was proven in game three when the Celtics blew them out. Of course it is never good to wish injury on a player, but this blow to the Bulls might give the C’s a chance to win this series.
3. Mood shift
The teams emotions have shifted so much since a week ago, after the tragic passing of Isaiah Thomas’ sister, Chyna. The first two games you could see the emotion on not only Thomas’ face but as well as the rest of the team. You could tell they didn’t wanna be playing basketball but instead, be there for their teammate. The first game was close but it looked like they didn’t even show up for the second game. Personally, I think the time Isaiah took to be with his family and get the closure he needed really helped them regroup as a team in their game three win.
So what caused the two game losses? Maybe the mood shift? Maybe the Garden curse Boston teams are having right now? Maybe they are the weakest one seed? Maybe game three was just adrenaline or pure luck? Maybe it was just the TNT Bulls adding to their streak? Guess we won’t really know until game four later today when the C’s try to get that second W in a row to tie the series and force a game six. Honestly, this whole “weakest one-seed” is far from the truth- the Celtics deserve that seed and hopefully they stay in the playoffs to prove that to everyone.