WALTHAM — While they probably don't realize it because of these seven-game bloodbaths, the Boston Celtics have only two options.
Option 1: They find a way to squeak out two of the next three games against Detroit, which I'm predicting they will, and then they have to do it all over again against the Los Angeles Lakers or San Antonio Spurs.
And then celebrate with a humongous parade through downtown Boston.
Option 2: They lose to Detroit, Los Angeles or San Antonio. And then they run for the hills.
In Titletown, USA, it's win or bust.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, there is still some pent-up anger from the Super Bowl.
The fact that the Celtics were the NBA's version of the Patriots adds pressure.
"I don't have a problem with that," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers yesterday. "I realize what we were getting ourselves into this season. People are very passionate around here. I know the media can be tough sometimes, but the people on the street couldn't have been better.
"I do get questions as to why I'm not playing one player over another, which is funny. People are used to winning around here."
From the get-go, Rivers told the team the goal was a championship.
"I told the guys we were not going to come in thinking we'd need a year to play together and all of that," said Rivers. "The goal from the beginning was to be the best. You have to credit the players. They bought into it from Day 1."
The Celtics have been a pleasure to watch this season. As much as we said it was nice watching the "kids" grow the last few seasons, there is nothing like winning.
And while Rivers says the New Garden has rocked this season just like the original did when he was with the Atlanta Hawks in the 1980s, he isn't buying the "pleasure to watch" theory.
"It has been a lot of fun," said Rivers. "But our goal is our goal."
I'm not going there. Win, lose or draw, this season has been unforgettable and championship or not, one for the ages.
The fact that Celtics fans get infuriated after a loss, or would like to wring Ray Allen's neck, is a good thing.
It would be unfair to compare this team or even the new Big Three to the originals. That Bird-McHale-Parish team was a dynasty. They played together for more than a decade.
But what is fair is comparing the unselfishness it is reminiscent of the Bill Russell-Bob Cousy days.
And the other connection to Russell's era is their defense. Defense is 5 percent talent and 95 percent effort. These Celtics make life very difficult for offenses.
The 66 regular-season wins after 24 a year ago is amazing. It's never happened before and may never happen again in the NBA.
I have to admit I didn't see this season coming. I didn't see Kevin Garnett's remarkable impact. I didn't see any of it.
I did see another 40-win season. I saw some young players to hang our hats on. And I saw Paul Pierce stumbling and bumbling at the end of games.
Instead, we have been very lucky. It's probably not the thing to say when a team is barely halfway through a seven-game series and still six victories from a championship.
But I can't help myself. These Celtics have been awesome.
And if Ray Allen can make a 3-point shot or two, they will have a parade to prove it.
E-mail Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burt will blog before game, at half
You can chat with The Eagle-Tribune's Bill Burt tonight before Game 5 and at halftime. To ask a question or make a comment, go to blogs.eagletribune.com/sports or to www.eagletribune.com.