I won't go as far as Michael Felger and say that if the Celtics do not win this series, the entire season is a failure. That is just a ridiculous thing to say for a team that honestly has no chance of winning an NBA championship this year. It is a process and as long as you make progress every year it is not a failure. Now, if the Celtics get swept by the Atlanta Hawks just like they got swept by the Cavs last year, then yes this season was a failure. This series has to at the very least be a competitive one.
In my opinion, the Celtics got the worst match up they could have in the first round. Obviously I am excluding the Raptors and the Cavs, I'm referring to the Hornets and the Heat. I think the Celtics would have had a better chance against those two teams, but I'm not writing them off in this series against the Atlanta Hawks. On paper, the Hawks are the more talented team. It is just how it is. The Celtics have Isaiah Thomas and a bunch of other players. Crowder is great defensively but he is not a great scorer, at least not yet. Thomas has the ability to take over an entire game, there really is nobody else on the Celtics' roster that can do that. He has become a fan favorite and if he keeps penning articles on the Player's Tribune, fans of the Celtics might faint every time he steps onto the Garden floor.
The easiest way to avoid scrutiny by the Boston media is to win. The Celtics need to take care of business tonight and take all of the pressure of them. That way they are playing with house money for the rest of the series. The talking heads in Boston won't be able to flap their gums about how they haven't won a single playoff game in the Brad Stevens era heading into game 2 and the pressure will be completely off. If the Celtics lose tonight, it makes game 2 way more important than it needs to be.