With the Celtics down 3 games to 1 to the Miami Heat, tonight could be the last game in the Big 3 Era. Only 2 other Celtics teams have come back from 3-1 down in a series, 1968 and 1981, both against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 2011 Celtics are more than capable of coming back in this series, but age and health are major factors.
Before I get into why this might be the last game in the Big 3 Era, I’d like to go over Game 5 and the rest of the series.
Tonight, the Celtics go into a situation that they haven’t faced before. Experience is in their favor, but do they have the legs to keep up with Miami? After a heart-breaking loss on Monday, I don’t know how much is left in the tank. All Celtics fans need to hope for is the day in between is enough rest for the team.
If the Celtics can somehow steal tonight’s game, then maybe, just maybe there is still hope. The Celtics would be going back home with a chance to tie the series and send it back to Miami for a Game 7. In a 7th game, anything is possible. But before we can even dream of such a miracle, the Celtics need to win tonight.
If the worst should happen, and the Celtics lose tonight, a lot of changes could be coming our way. There have been rumors that Doc Rivers might retire at the end of this season. If Doc leaves, I expect KG to leave or retire as well. In an interview before the season, they had asked KG what he would do if Doc retired. KG’s answer was that he’d retire as well.
With the head coaching job possibly open, who replaces Doc? The Celtics assistant head coach Lawrence Frank, is a finalist for the Rockets head coaching job. If Frank gets the job, there is one coach that I think would be the best replacement; Mike Brown. Brown coached the Cleveland Cavaliers during the LeBron era, and Brown is a good coach. If he doesn’t have to deal with egos like LeBron, then I think Mike Brown would be a great fit.
Back to retirements and free agents. Shaq is playing on one leg, and because of that he’s not playing in Game 5. In my opinion Shaq is done, and I expect him to retire at the end of the season. I also read an article that Jermaine O’Neal might be thinking of retirement at the end of the season as well. With multiple roster spots open due to players retiring, who will replace them? As the offseason goes on, I’ll write articles on what the Celtics do during the draft and free agency.
They also have many free agents this year. Glen Davis, Delonte West, Von Wafer, Nenad Krstic, Sasha Pavlovic, Carlos Arroyo, and Troy Murphy all are unrestricted free agents at the end of the year. Jeff Green is a restricted free agent, and Ray Allen and Shaq are player options. After all is said and done, after retirements and free agency, the Celtics could possibly only have 4 players under contract after 2012. With that being said, the Celtics are going to have plenty of money to sign a superstar or multiple role players.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, because this offseason is going to be long with a possible lockout. But if the Celtics can use their money right, they could make a run at Dwight Howard in 2012. The chance of that happening is a long shot, and that is over a year away.
So, like every other Celtics fan, I am going to enjoy this game because it could be the last with this core of guys. It may also be the last game for a year with the chance of a lockout. This run has been great and too bad we can’t turn back the clock, but here we are. Hopefully there is one last miracle in this team, one last game winning 3 by Ray Allen, one more time KG pounds his chest, one more time Paul Pierce comes up big in the clutch, and maybe if there is a Game 6, one last chant of “Let’s Go Celtics!”
This is and was a special team, and we may never get the same feeling again. But maybe someday, in the near or distant future, we find another core of true Celtics that sacrifice everything they have for the team, and have a will to win and win championships.
On the night of a possible elimination, I say one more time. Let’s go Celtics and beat the Heat!