Hey, Booston. Sit Down And Shut Up.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost for the first time in five home 2024 playoff games last night, a 106-93 result at the hands of the top-seeded Boston Celtics that wasn’t anywhere as close in reality as it wound up being on paper (or in pixels, depending upon how you consume this).

The Celtics’ performance was not only impressive, it was predictable, as ESPN’s Tim Bontemps observed:

Over the past few seasons, three things have been consistent about the Boston Celtics‘ deep playoff runs: They’ve played long series, they’ve struggled at home, and they’ve excelled on the road.  Over the past three seasons, Boston is 14-14 in 28 home playoff games, the most played over a three-year span without posting a winning record in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. However, in those three seasons, the Celtics reached the NBA Finals in 2022 and the conference finals last season, and they are favored to make a deep playoff run this year largely because they have gone 17-7 on the road.

And based upon the shameful reception they received at the end of Game 2, I’d offer they were more motivated to perform for the Cleveland fans than they have been for their own.  LARRY BROWN SPORTS’ Renzo Pocholo Salao filed this report:

Several Boston Celtics fans on Thursday made sure to get ahead of the parking lot rush at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

The Celtics were walloped 118-94 by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup. Celtics fans were seen leaving in droves well before the final buzzer. The mass exodus began with 4:58 left in what was then a 111-87 contest.

A 24-point lead isn’t completely insurmountable in five minutes. The 64-18 Celtics, of all teams, have shown that they’re capable of erasing big leads in a hurry this season.

Even someone among the most ardent of Cavaliers’ fans, FAN SIDED’s Alicia de Artola, appeared perturbed by this:

On Thursday, they got humbled on their home floor. Cleveland ran away with Game 2, 118-94. TD Garden was stunned.  It was so bad that with five minutes remaining, streams of Celtics fans headed for the exits. Way to stand in and support your team, Bostonians.

You wanna know what happened in the waning minutes of last night’s game in Cleveland?  The fans stayed.  They saluted the Celtics’ deserving performance, and cheered whatever inconsequential run the Cavs put on to make the final score a tad more respectable.  Why not?  At ticket prices which for an average Ohioan is close to a week’s wages, and with the infrequency of playoff appearances in recent years, Cavs fans should want to spend every second possible savoring whatever live action is put in front of them.

Boston fans, on the other hand, seem exceptionally cranky, spoiled and wasteful.  After all, as many are quick to remind, they’ve only had one NBA title this century, and with a franchise history as robust as theirs anything less than perfection is unacceptable.  And besides, you do know that that one title, the 2008 championship where they knocked off their Winning Time era foe the Los Angeles Lakers in six excruciating games, should have been the first leg of a three-peat.  At the outset of the pandemic THE ATHLETIC’s Jay King captured the sentiment of Celtics fans and alumni succinctly:

The best Celtics team during the Kevin Garnett era did not win a championship.  The 2008 Celtics put the franchise back on top of the NBA world. Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen made sweet basketball music. But the following season’s Celtics were better. At least, Brian Scalabrine — who played on both teams — believes they were better before a Garnett knee injury torpedoed their chances of hanging another banner in the TD Garden rafters. Doc Rivers has often stated the Big Three Celtics never lost a series with their starting five intact, knowing they never got a chance to defend their lone title at full strength. Kendrick Perkins’ injury in the 2010 Finals stands out as another “what if?” – as our Jared Weiss detailed thoroughly – but Garnett’s knee injury in 2009 did more to diminish Boston’s chances of capturing another ring. He missed the entire playoffs, dooming the Celtics to a second-round exit and wiping away a precious chance to win another title.

To listen to Rivers with enablers like Bill Simmons whine and cry about the injustice of injury may give some context to why so many faithful give up so quickly, despite all current trend lines to the contrary, may give some context as to why the amount of booing and back-turning is occurring.  But it doesn’t justify it one bit.

And it didn’t end there, nor with only one TD Garden tenant.  The Bruins, who escaped the indignity of losing to the cursed Toronto Maple Leafs in their first-round series, came back to Beantown Friday night with home ice advantage regained from the team that upended them in Round One last year, one where they set an all-time NHL regular season record for points, the Florida Panthers.  The MIAMI HERALD’s Greg Cote wrote yesterday about how that turned out:

The…best bet might have been a Broward Sheriff deputy skating alongside the Cats’ Matthew Tkachuk for protection from Bruins retribution for that late Game 2 TKO of David Pastrnak — that direct-hit fist lending whole new meaning to the phrase “face off.”

That most visceral display of what “playoff hockey” means in its most brutal sense carried over to define the series thus far as the grudge shifted to Boston and saw a convincing 6-2 Panthers win for a 2-1 lead in this NHL second-round series. Few fisticuffs this time, but still a full-on flex of power by the Cats.

Florida flexed its power with Tkachuk’s fist in Game 2, and its power play with four man-advantage goals in Game 3. Bruins fans were raining scattered boos at the home team as the second period ended down three, with their team being outshot 25-8. Final shots were 33-16.

Look, I’m not one who is naive enough to believe booing isn’t deserved at some point.  At the end of a game, while you’re still in your very expensive seat which thousands of others would have coveted, sure.  In a complete blowout, say a five or six goal deficit, perhaps.

But not in a game with more than 20 minutes to go where a quick goal could change the tempo and momentum enough to force a strategic shift, and a second goal effectively turns it into a crapshoot. The Bruins finished one point behind Florida this year.  They may not have home ice advantage, but that’s by an eyelash at most.

They’ll have a chance to even it all up tonight, and hopefully a Mother’s Day atmosphere might produce a slightly more tolerant and supportive crowd than the arena has seen earlier in the week.  Traffic will be lighter, and the T still adds extra trains.  No excuses this time.

Boston “fans”, you’ve been collectively treated to more parades of Ducks than any of the Disney resorts hjave seen this century.  More than the fans in Cleveland and South Florida have.

Your teams are good and anything but eliminated.  Treat them with a shred more appreciation, huh?

Courage…

 

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