The Philadelphia 76ers were defined by their resiliency in the playoffs. Yet Sixers fans like myself sadly learned that this wasn't enough to beat the likes of the Boston Celtics. However, the Celtics themselves haven't had enough to beat the Miami Heat yet in the Eastern Conference Finals. But if that is going to change while Boston has a chance to contend in this series, then it has to show it's own resiliency in Game 3 on June 1.
The Celtics have every excuse to lay down and die in Game 3 and officially lose all hope. They threw everything they had at the Heat in Game 2 on May 30 and still lost, so they have to wonder if there's anything that they can do to win. In addition, they are convinced that the referees are out to get them after all the calls against them in Miami, and there's also the little matter of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade still being red hot.
With all that working against them along with a 2-0 deficit in general, it would be simple to concede and only work towards not getting swept. However, the Celtics are supposed to be built better than that, with their championship pedigree and the likelihood that this is their last run in the Big Three era. If they want the end to come with dignity, they will prove themselves one last time, rally from the gravest adversity, take Game 3 at home and make this a series again.
Everyone is still going to count Boston out even if it takes Game 3, given its long odds and how its best effort may have already come in Game 2. Yet if the Celtics can actually recover from the kind of loss they had in Game 2, then they have to feel a little better about their chances. Taking Game 3 would give them a chance to even the series in Game 4 on June 3, then possibly go back to Miami all even - and Boston already knows it can threaten the Heat in Miami.
The Celtics have never really needed to rally from big postseason deficits before in this era, so maybe they are ill-equipped to do it now. But having it all end with a sweep to the Heat, and with the last two losses coming at home, would be an ugly asterisk at the end of the Big Three era.
If Celtic Pride means anything, then Boston will not let that happen and will show a real pulse at least one last time before this series is over. Maybe if it shows enough of it, the series might not end as quickly as everyone now anticipates after all.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and 76ers fan - who has become quite familiar with the Celtics in that time.
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