The Wall Street Journal’s always-readable sports columnist Jason Gay submitted this on Thursday:
Enough with the psychobabble about the Miami Heat. Please.
Right now I don’t care if LeBron and Dwyane Wade are cosmically doomed, fourth quarter finishers, deprived of the clutch gene, or quitting to become pastry chefs.
This is not about the Heat. Can it not be about them, just this once?
Because here are the Boston Celtics. Behold a strange fact you may not have believed one week ago: The Heat are not the better team in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics are. At least they have been through the first five games of this series, which pushes into Boston Thursday with Miami down 3-2 and on the verge of elimination.
Gay proceeds to call the roll of the Celtics’ old and crotchety players:
Here is Kevin Garnett. He is 29,000 (or 36) years old. He doesn’t like to be reminded of this. It makes him tetchy, growly. When people get old, they either get sweet old or nasty old. Garnett is nasty old. He is unimpressed by youth, its nonchalance, its lack of seriousness.
Garnett has no interest in youth’s frivolity. You hit a Wiffle ball into his backyard, and he feeds it to the dog.
This makes Garnett a little frightening, and very, very good.
What follows are similar profiles of Paul Pierce (“[He] breezes around the final two minutes of a close game like he’s trying to find the sesame honey almonds at Trader Joe’s. This is fun for him. He loves it”), Ray Allen (“[If] you’re Erik Spoelstra, do you want to see Allen shooting that three-pointer in the corner of a tie game? Yeah, of course not”), and Rajon Rondo (“By now you know about The Rondo. He is the everything—the delicious hot mess, the most inexplicable and unstoppable force in this series”).
And the column’s climactic conclusion:
Miami is still in this. They have two of the most dazzling players in the game, capable of massive offensive outbursts. Ask Indiana if Wade and James can claw Miami back into a series. But on their shoulders is the possibility of another nauseating off-season of second-guesses and recriminations. A failure versus the Celtics will make the 2011 fallout after Dallas feel polite.
On Thursday they face a bunch of crabby dudes from Boston who could not care less.
The better team is winning. That’s how this stuff is supposed to work.
How it actually did work is that, inconveniently, the Heat torched the crabby dudes Thursday night.
The hardwatching staff looks forward to Gay’s column on Monday.