The Celtics are technically still in the playoffs, but the patient is fading fast and only a flatline away from a predictable end to a disappointing season. And once the Milwaukee Bucks have put them out of their collective misery, the obligatory grieving will begin, and the accusations will follow shortly thereafter. One of the primary targets of this postseason collapse wears No. 11 and when Kyrie Irving said that the Celtics would “flip the switch” once the playoffs commenced, we desperately wanted to believe him after the Celtics swept the ailing Indiana Pacers.
In retrospect, Boston swept a team that lacked its superstar and Indiana was far from a playoff worthy team after Victor Oladipo’s injury. However, if we click on over to Sportsbook Review and look back at what the top online sportsbooks were dealing for point spreads on those games, we would see that the Celtics not only won but covered the number in each and every one of the four contests. So, although none of those games ever felt like they were of the blowout variety, the final score is the only thing that counts when it comes to wins and losses, covering and not covering.
In the second round the rubber finally hit the road and the Beasts of the East, the Milwaukee Bucks, would prove unequivocally whether the C’s were contenders or pretenders. It would also reveal whether Kyrie Irving’s proclamation that the regular season was more of a long series of exhibition games rather than a true test of a team’s abilities and potential was accurate. It was an arrogant statement but if it could be backed up by a championship run in the postseason, fans would call it swagger as opposed to delusional bluster. After a euphoric 112-90 blowout victory in Milwaukee, the Celtics have fallen back to earth and have gotten waxed in three straight games to limp into Game 5, down 3-1 in the series. It would now indeed appear that the initial swagger has been usurped by delusional bluster.
Irving’s performance in this series has been dismal at best. In Game 4 he went just 7-of-22 and is shooting only 36.9 percent from the field in this series, a steep decline from his 48.7 percent mark during the regular season. Getting the long ball to connect has not been easy either as he has made just 6 of 25 three-point shots against the Bucks over the first four games. Irving had this to say about his series shooting and his Game 4 meltdown, “Who cares? I’m a basketball player. Prepare the right way. ... The expectations on me are going to be sky high ... for me, the 22 shots? I should’ve shot 30.”
Thus, here we sit, like lambs to the slaughter, waiting for our eventual demise with no one but the most ardent Celtics’ Pollyanna dreaming of a three-game sweep, landing Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. Kyrie Irving has not been the savior or the gamechanger we imagined in the postseason, and the one he essentially declared he would be once the games “meant something”. The gravestone has been ordered, and the epitaph has been written with all but the date of death yet to be etched. The Celtics were considered paper tigers entering the postseason after a regular season record of 49-33. Imagine, that the top online sportsbooks found over at Sportsbook Review were as optimistic as the Boston fans when they were dealing the Celtics’ total wins on the season at 59 before the season began. The Celtics fell far short of that mark and it appears evident that the regular season has much more to do with the postseason than Kyrie ever imagined.