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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Last Cup: Monday


By Chris Sheridan

It was a 16-ouncer from the 7-Eleven located across the street from the new Gahden, a blend of coffee called Brazilian Bold that fueled a very efficient 3-hour, 8-minute post-game trip home from Boston to New York.

That drive down I-84 provided plenty of time to go over thoughts from Game 4 of the Boston-Orlando series, of which here are a few:

_ Doc Rivers' decision not to call timeout after the Celtics rebounded with 16 seconds left and the score tied was a baffling one. I'd go so far as to call it hubristic. You can hear his explanation in the video clip posted below by Kevin Arnovitz. Three timeouts left and a chance to set up the play that'll send you to the finals with at least a week off, and you let your guys wing it on a night when they were far from sharp? Again, baffling. Borderline arrogant.

_ Stan Van Gundy made an excellent point regarding the Mike Brown firing, noting that Cleveland didn't fire him for having the best winning percentage among active coaches, they fired him for losing his last three games against Boston. Curiously, Van Gundy also mentioned that Brown had not been back-stabbed through the media during the final days of his tenure, a comment that left me wondering whether he was referencing his own departure from Miami, or alluding to speculation from prior to Game 4 that his own job might be on the line.

_ I took issue with Vince Carter's, uh, performance in my post-game column, but I did a disservice to J.J. Redick by not mentioning his positive impact on the game. Van Gundy mentioned afterward how he was comfortable leaning on the players who have been with him the longest in Orlando, and it would not totally surprise me -- Van Gundys are exceedingly loyal -- if he went with Redick over Carter in the starting lineup for Game 5 Wednesday night. Between his missed free throws late in Game 2 and his Game 4 stinkbomb, Carter has earned a seat in Anthony Johnson-land.

_ Momentum swings can be swift and huge in the playoffs, and the Celtics should beware of losing the mental edge and focus they had built up over the past two weeks -- especially against an opponent that finally found a way to get an awful lot of open looks Monday night. The Celtics played with a lack of energy that made it seem as though they believed Game 4 was going to be a gimme, and they blew an opportunity to set themselves up as favorites in the finals. If this thing goes back to Boston for a Game 6 Friday night, it'll be a whole different dynamic in the arena, a panicky one. Boston fans have already seen their hockey team blow a 3-0 lead this month and lose a series, so they're a little ticklish about the subject up there.