Was last night the most fun regular season win in years?
Recency bias is a hell of a drug. Everything that just happened is the "best" or "worst" or "most unforgettable" thing that has ever happened. Our mind has a way of tricking us into thinking things that happened more recently are somehow superior to things that happened further in the past. It's just the way our brains work.
Despite knowing that, I can't help but put last night's win right towards the top of the "Most fun regular season wins in recent history" list. An under manned Celtics team going into Miami and beating LeBron and the Heat on one of the most ridiculous finishes you will ever see. Down four with less than four seconds to go..and they win. Jeff Green with one of the better buzzer beaters you will ever see. The look on LBJ/Wade/Spoelstra's faces as they left the court. Winning is always more fun when you don't expect it (see: Patriots, 2001; Red Sox after trailing the Yankees 0-3; Celtics down 24 against the Lakers in the 2008 Finals; ect), and last night was about as unexpected as it could be.
I was out at the bar during the game, but after Green's shot I hopped on twitter and also checked the CelticsLife e-mail chain for reaction. Obviously, some folks were thrilled. But I saw more "Damn it more ping pong balls lost" type reaction than I ever could have imagined coming from both the twittersphere and from the e-mail chain. People were legitimately upset about the win in some cases, and I don't really get it.
Keep in mind, my prediction for this team is 21-61. I don't think they're good. I also fully, 100% believe that winning 20-25 games is a better option than winning 30-35 games because of the immense talent at the top of the 2014 draft. The improved chances of getting one of the Wiggins/Randle/Parker trio is worth the losses.
With that said, wins like last night are worth it. The impact a win like that can make on a group of young players is well worth the tiny difference one loss makes in the season ending standings. What are the odds that the Celtics fall one loss shy of the draft slot that lands one of the holy triumvirate? 1%? 3%? I'm not sure..but what I am sure of is that last night was the type of moment many of us didn't think we'd get all season. Winning in Miami without Pierce, Garnett or Rondo? No chance. But it happened.
Don't get me wrong, everyone has the right to cheer for whatever they want. But I think it's more than alright to put aside the tank mentality for one night. In some ways last night reminded me of this game back in 2007. The Celtics going in to San Antonio and beating the eventual champs on their home floor with a rookie point guard named Rondo and a bench consisting of Michael Olowokandi and Allan Ray. But that team had Pierce dropping 30, this one was without their star and yet still found a way to win. Did that win leave any kind of impact on guys like Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe - all of whom played crucial roles on a championship team the next season? I have no idea. But learning how to beat good teams on the road is the hardest thing to do in the NBA, and guys like Olynyk, Pressey and Sullinger got a taste of it in Miami.
At the end of the day, we have no control over what this team does on the court. They may go 18-64, or they may go 40-42. So when something so spontaneously awesome happens - enjoy it. We may not get another moment like that all season. If Boston finishes one loss shy of Wiggins/Randle/Parker, then we'll look back at several wins and be upset. But not this one. Seeing this team beat the champs and give Brad Stevens his first signature win will always be a fun memory. And that's what sports are about. The whole reason some of us want losses is to get to the point where these types of things are happening on a regular basis. Last night we got an unexpected gift. It would be a shame not to appreciate it.