I can't go to sleep, they need me
One of my favorite lines in the movie Fever Pitch is when the the Jimmy Fallon character declines the chance to go to Paris with the Drew Barrymore character because the Red Sox "need him" to attend the games at Fenway. That's a great insight into the overly committed sports fan.
And, I have reached that point on this year's Boston Celtics. I've gone to about half of their home games. And, I watch most of their road games on TV. Last night, I was up late watching them break the Houston Rockets 22 game winning streak. The night before, I watched them come back from an early 22-point deficit to beat the Spurs, also on the road. I'm sleeping less, but I am sure that they "need" me to watch while they are on the road.
The Celtics got off to a great start, but the experts expected them to come back down to Earth when they had to go on the road and play all the West Coast powers. But, they have a great record against the West, including on the road. And, after they play in Dallas and New Orleans in their next two games, they will have finished the most difficult part of their road schedule. Their home schedule includes upcoming games against Phoenix and New Orleans. After that, their April schedule looks relatively easy. If anything, they run the risk of not being tested enough immediatley before the playoffs.
They have been the most consistent team in the NBA this season, and they play the best defense. They now have a deep bench, including the recent additions of PJ Brown and Sam Cassell. They have the rest of the season to integrate these new pieces, keep everyone sharp, make sure that recent minor injuries are healed, and tune up for the playoffs. I love their style of play -- tight defense, lots of player movement, and unselfish passing. But, when they need the superstar to just make a shot, they still have Pierce, Garnett, and Allen.
I wrote last month about Doc Rivers being Coach of the Year. I still think he deserves it. Sure, they have a lot of talent. But, Doc made sure that these players blended together perfectly, with no complaints about roles or playing time. It's particularly a tribute to Ray Allen who had to sacrifice more than the other big players in order to fit in.
Paul Pierce won't win the MVP, but he is probably the Celtics MVP. Kevin Garnett has been fantastic. His intensity and defensive commitment set the tone for the Celtics from the start. But, Pierce has come through with the big defensive plays, the big rebounds, assists, and scoring. He is all over the box score with his defensive contribution starting to be recognized throughout the league. Pierce was immature earlier in his career, but it's great to see him get a chance be on a winner after toiling with under-talented and inexperienced teams for the past couple of years.
So, if you see me with bags under my eyes, check the Celtics schedule. They probably had a late night game the night before, and I was watching because I know they "need" me.