So let's get it out of the way: the Celtics lost at home tonight, 95-83, to the decidedly shitty Charlotte Bobcats. Some of you might recall a rather tossed-off moment in my last post when I brazenly declared, "honestly, the C's could go out and lose to Charlotte tomorrow and I'd still feel the same way about them." Well, as Malcolm X would say, the chickens have come home to roost, and while I stand by my original sentiment that I feel exactly the same way about this team as I did on Tuesday, I must admit that I felt an initial karmic sting when I wrote those words and now it's a visible bruise.
Anyways, win a few, lose a few, right? In the Celtics' case, we've been winning a whole hell of a lot and losing an almost obscenely few, but come on, there's a few of these every year, even for bona fide great teams. In fact, let the record show that on Sunday, March 24, 1996, the legendary 72-10-to-be Chicago Bulls lost to the expansion Toronto Raptors , who would go on to amass a hearty 21 wins that season. As they say in the NFL, blah blah blah blah blah any given Sunday.
All that said, not a great night for basketball in Da Bean. Both Ray Allen and the increasingly indispensable Big Baby were in street clothes (Allen's suit looked phenomenal, by the way), and the Celtics were never able to get anything going, unlike Jason Richardson, who threw up 34 to go with 9 boards and looked mildly unstoppable for most of the night. Garnett added 24 and 8 and seemed genuinely outraged at losing this game. The late, sometimes-great Norman Mailer once wrote of Muhammad Ali that he "worked apparently on the premise that there was something obscene about being hit," and honestly, that quote comes to mind when watching Garnett this season: losing is nothing short than an affront to this man.
A genuinely meaty B-story to this one was the atrocious officiating, which brought out some vintage Heinsohn, culminating in a voluble call for Ken Mauer's resignation and/or firing towards the end of the fourth. It was classic theater on Tommy's part, and he certainly had a point: the refs seemed intent on handing this one to Charlotte for most of the night, for whatever reason. I could go on all night about the various oversights, but my vote for most-crushing was the blatant hold on Garnett towards the end of the game when Rondo was trying to get him the ball underneath on the break, an unforgivable non-call that resulted in a Boston turnover.
But hey, what's done is done. Lord knows the Celtics have enjoyed too much good fortune this year for me to start paranoiacally bitching about officiating. Friday night, New Jersey Nets, in the Swamp. See you there (metaphorically speaking).