Some remember the past playoffs more than others. The Celtics fell two wins away from their first Finals since 2010, and after a loss in the Eastern Conference finals to the Heat, tempers flared. The initial 2-0 had become 3-1 and the tie was very difficult up. The Heat, masterfully trained by Erik Spoelstra, had taken advantage of the absence of a field advantage in the Florida bubble to start two games from the greens that could have been another story (one cannot live with the conditions, be careful), in the Garden and before a hobby, that of the city of Boston, who understands basketball. But the eastern finals, that ceiling that the Brad Stevens project (now we will talk about it) has not managed to overcome, they were very complicated. After one of the defeats, Marcus Smart, that man almost irrationally idolized by the Celtics fans and the locker room leader, charged a Gorgon Hayward who had left his newborn son and his wife to go to Orlando, limping ankle and on the mend.
It was the beginning of the end. Hayward, Stevens’ right eye, cut short his arrival at the Celtics on the day of his debut, in 2017, with an injury that shook the entire sports world. Smart’s screams hurt the tempered character of the forward, who exploded until the anger was made public, which was leaked to the press. The Celtics won the next game, but lost the tie. Today, April 7, 2021Hayward is on the Hornets, who are fifth in the East with a 25-24 record. And the Celtics, who are facing their greatest crisis since Brad Stevens came to the bench, are adrift, eighths (25-26), in a structural and sports crisis from which no one is saved, with increasingly criticism public to a coach who seemed untouchable and without anyone seeing a single opportunity to solve an increasingly clear disaster. Against the Sixers, that rival that they have dominated in the very recent past with an iron fist and who started his particular project almost at the same time as the Greens, they have fallen relentlessly, aggravating the situation. And only the weak level of their most immediate pursuers (Pacers, Bulls, Raptors …) seems to be going to save them. Although avoiding play-in seems like a dream right now.