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Chris Young: Boston sports fans have learned it's never over until it's over | Sports

For a region that has hosted more World Championships in the four major sports – 12 – than any other city over the past two decades (LA follows with 9 and twice the number of teams), the Hub's collective confidence in our teams to finish the job remains woefully low.

Even if one of our teams has a dominant season or maybe even breaks a record, we can't seem to sit back and make plans for the championship parade until it actually happens, regardless of whether the teams are “battle-tested” or not.

Maybe all cities are like that and have narrowly missed out on the title in the past, but New England sports fans are familiar with too many examples of teams that, on paper, should have capped off an excellent season with a championship, but then managed to blow it all – often against an opponent that was considered inferior.

The topic comes up now, of course, because after the Celtics' victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, Boston seems to be in a great position to finally win its 18th championship, especially with the additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday and the departures of Marcus Smart and Grant Williams.

Finally, Boston was in the top five in nearly every statistical category on both offense and defense that season, as the Celtics had the NBA's best record and 64 wins, seven wins better than the next best team in the league. The C's lost just four times on their home court, which is only surpassed by the Celtics' 1985-86 dominance, who went 40-1 on the Garden's floor (and an incredible 50-1 if you include the postseason), and had a fairly easy path to the Finals against lame and inferior playoff opponents.

So why do local fans still have doubts about this edition of the Celtics?

Before we look at the dominant seasons of other local teams that ended in ignominious defeat, let's take a look at the Greens themselves. Let's hop into the Wayback Machine and go back to the late spring of 1985. A year ahead of the record-setting 1985-86 team, and yet still the reigning NBA champions of the previous year, the 1984-85 Celtics stormed their way to the NBA Finals, where none other than the Lakers, the defeated 1984 Finals opponent, lay in wait.

In the first game of a glorious Memorial Day in Boston, the C's started the game on a high note, building a 79-49 halftime lead en route to a 148-114 victory over their hated rivals. The game immediately became known as the Memorial Day Massacre.

Many people felt the same way after Thursday's crushing loss to the Mavs. The funny thing is, there's no 1985 championship banner hanging in the rafters of TD Garden because the Lakers somehow won four of their next five games, including two in Boston, to beat the Celtics in an NBA Finals for the first time ever.

Los Angeles has won eight more world championships since that spring of 1985, while Boston, a dominant champion in 1986, has won only one more title since then, and that was 16 seasons ago.

Now Boston basketball fans have the most complete team since the 2007-08 squad, and yet doubts still linger in our souls. Perhaps one can point to the team that made it to the NBA Finals just two years ago for the first time since the 2010 club, even stealing the first game in the City by the Bay and taking a 2-1 series lead and a fourth-quarter lead in Game 4 before blowing that lead and the next two games to lose in six games to a Warriors who were past their best.

Or maybe, to change the sport, Boston fans still can't understand how their 2007 New England Patriots, the first team ever to go 18-0 in a Super Bowl and have a very realistic chance of completing the perfect season, lost to a wildcard team from the NFC, who had to win three away games to get to Glendale, AZ. Fans to this day can't believe that this particular edition of the Patriots lost that game, because on paper this team was considered indestructible and invincible.

But seasons like this resonate because Boston fans realize that even the best team in the regular season cannot necessarily be trusted to get the job done.

You can also ask the New England Revolution about their record-breaking 2021 season.

In that season of bad luck, the Revs won their first Supporters' Shield in club history with the best regular season record (22-5-7) and finished six points above the second-best team in the East and the best team in the West with 41 points. With four-time MLS Coach of the Year Bruce Arena at the helm – winner of five MLS Cups, four Supporters' Shields, a US Open Cup and a CONCACAF champion in 17 seasons as an MLS head coach – what could possibly go wrong? Well, first of all, a 23-day break after the end of the regular season and the league playoff opener after the Revs received a first-round bye, and you can probably guess what happened next: a brutal playoff opener penalty shootout loss to New York City FC – a team that had quietly reached a 5-0-3 record in the regular season and kept that momentum going into the team's first MLS Cup title. The Revs, meanwhile, are still waiting for their first title since the league's inception in 1996.

Finally, Celtics fans are also aware of the failings of the past few years shown by their co-tenant at TD Garden, the Boston Bruins.

In the spring of 2019, after a decent regular season, the Bruins, in typical fashion, knocked off the Maple Leafs in the first round in seven games. They then played wild-card teams in two consecutive rounds before playing the third-place team in the West, the St. Louis Blues, in the Cup Final with home-court advantage.

A piece of cake for the B's, right? Well, not when you lose three of your four home games, which is what happened to the Bruins and the Blues happily skated around the Garden ice with Lord Stanley's chalice.

But wait, there's more! As you may recall, just last spring the Bruins left their regular-season rivals far behind and were sent in as clear favorites to win their seventh Stanley Cup on the eve of their 100th NHL season.

And again: What could go wrong? A lot. In the game against the Florida Panthers, who were seeded eighth and had finished the regular season with a record of 6-1-1, the Bruins were reminiscent of the 2019 Cup Finals, dropping three of four games on home ice and throwing away a 3-1 lead in the series. The historic season was over in the first round.

All of these recent failures shouldn't necessarily be highlighted when talking about these Celtics and their current NBA Finals appearance, but local fans have seen more disappointments than championships over the past 1,950 days. So while this Boston team seems to be on the verge of finally ending the region's five-year championship drought, fans rightfully need to temper their enthusiasm and expectations until Kyrie, Luca and the rest of the Mavs are vanquished once and for all.