The Celtics will beat the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night.
It is a sure thing.
It is a lock.
It is Secretariat in the Belmont.
It is the 2011 Bruins against Roberto Luongo in Game 7.
It is Richard Nixon over George McGovern in 1972.
Have I made my point? Good. Because the Celtics are simply better than the Sixers and should be embarrassed that they are in this position. The Celtics squandered an 18-point second-half lead in Game 4 in Philadelphia Friday night, which is exactly what they do not need if they want to advance in this NBA East free-for-all of 2012.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Celtics will win Monday night. I haven’t been this sure about anything since the Red Sox led the Orioles, 3-2, in the ninth and the Yankees led the Rays, 7-0, last Sept. 28. There is no way the Celtics can lose.
It is the Beatles over Herman’s Hermits.
It is the Red Sox against Kevin Brown in Game 7 of the ALCS in 2004.
It is Usain Bolt against the field in the 100.
It is Yaz against every American League pitcher in 1967.
It is Kenya against the world in the Boston Marathon.
The Celtics have a chance to go to the NBA Finals. In this fifth year of the Big Three, they are playing with house money. Injuries have taken the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls out of the running. Now the Miami Heat are endangered (Think David Stern is eager to sell that Indianapolis-San Antonio Finals?) and the Celtics can take charge of their conference semifinal by re-establishing their superiority over the Sixers at the Garden.
It is the free throw line against Shaquille O’Neal.
It is Facebook vs. 38 Studios as a business model.
It is Kate Upton vs. the Golden Girls in a swimsuit competition.
It is Bill Belichick vs. Norv Turner.
It is Godfather I vs. Godfather III.
Charles Barkley watched the first game of this series and concluded that the Celtics have zero respect for the Sixers. The Celtics led Game 3 in Philly by 27 points (Boston won, 107-91). Philadelphia coach Doug Collins (we are going to miss him when this series is over) admitted that the Celtics were looking ahead to playing the Heat after seeing Chris Bosh get hurt. The Sixers missed 28 of their first 35 shots in Game 4 and were booed off their home court at halftime. There is simply no way the Celtics can lose this opportunity. There is no way they can lose Monday night on the parquet floor.
It is the microphone vs. Mayor Menino.
It is Augusta National vs. Leo J. Martin.
It is a Super Bowl in New Orleans vs. a Super Bowl in Jacksonville.
It is Vin Scully vs. every other baseball announcer.
The Sixers are led by Andre Iguodala. They have Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Lavoy Allen, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, and Jodie Meeks. They have won precisely one playoff series since 2003. Most of them are young and athletic. But they are not better than the Celtics. The Celtics will stop the madness and dominate the Sixers in Game 5.
It is Justin Verlander vs. the Seattle Mariners.
It is intelligent conversation vs. sports talk radio.
It is Adele vs. Karaoke contenders.
It is George Bush vs. Mike Dukakis in 1988.
It is the Chicago Bears vs. Tony Eason and the Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
Monday night Kevin Garnett gets his revenge on young Lavoy. The Celtics will play hard enough to go to the line as many times as the Sixers. They will play the type of lockdown defense they played in Game 3. They are sufficiently chagrined. Friday night was an embarrassment. The were outscored, 61-37, in the second half.
It’s time to stop the madness. The series should not be this close. The Celtics’ path to the 2012 NBA Finals has been nicely paved. It’s a rare gift and it’s time for the Celtics to take advantage of their situation. The Sixers finally have the Celtics’ undivided attention and that spells trouble for Philadelphia.
I’ve already put a match to my victory cigar. It’s a Hoyo De Monterrey. Same one Red used to smoke.