Last night, the Celtics exited the playoffs. Depleted by injuries, aging, and bizarre trades, Boston played like a team with nothing to look forward to. They could get leads but could not hold them. It is difficult to imagine them being a true title contender next year. Now the push to build around Rondo will begin, but the defensive enforcer he needs is Memphis bound, hoping to move to the conference finals. Danny Ainge may have defended that trade, but he will likely live to regret it.
The deep, soul-crushing depression you feel is knowledge that Miami has advanced. The statute of limitations on being mad about the Decision has lapsed. But, there is plenty of mileage left on how painful it feels to watch the Heat play. Four teams still in the hunt practice a fluid and entertaining style of basketball: Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Memphis. They pass, move without the ball, and call plays. Two teams do none of these things: Atlanta and Miami. Fortunately, Chicago has a chance to prevent an Hawks vs. Heat conference final tonight. Here's hoping they do.
Let's not begrudge Miami for wanting to win. Yes, the template they have set up is destructive. Only a few markets can afford to go on the type of shopping spree they did. The NHL is in better financial shape, which should tell you something! (Very few people watch hockey!) The collective bargaining mess will take a lot to get worked out, the two sides are still far apart. But let's put all that aside. Even if the Heat are leading everyone to destruction, can they at least learn to play together? Please?