Celtics show no heart in Game 2 blowout

By Matt Verderame

The Boston Celtics worked all year to be the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. They achieved that goal and then won their first two playoff series, beating the Chicago Bulls in six games before dispatching the Washington Wizards in a full seven.

Going into their conference final matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, nobody believed the Celtics would win the series. However, with home-court advantage, Boston was hoping to at least get a game, perhaps two, and make something of the affair before going into that good night.

Instead, it has been a total massacre. After being blown out of Game 1 at TD Garden on Wednesday night, the Celtics figured to come back strong. Conversely, Boston fell behind by 41 points at halftime, the largest spread in NBA history at the break of a playoff game. The Celtics then proceeded to show absolutely no heart the rest of the way, losing 130-86, meaning they actually lost the second half by three points as well.

Additionally, Isaiah Thomas strained his hip and missed the second half of the contest, and now his status is in doubt for Game 3 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. In other words, while the series is already over, it could really be over before the planes even touch down in the Midwest.

There is no shame in losing this series to the Cavaliers. LeBron James is the best player in the world, and the best basketball player we have seen on this planet since the heyday of Michael Jordan. James is going to reach the Finals for the seventh consecutive time and eighth overall, showcasing an incredible ability to dominate the Eastern Conference for the better part of a decade.

However, losing in this fashion should be completely unacceptable, especially in a town that knows little but winning over the past 15 years.

Boston is being blown out of its own building, both because Cleveland is a great team, and because the will to fight seems to have evaporated from the home team. The Celtics don’t have the firepower to compete with the Cavaliers, even when Thomas and Al Horford are firing on all cylinders. Still, this is a team that won more games during the regular season than the Cavaliers. It may not be a true indicator of which team is more of a title contender, but it does say that Boston is a damn good team in its own right.

At this rate, the series will be over by Monday night. Once that happens, the Celtics will have months to figure out the best course of action to get their dignity back after being embarrassed repeatedly on national television.