Because I am a brave and vulnerable adult, I would like to confess a problem: I cannot stop watching the Boston Celtics play defense.
I know, I know, there are a multitude of ways I could better utilize my time. I could help at a soup kitchen. I could become a Boy Scout leader and teach teenagers how to tie complex knots for their TikTok videos. I could volunteer to clean gravestones at the cemetery. Instead, I have chosen to dedicate my spare hours to watching the Boston Celtics play defense. I can’t help it. The talent and cohesion is otherworldly. As soon as Jayson Tatum squares up on ball, my knees get weak. When Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart execute a flawless switch, my stomach brims with butterflies. When Al Horford or Robert Williams rubs out a layup attempt at the rim, I understand (for the first time in my life) what love truly feels like.
I wish I were a better man and could break free of the spell. But the aesthetic beauty of watching flawless five-man rotations hits me like a vial of morphine. My body gets light. I understand that life has no meaning and it’s okay. I drift into intoxication and forget to show up for my soup kitchen shift. I am able to momentarily banish the most haunting truth of April: the Utah Jazz are still playing basketball.
I normally don’t condone memory suppression but in the case of Mavs-Jazz, I do. I need to forget Maxi Kleber and Jalen Brunson (MAXI KLEBER AND JALEN BRUNSON!!) scorching the Jazz to a crisp in Game 2, then pressing the repeat button in Game 3. I need to forget Luka Doncic clowning the Jazz in Game 5 and doing everything short of squirting water into their eyes out of a plastic flower lapel. I need to forget Mike Conley has aged 30 extra years and Donovan Mitchell has replaced his ability to score the ball with the world’s worst matador impression on defense. I need to forget that with the current Utah Jazz roster, flawless five-man rotations cannot and will not exist.
I am ready to replace all memories of the 2022 Jazz season with happier thoughts. The Celtics defense is a good place to start. James Harden collapsing again in the playoffs would be a welcome addition. Chris Paul playing Point God always puts a smile on my face. I will accept anything as long as it scrubs my mind of the last three years of Jazz playoff defense: five defenders on ice skates, staring in bewilderment at simple pick-and-rolls, treating basic switches like unknowable and indecipherable code.