Especially after having had the great misfortune of witnessing one of the most nauseating displays of apathy ever to grace a Magic court, in person.
Despite the circumstances, I still managed to come back with a few observations for those of you who share my pain . . .
1. As much as it pains me to have been right about this . . . The sky IS falling!
I first came to this conclusion after the miserable meltdown at the end of the regular season but I was, for the mot part, regarded as a panic-stricken fan. Truth be told, what I saw at the end of the year was EXACTLY what I had feared come playoff time and also EXACTLY what I witnessed yesterday.
Our team has SERIOUS issues with focus, effort, consistency and worst of all PASSION. Even if we go on to win the next 4 games in a row and advance in this series, this will still be the case, which leads me to my 2nd point.
2. This team cannot seriously contend for a title this year.
Yes they have all of the pieces on paper and even in the numbers but they lack the most crucial intangible . . . the heart of a champion.
I'll admit that although I didn't truly believe we'd win it all this year, I DID believe that we had a REAL chance at getting past Cleveland and giving the Lakers a run for their money. Heck, I would've been happy with us putting in a good showing at the ECF. Sadly, the team that played yesterday won't get out of the 1st round and even if they do it'll be in vain.
The lack of effort and passion they displayed is symptomatic of a much greater problem that I'm not sure can be cured. After all, how do you teach someone to care or to give 100%? More importantly, shouldn't these guys know these things by now?
3. I read through the game thread and saw several comments regarding how lame the O-rena fans were and I must admit that I took some umbrage at those comments.
As a 1st hand witness I can unequivocally tell you that the fans did their part! The O-rena was LOUD and people chanted passionately & frequently. I had trouble hearing the person beside me for most of the game. If that didn't come across on the broadcast then it must have something to do with the acoustics there because it was DEFINITELY a playoff atmosphere!
Also, I think the fans did as well as could be expected considering their own team kept kicking them in the stomach and it's hard to cheer when someone's stolen all your air. All I know is the Celts & Bulls game seemed MUCH quieter to me and that's supposedly one of the toughest places to play in the league.
My apologies for the length of this post but it was quite cathartic for me as I've been mourning the death of my aspirations for this season since yesterday. :(