Will history repeat itself?
The Celtics had a chance to sweep the Magic out of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night, but they lost 96-92 in overtime.
When the Bruins had a 3-0 lead over the Flyers, they also lost Game 4 … in overtime.
The Celtics then traveled to Orlando for Game 5 and another chance to close out the series. But instead of celebrating their second trip to the NBA Finals in three seasons, the C’s got trounced 113-92 by the Magic on Wednesday night.
Interestingly enough, the Bruins also got whacked in their Game 5 loss to Philly, losing 4-0.
The series between the Celtics and Magic is eerily similar to the one between the B’s and Flyers.
Granted, the NBA is played on hardwood, while the NHL is played on ice. But that’s about the only difference.
Both series have been played at the TD Garden, and both feature Boston teams that seemingly came out of nowhere to make a postseason run.
The Bruins entered the NHL playoffs as the sixth seed, facing off against the third-seeded Buffalo Sabres and star goalie Ryan Miller in the quarterfinals. The B’s defeated the Sabres convincingly, though, winning the series 4-2.
The Celtics also backed their way into the playoffs, finishing as the fourth seed after dropping seven of their final 10 regular-season games.
However, after taking care of Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in just five games in the first round, the Celtics did the improbable, beating LeBron James and the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Most people liked the Bruins' chances to advance to the conference finals as well, especially with Tuukka Rask between the pipes. Rask led the NHL in both goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.931). In the first three games of the series against the Flyers — all wins — Rask saved 90 of 97 shots.
Then, the tables turned. Instead of the star goalie in the series being Rask, it became Flyers netminder Michael Leighton, who took over for an injured Brian Boucher in Game 5, and went on to save 66 of 70 shots in the series, including all 14 he saw in Philadelphia’s 4-0 Game 5 win.
Rajon Rondo is to the Celtics what Rask was to the Bruins. The C’s point guard posted career highs in points (13.7), assists (9.8), and steals (2.3) this season, and earned his first NBA All-Star Game appearance.
In the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cavs, Rondo turned his game up to levels Celtics fans had never seen before — including a legendary 29-point, 13-assist and 18-rebound performance in Game 4.
Through the first three games against Orlando, Rondo continued his brilliant play, averaging over 14 points and nine assists per contest, and had a 25-point effort in Game 2.
But much like Rask, the spotlight was stolen from Rondo. In Games 4 and 5, Magic point guard Jameer Nelson posted his two highest scoring games of the series, dropping 23 and 24 points, respectively. Nelson hit two big three-pointers in overtime in Game 4, leading the Magic to a victory at the Garden and right back into the series.
Want to go even deeper?
Bruins forward David Krejci took a vicious hit from Flyers center Mike Richards in Game 3, causing Krecji, who had 52 points during the regular season, to leave the game and miss the rest of the series.
In Game 5 of the Celtics-Magic Series, C's forward Glen Davis took an elbow to the face from Orlando center Dwight Howard, leaving Davis with a concussion and putting his status in jeopardy for the remainder of the series.
Momentum shifted rapidly in the Bruins-Flyers series, as Philadephia played with a sense of desperation while the B's took their foot off the Flyers' throat just long enough to give them new life — and hope.
Now, as Game 6 between the Celtics and Magic looms, Boston fans can only be thinking one thing.
Please, not again.