Twenty to thirty years from now, Boston sports fans are going to look at 2001 – 2018 as the “golden era” in Boston Sports. Ten titles. Fifteen championship appearances. Boston teams went fifteen years without a title from 1987-2001 to ten titles in the next sixteen years. As much as the rest of the country hates to say it, Boston had been the best sports city in the country from a winning standpoint for at least a decade. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t look like the era of dominance is going to and end any time soon. The Patriots are still the favorites in the NFL going into next season. The Red Sox have won back to back division titles and currently own the best record in baseball at 13-2. The Bruins are Stanley Cup contenders (some would even say favorites) this year and have strong young talent to keep them there for many years to come. The Celtics have Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward coming back next year and are expected to be the favorites in the NBA Eastern Conference.
The message: Boston’s winning ways aren’t about to go away. In fact, during this sixteen year run, there has never been a time where all four teams were championship contenders like right now.
This set the stage for this past weekend.
Friday, April 13th
The Red Sox entered a four game series with the Orioles with a 10-2 record after taking two of three games against the Yankees. The Yankees series had it all. A blowout 14-1 win. A bench clearing brawl. A near no hitter by Rick Porcello. So,what was expected going into this series with the Orioles? More of the same…
The Red Sox jumped out to a 6-1 lead after three innings and never looked back. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched brilliantly for six innings letting up just one run and striking out seven. The highlight from a fan standpoint was when Joe Kelly entered the game and received a standing ovation from the Fenway crowd following his six game suspension for his role in the Yankees brawl. That was an impressive moment. The Red Sox fans are turning a corner this year. There’s more investment in the team and the game matters more. Great start to the weekend! 1-0.
Saturday, April 14th
Another day. Another win for the Sox. This time it was 10-3. Hanley Ramirez and J.D Martinez both hit their third home runs of the season. Another highlight catch from Jackie Bradley Jr. 2-0. This game was the appetizer before the main course at TD Garden.
The Bruins were entering their series with the Maple Leafs with a 1-0 series lead after their impressive 5-1 victory on Thursday Night. They had the momentum especially after the news that Nazem Kadri was being suspended for three games after his hit on Tommy Wingels. With that said, we all know how the playoffs work. Momentum can change game to game, period to period, and even minute to minute. The expectation was that the Leafs were going to come out strong…
That expectation fell well short.
The Bruins completely dominated the Leafs in the first period by taking a 4-0 lead on goals by David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller, and Rick Nash. The Leafs goalie, Frederick Anderson, was pulled after chants of “Anderson!” took over the Garden. At the first intermission, the game was over. The rest was just icing on the cake. The Bruins continued the slaughter with a 7-3 win. David Pastrnak had three goals and three assists. His final goal was one only a handful of players in the league could make. The message was clear. The Bruins aren’t only the best team in this series…but they may be the best team in the league.
Their certainly is not a better first line in the NHL that Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. The reality is that the Bruins have never had a better first line in their team’s history. Go for it! Name one that was better.
Here are the NHL scoring leaders through the first two games of the playoffs:
1. David Pastrnak – 4 goals – 5 assists – 9 points
2. Brad Marchand – 1 goal – 5 assists – 6 points
3. Patrice Bergeron – 0 goals – 5 assists – 5 points
Sunday, April 15th
Celtics – Bucks: Game 1. Expectations? Well, the Celtics should win this series, but given their injuries, it would not be a surprise if the Bucks prevail. The Bucks have the best player in the series. Nope…not going to spell his name. The Celtics and Bucks are pretty close from an overall talent standpoint. The game started out with the Celtics pushing out to a nine point lead in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Giannis took over and the Celtics went cold. It looked like this game was going serve as a reminder that the Celtics are a good, young team, but there are just too many injuries to overcome this year…even for a first round win against a #7 seed.
There’s something about this Celtics team that stands out. They never give up and their ability to overcome adversity is simply amazing. That was the case again today. The Celtics battled the Bucks in the fourth quarter with each of their top five players scoring between 19 and 24 points.
The Celtics had the ball with 10 second to go and the ball was in the hands of Terry Rozier. This was the same Terry Rozier who started the season as #3 on the depth chart for Celtics point guards. The same Terry Rozier who, when he was given the opportunity, excelled to a point where there is no doubt he’s a legitimate NBA starting guard. Rozier drove and then completely faked out Eric Bledsoe for a step back three. Swish! Game over…
0.5 second to go. No chance. Khris Middleton says otherwise and hits a three between the three point line and harcourt. No way that just happened!
The Garden was deflated. There’s no way to overcome that, right? Well, remember. This is the Boston Celtics coached by Brad Stevens. The Celtics made the big plays at the end including several clutch shots by 20 year old Jayson Tatum and 21 year old Jaylen Brown. Celtics 113. Bucks 107. 4-0.
Red Sox 3. Orioles 1.
Two playoff wins and a series sweep by the best team in baseball.
Just another weekend in “the golden era” of Boston sports…
On to the next win.