Boston Celtics: Hear the Meow

You better get ready for the Baby Train.

You may have seen Nike’s new Tiger Woods commercial. If you haven’t, you’d probably be surprised to find out that at no point does it contain the phrase “Just Do It.”

Actually, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that. Nike’s classy. And Tiger Woods – not withstanding the revelations of the past 5 months or his occasional on-course outburst – is the epitome of that classiness. Which is why you’d be really surprised when you see the commercial, a black and white masterpiece featuring what seems to be a concussed Tiger staring at the camera with his eyes glazed over and the narrative voice of the late Earl Woods, asking if his son had learned anything from his mistakes.

What would really surprise you is that, from the grave, Earl’s not just talking to Eldrick. He’s talking to our dearly beloved Boston Celtics as well, who have been more difficult to figure out this year than that senior you hooked up with your sophomore year who wouldn’t return your calls, emails or sexts. You think I’m kidding, but the Cs have a lot more in common with Tiger than you think.

Ray Allen has all but disappeared the past few months – the only Celtic who’s remained healthy throughout the year, he’s shown his age by fading fast as the season wears on.

Kevin Garnett has a bad knee, one which will – eventually – require at least one surgery, and maybe as many as four (the number that Tiger’s had) or fourteen (the number of majors that Tiger’s won).

Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson have essentially crashed their respective vehicles into otherwise immobile

If the memory of this can't motivate the Cs, they're toast.

objects, sparking a neighborhood-wide alarm and numerous calls to 911 suggesting that vindictive female assailants have gone after them with 9-irons. Or maybe just tire irons. Maybe both.

Michael Finley’s goatee seems like the stuff of legend that Tiger’s trying to build up to. My bet is he never gets there.

Paul Pierce comes and goes, picking his spots much like Tiger picks his tournaments, rarely disappointing but occasionally missing clutch putts on the back nine that ruin his chances of winning. If you think I’m kidding, look at PP’s FT stats in the fourth quarter of close games. Not good.

Perhaps the worst truth about the Celtics’ season, however, is that the dancers still aren’t allowed into the clubhouse at Augusta.

Look, the Celtics aren’t done, they just have the pulse of Corey Haim. They proved that to us in a matchup against the Cavs that could just as easily have inspired us. They only get up for teams they hate – not good teams, just teams they hate. Guess what? There’s only one team in the league that they hate, and as it stands, they wouldn’t play them until the Eastern Conference Finals.

The difference between Tiger and the Celtics is that Tiger will come back. The Celtics probably won’t. There will be no more Big Three commercials on ESPN. But the demise of the Celtics has resulted in the lowering of expectations, which means that this team could go places starting next week. In 2008, there were expectations, but none more than that “this team will be better than it has been.” In 2009, anything short of a 65-win season and a repeat championship wasn’t acceptable. But now we’re being realistic about our beloved boys in green. It’s not been fun, the six-month process of swallowing our pride, but it’s put us in a much better place. There will be no more Big Three commercials on ESPN, but that’s not such a terrible thing.

The thing the Celtics and Tiger most have in common? Nobody knows what to expect from them anymore. Maybe Tiger shoots 80 on Friday en route to an early weekend, maybe the Celtics win the NBA Championship in 5 over the Lakers. More than likely, the opposite happens; Tiger goes 69-67-67-65 and laps the field at Augusta and the Celtics bow out disgracefully in a second-round matchup with Orlando again, only this time it takes five games.

Then again, best-of-seven series, like insane adulterous rampages, have a way of bringing out the hatred that fuels this team. If they have anything in common with Tiger, let’s hope it’s that.

Ryan Durling is a Syracuse University basketball loyalist who moved to Beantown after adopting Boston sports teams as his own because he needed someone to root for during the summer and, well, the Yankees suck. He can be reached at ryandurling@gmail.com. Find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ryandurling or follow him on Twitter @HubSportsLive.

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