There were likely many, including yours truly, that were highly surprised at the outcome of tonight's NBA playoff game.
Just a couple days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers had gone into Boston and beaten the Celtics unmercifully, to take a 2-0 lead in the series. It was a 44 point rout. A colossal beatdown. Definitely embarrassing for the Beantown faithful.
And the series was headed back to Cleveland. Surely, another pummeling awaited the Celtics -- right?
But a very strange thing happened. Cleveland blinked. And lost, on a last second shot by the Celtics.
It wasn't that the Cavaliers played that badly, but the Celtics rose to the formidable task. Who would have thunk it?
It would have been easy, almost expected, for the Celtics to roll over and get swept by the Cavs. Yet you have to give them credit for hanging in there and coming back after such a crushing defeat. I dare say few saw this coming, especially Cleveland fans. Maybe even those in Boston as well.
So now the series is 2-1 with Game 4 in Cleveland up next. Can the Celtics do it again to tie the series? Unlikely. After finally tasting defeat in the playoffs (the Cavs were 10-0 this year and won the last three over Golden State in 2016 to claim the championship -- 13 in a row total), one could easily expect them to come out and play Game 4 in this series with a vengeance.
But stranger things have happened, and the Celtics are really good too. Let's not forget they ended the regular season with the best record in the eastern conference.
And wouldn't it be something if, after getting demolished at home in the first two games, Boston came back to win the next two -- in Cleveland?
That would get a lot of people scratching their heads. Such a scenario would certainly be a confidence booster for the Celtics. Might it put a little doubt into the minds of the Cavs?
Nah. Let's also remember they were down 3-1 to Golden State in the Finals last year, and two of the next three games would be played in Oakland. That's not to mention the Warriors had set an all-time record for most wins in the regular season. No way were they going to lose three in a row, two at home.
But they did, and that's to Cleveland's credit. A single, narrow loss to the Celtics, even at home, isn't likely to faze them much. Lebron and Co. are definitely the real deal.
Barring a major injury (see the same Lebron - which would change everything), the Cavs are still highly favored to get past the Celts. The Warriors waiting at the end of the rainbow might be an entirely different story, but that's for another time.
But not counting the Cleveland faithful, how many fans wouldn't want to see Boston even this series up, just to throw a little drama into it?
[On that note, even Cleveland ownership probably wouldn't mind. If the series goes to 2-2, that guarantees them another home playoff date -- a major cha-ching. By the same token, winning this one game gives Boston ownership at least one more home date. Hmmm. A conspiracy afoot here?]
And ya never know what might happen.
But I'd believe Boston coming back to win the series if and when I saw it.
Methinks the Cavs will roll in the next two games. This one was an anomaly.
Nevertheless, they finally blinked. They're beatable.
Will Golden State ever show a chink in their armor out west? So far -- not -- as they seem to be in the process of sweeping a very good, if injury depleted San Antonio Spurs team. The Warriors have yet to lose a single playoff game this season.
But they were a "lock" last year -- right? And we all know what happened in the end. For sure, they haven't forgot that either and are on a mission to redeem themselves this year. If THEY stay healthy, they look invincible.