The playoffs don’t officially start until your team loses a game, so they just started pretty quickly for the Boston Celtics. It stings more being 0.5 seconds away from a 3-0 series, which means 99.9% of the time it’s over. But the Toronto Raptors think they have a shot now, and confidence can go a long way in basketball.
The Boston Red Sox were up 2-0 in the World Series vs the Los Angeles Dodgers 2 years ago, and were up 2-1 in extras with a runner on second and 2 out. A grounder gets hit to Ian Kinsler at second base, you figure game over. Except Kinsler trips, botched the throw, the runs comes around to score, and the Dodgers tie the game. They eventually win in the 18th inning, and everyone was convinced that it was the start of a furious rally by the Dodgers. But it wasn’t, because the Red Sox were the better team. They ended up winning the next two games.
The parallel between these two games and these two sets of teams seems very indicative to me. We’ve seen the Celtics prove they are the better team in this series. We saw the Red Sox do the same thing, and had luck not fallen the Dodgers way, they would have been sent packing a day earlier. Think about how much luck was involved in the last play tonight. Kyle Lowry’s inbound gets over Tacko Fall (a 17 inch difference in height), it doesn’t get tipped or stolen, and ends up in OG Anunoby’s hands, he gets the shot off before the buzzer sounds, Jaylen Brown is a couple inches off of blocking it, and it goes in. It took everything going right in that small window for the Raptors to win one game in a series that requires you to win four. We saw something similar happen with the Red Sox. We’ve seen who the better team is, aside from one lucky buzzer beater. Championship teams are designed to overcome adversity. If the Celtics are a championship team they will overcome this, because they know they are the better team in this series.
(Originally posted on September 3, 2020)