It’s my fault. I knew this would happen.
This past Monday I sat on the couch and reveled in the Celtic’s complete dismantling of the Magic. Their 3-0 lead partnered with the Lakers dominant looking 2-0 over the Suns meant, in my mind, that a Lakers vs. Celtics finals was imminent. Images of Bird and Magic battling and Kurt Rambis being clothes-lined were running through my head.
Sunday night the Los Angeles crowd had thrown down the gauntlet. Chants of “We want Boston” issued the challenge. The Garden responded eagerly, as it always does. “Beat L.A.” was the response. The greatest rivalry in NBA basketball was about to be renewed.
I was in all out “Beat L.A.” mode. This is where I stumbled.
I have always jokingly (sort of) preached against jinxing your team. If your team won a playoff game with everyone in certain seats then they better be in those seats come game 2 of the series. Up 1 in the 9th with 2 outs is not the time to adjust your cap. Why mess with success?
Do these things actually affect anything? Maybe not. But are you willing to risk it? Are you willing to have the weight of a playoff collapse placed on your desire to wash your shirt? I didn’t think so.
Despite my history as the Jinx-Police – I dropped my guard. In my exuberance for the impending clash I wanted to do my part. I entered “Beat LA t-shirts” into Google, and found the simple, yet classic shirt that took over Beantown for the mid-80’s. Eighteen bucks – a steal. My decision was made.
As my cursor hovered over the “Complete Purchase” button a fleeting moment of wisdom washed over me. Did we not just witness the Boston Bruins blow a 3-0 series lead. Would it kill me to wait two days for them to close out the series and THEN order the shirt? I ran it by the family and they just chuckled – assuming I would never make such an egregious error. My mind then drifted to the way the Celtics were making Orlando look like a high school squad and my enlightenment left me. I ordered the shirt.
Then game 4 happened. With a little help from a dull C’s effort and Paul Pierce conducting the worst final possession since Naismith hung a peach basket on a wall – the Magic won the game in OT (on the Garden parquet, no less) in eerily similar fashion to Game 4 of the Flyers/Bruins series. I was troubled. Yet we had beat them twice on the road already. Surely we would close them out in game 5.
The Green got outplayed, and outhustled in every facet of game 5. I watched in dismay as the energetic Magic ran circles around our AARP stars. I cringed as Perkins collected his seventh, playoff technical foul and was ejected (a terrible call – justly earned by Perkins consistently winsome personality and gracious spirit). A handful of Celtic concussions later and the whole team – not just Big Baby – was looking like they had spent one too many rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson. 113-92 and it wasn’t that close.
What about L.A.? The Lakers dropped their next two in ugly fashion. The Lakers and C’s were 0-4 since I had purchased “the shirt”. I now began envisioning my shirt arriving in the mail, as nothing more than a depressing reminder of a second playoff collapse in a month.
So, there it is. If you had told me at the beginning of the series that we would be up 3-2 with a chance to close it out at the Garden, I would have been thrilled. There is still no reason we shouldn’t punch a ticket to the Finals tonight. Yet, just a few hours before the game I am in panic mode and it’s all my fault.
If things go horribly awry tonight – I’m sorry Boston. I’m sorry.