What a shame.
Brooklyn officially waylaid the Jaylen Brown-less C’s on Tuesday, ending a gentlemen’s sweep on their home court despite a defined lack of gentlemanly behavior from the losing city.
Before the season, you could make a nonsensical argument for Brad Stevens’ tactical skills being able to at least slow down Brooklyn’s Big 3, which didn’t get a chance to build chemistry throughout the season. Much like a Boston frat boy at the TD Garden, these arguments didn’t hold water.
This series began with a whimper and ended with a series of Mike Breen “Bangs!” for James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets, who will now advance to face the Milwaukee Bucks.
The fact that Boston wasn’t a challenge whatsoever is the sweetest part of this entire endeavor. Turns out if you spend seven years taunting a franchise about how they have no future, you can end up as chewed-up chum in that very same future before you know it.
The Brooklyn Nets embarrassing the Boston Celtics has to frustrate fans who taunted BK over the Pierce/Garnett trade.
There’s no rewriting history. The Pierce/Garnett trade was a catastrophic failure for Brooklyn, involving mortgaging a half-decade’s worth of picks on the oft chance that Ubuntu had an EZ Pass.
But eight seasons into the dawning of a new era for the Celtics, who’ve objectively been better until now, and neither team has any sort of long-lasting hardware — and only one still has any chance of obtaining a trophy this summer.
Boston has three empty Conference Finals trips, wiped out twice by LeBron James and once by the Bubble Heat, a preposterously unlucky elimination but an elimination nonetheless. Was seven seasons of “almost” worth living through just to watch Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant decide to team up and steal your thunder? Was seven years spent selecting role players and trying to build an army of floppers and scrappy defenders around Brown and Jayson Tatum triumphant, or did it all feel somewhat moot on Tuesday night, watching New York City’s team on the rise?
Irving, who said he’d return to Boston as a free agent “if you’d have” him, decided you wouldn’t have him and that he’d rather be part of a faster-moving train instead. Durant, who supposedly was heavily considering joining the Celtics in free agency and was wined-and-dined on the water by Tom Brady, chose Golden State instead. Perhaps he wasn’t so interested in replicating Brady’s hero’s journey?
Even Brady got bored of that, after all.
On Tuesday night, after eight long seasons of taunting, the depleted Celtics waddled into Brooklyn as the first-round washout placed in the path of the presumptive title favorites. Boston had seven postseasons to laugh at Pierce and KG sweating and rumbling up the court. They had seven summers to snicker dismissively at D’Angelo Russell and Theo Pinson, at Gerald Wallace and the hole where Damian Lillard should’ve been. They had free agency cycle after free agency cycle for Danny Ainge to cash in his assets for the missing piece, only to repeatedly watch said pieces stay put or choose to play on the sunnier coast.
Anthony Davis (through his dad) said he’d never consider Boston. Irving had a taste and ducked out. Durant didn’t even make it back to the mainland. And now, those seven years of “Gotcha!” have officially ended.
Game, set, match: Big 3. Sorry, Boston. We actually managed to complete our trio. Better luck next decade.