Celtics’ Game 6 Win means more for both teams

Posted: June 7, 2012 in Arts
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Here’s the obvious: The Boston Celtics winning the Eastern Conference Finals would be damaging to the Miami Heat.

Here’s the reality: The Celtics winning the series in Game 6 tonight is far more meaningful.

To the C’s, there’s one clear benefit to putting things away Friday night, and that’s not having to return to Miami. Period. At this point, the Big 3 of Boston already have quite a few miles on those knees; a couple more isn’t going to make any difference. No one’s going to remember 10 years from now how many games it took, just that these guys finished the job.

Well, except for Miami fans. And, likely, all the Heat haters, and there’s plenty of them. No doubt, losing the final game of the series in Miami would hurt, bad. No team wants to do that. But this Chris Bosh injury is an X-factor. And a big factor on the court.

Without Bosh, Miami’s frontcourt cupboard is emptier than the Jim Leyland Fan Club gathering. This was a team designed to surround the top trio with some young talent (Chalmers, Cole) with discounted veterans like Shane Battier. Losing LeBron James or Dwayne Wade for a large portion of a series hurts, but based on this team’s make-up, Bosh is arguably just as critical. As James told reporters, without Bosh on the floor, Kevin Garnett is able to essentially play center field and ignore the pick-and-roll partner the in lieu of Bosh. He’ll provide another body in terms of energy and stamina, and while no one’s going to mistake him for one of the league’s best rebounders, he provides that, too.

There’s a good chance things would’ve turned out differently had Bosh been around the whole series (Avery Bradley would’ve also made a difference), but the excuse is already built-in for the Heat, though they won’t view things that way. So here’s Boston’s chance to deal another blow to their egos. If the Thunder turn away the Heat, no matter the amount of games, they dropped an anvil on the Spurs and have emerged as a legitimate power now, rather than later. Few will view that as a sizable disappointment.

Losing in Game 7 means the Heat split the pair of games that Bosh played full minutes in. Splitting the mini-series, in essence. A win tonight, in that sense, puts that notion to pasture. To fall to a team many felt, as unjustly as it might’ve been, were too old and whose window had closed for NBA Title hopes, means something different than to fall to OKC. It’s the difference between losing by a car length to Matt Kenseth and getting lapped by a Viagra-popping Mark Martin.

It’s about the guarantee Bosh, James and Wade made to collect a handful of rings when they came to Miami. The pressure on them, and obviously James, is very real, and mounts ten-fold with a loss now rather than later. It’ll make a summer in South Beach for James and Co. as cold as can possibly be.

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