It's funny, because I'm from New England, people automatically assume that I am a fan of all the Boston teams. To wit, last night as the Celtics were imploding in Orlando, my iPhone was blowing up with text messages asking if I was starting to get worried about the series. Honestly, I was at Vintage last night enjoying myself at the Blondes vs Brunettes charity football game post-game party, and making occasional glances at the television screen because (a) blondes and brunettes are more fun to look at than Rasheed Wallace and (b) this is what DVRs are for.
But above all else, I had to text people back and remind them, I'm not really a Celtics fan. I'm not anti-Celtics, I like Ray Allen (had him on the show last year, one of the best interviews ever), but if the Celtics go on to lose this series I won't be losing any sleep. In some sense, I'm rooting for something historical to happen, which I guess means I'm passively rooting for the Magic.
(The funny thing is, I actually grew up a Sixers' fan. My mom was from Philadelphia, and my dad is from New England, which from a sports fan's perspective makes me a miracle baby of sorts, like the love child of an Al-Qaeda soldier and one of the Bush twins. So growing up, I gave my dad the satisfaction of having a son who rooted for the Red Sox and my mom a son who rooted for the Sixers. Football, I just rooted for whoever covered the spread. So we're all clear on that? Good.)
And now that chance at something historical looks very real -- a lot more real than it did just four days ago. The parallels between the Yankees choke of 2004 against the Red Sox and the budding seeds of a Celtics choke against Orlando are striking, in particular the Game 3 blowout/Game 4 extra time sequence in both series.
Now, the biggest storyline revolves around "What will happen with Kendrick Perkins?" The Celtics big man got two technical fouls last night and the requisite ejection, but more importantly he now has seven in the post season, which means he could be suspended for Game 6 unless the league rescinds one of the technicals. And it was a VERY dubious second technical -- your classic, thin-skinned NBA referee "showing everyone who's boss" kind of technical. Let's assume that the suspension happens -- what does this mean for Game 6? In short, the Celtics lose their best post defender, we see lots more of Rasheed Wallace, and there's a good chance that Dwight Howard goes hog wild.
Make no mistake, Game 6 is the deciding game in this series. If it goes back to Orlando for a Game 7, the Celtics are more dead than SOAPnet. (And before you ask, YES I'm now scrambling to figure out where I'm going to get old school 90210 reruns. Dreadful.)
So while I'm not a Celtics fan, I am a compassionate soul. I want to make Doc Rivers feel better. He didn't think either technical foul on Perkins was justified; he may be right. But at least he didn't get screwed on calls like this....
1. COLORADO FIFTH DOWN, 1990
See Doc, these referees gave Colorado a fifth down to help them win a game that eventually led to their winning a national championship. Pretty terrible. Way worse than a phantom tech on Perkins.
2. MARADONA "HAND OF GOD"
I know it's soccer, Doc. And it probably doesn't hit your radar, but understand that the rest of the world treats soccer like the NBA Finals times a thousand. The one thing you can't do in soccer is use your hands; on this goal, the greatest player in the world at the time, Diego Maradona of Argentina, used his hand to score a goal. This would be like Larry Bird dribbling an entire game using two hands or Michael Jordan taking six steps on every drive to the hole (wait, scratch that last one...that actually did happen). You get my drift. Perkins tech, not even close to this...
3. SOVIET UNION "BEATS" THE UNITED STATES IN 1972 OLYMPICS
Here's an actual basketball travesty. You probably remember this one as a kid. The Olympic officials put time back on the clock, not once but twice, to allow the Soviets to defeat the U.S. men's team for the first time in the history of mankind. I mean, this made you wonder if Vince McMahon was in charge of the Olympic committee.
Speaking of which....
4. EVIL TWIN HEBNER COSTS HULK HOGAN THE WWF TITLE
I mean, at least we know it was the real Joey Crawford and Ed Rush screwing you over, right? Right?
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5. PHIL LUCKETT CAN'T GET COIN TOSS RIGHT
Doc, at least your referees don't screw up things that aren't even heat of the moment-type stuff. At least your refs can...well..HEAR. (You might argue they hear a little too well.) Check out Phil Luckett; I've interviewed Jerome Bettis before. He speaks very clearly and articulately. I know that discerning "Heads" from "Tails" with his saying it shouldn't be a problem. (I mean, he's not Emmitt Smith, for God's sakes.)
That's right, Doc. The Luckett coin toss fiasco is so deplorable, it's been swept from Youtube and the league won't let me embed the file.
Feel better, Doc. It's not that bad. No need to sweat.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show", and follow him on Twitter at http://twittter.com/SeanCabinasian.