It wasn’t supposed to end like this. Not after the Boston Celtics expended so much energy playing catch-up to the Chicago Bulls. Not after the chippy jostling between Kevin Garnett and Joakim Noah. Not after the jawing between Jason Terry and Richard Hamilton. No, it wasn’t supposed to end with that wild shot by Marco Belinelli, snuffing out a courageous Celtics comeback and dousing cold water on a season-high 30 points by Rajon Rondo.
That the Bulls prevailed 100-99 is of little consequence at this point. A loss is a loss is a loss, and there are no moral victories. Never mind that Paul Pierce was clearly fouled at the end of regulation. The fact of the matter is that our Celtics have lost two straight, and the momentum generated by that six-game winning streak is long gone.
Now what? If you’re Doc Rivers, you try to get your team to forget this loss and move on. You try to keep this mess of an ending from spilling over into the next game, because one heartbreaking loss like this can easily lead to a slump that puts the season in jeopardy.
Easier said than done. Especially after what we saw tonight.