The Celtics beat the Pistons tonight, 88-79, in a game that almost made you forget all the bullshit of the last couple weeks and come scurrying back to the fold of championship dreams. All of a sudden it's disturbingly easy to feel good about this team again: such is the way of the 2008 Celtics' postseason, apparently. If this wasn't a dominating performance it was certainly both an assured and assuring one. The Celtics barely ever trailed and worked with backbreaking efficiency: Garnett had 26 and 9, Pierce had 22 and Rondo even pitched in 5 steals for good measure. Ray Allen we won't talk about. Once again, the Celtics seemed to have all the answers at home, and this win was particularly impressive considering that the Pistons had enjoyed a week off and the C's had just endured their most draining win of the playoffs. I almost don't want to say anything more, because I'm afraid I'll jinx it, but if you were looking for some sort of sign or, more likely, just something to feel good about, tonight probably fit the bill. Towards the end of the game ESPN flashed up some statistic to the effect of the team that wins Game 1 of the Conference Finals has gone on to win 79% of the series(es?)... I don't have the wherewithal to look it up and confirm it right now, but it works for me.
The other big NBA news tonight is that, in a rather stunning turn of events, the Chicago Bulls have won the NBA Draft Lottery. For those keeping score, the Bulls had a 1.7% chance of winning this thing. It's hard to avoid imagining Mike D'Antoni at home right now, repeatedly banging his head on the sink, trying desperately to come up with something resembling a flux capacitor. Enjoy that sixth pick, Knicks. Hey, that has a bit of a ring to it. Who knows whether the Bulls will take Beasley or Rose (the estimable Chad Ford says Beasley), but one thing that's for sure is that a team that many already thought would compete for the Eastern Conference title this year just got a whole lot more interesting next year. I dunno, I gotta think they'll go with Beasley, just because they're one of the few teams in the lotto that actually already have a legit point guard. And this clearly works out well for the Heat, who almost certainly would have drafted Rose if they'd won the whole thing. You gotta feel for the Wolves, too, who have to deserve something one of these days, right? What? Eh, maybe they don't.
Anyways, a convincing win tonight on a number of levels. I'm almost ready to start forgiving and forgetting, but only if they show me they can really change. And starting hitting your fucking jump-shots, #20. PLEASE.