Magic Johnson Said the Boston Celtics Quit, And They Should

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Joe Mazzulla and the Boston Celtics will soon be asking "who's car we going to take" over to Logan to catch a flight to Cancun. The ass-kicking, perhaps specifically tailored to be as heartbreaking and painful as humanly possible, continued on Sunday night as the Miami Heat throttled their favored guests from the opening tip and through the final whistle. It looked like an early-round NCAA Tournament game only it's Erik Spoelstra's group who is akin to a 14-seed wasting fools on the way to glory.

Jimmy Butler is clowning once-proud role players. Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent are looking like the most exciting two-man combination in a classic NBA Jam arcade game. Pat Riley has the cool gaze of a man who knows he's only adding to his legend. Udonis Haslem is sitting somewhere near the action doing his best Ralph Wiggum version of helping out.

Boston sports fans are overrepresented in the highest echelons of sports media so it is a good day to consume content and taste tears. And make no mistake, the Celtics and their fans deserve it. You want to be a bigger person and not enjoy it but you lose that battle when you see the next freakout broadcast to massive podcast audiences.

But I'm not sure it can get any worse than Magic Johnson, master of the obvious and usually perfectly polite tweet, pointing to the performance as a new low in his 44 years of being around the NBA and saying the C's quit.

Here's the thing, though. The Heat make you quit. That's their whole M.O. and what makes Ryan Cortes' whole shtick work because he is annoying but also absolutely correct in about what this franchise is. They've gone through the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the supposedly different Madison Square Garden. Honestly, they'll probably go through the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic with ease. If ever a team felt like it was fulfilling an improbable destiny, this is it.

Boston outrebounded Miami 57-35. Usually that's not a stat you see from a team that quit. A misfiring 11-for-42 performance from beyond the arc got torched by a 19-for-35 display from the home side. Nothing is more annoying than someone says it's a make or miss league but it is a make or miss league.

Bottom line, there will be discussions and debates and high emotions surrounding the issue of whether the Celtics quit. On themselves or on Mazzulla. And good for everyone having it and being compensated for the conversation. Because it doesn't matter.

Consider the underappreciated Deep Impact (1998), a more thoughtful and nuanced picture than its rival Armageddon. Was it more valorous for the people to run through the streets of New York City trying to escape an 600-foot tidal wave on foot or was it better to do what Tea Leoni did, which was just to stand there with her old man and try to take a charge from the rushing sea?

Sometimes you just need to know when you're finished and accept it.