Bob Ryan's Altnernative Ending to 1988

Five couldn't beat seven or eight, and it certainly couldn't beat nine. The sad reality of the Celtics' playoff demise is that this much-discussed bench crisis never had to be.

This could hardly be termed second-guessing, either, not when everyone watching this team since the fall has recognized that in Reggie Lewis and Brad Lohaus, the Celtics finally had those fresh, young and talented bodies people have been longing for in these parts. Could they have made a difference against the armed might of Chuck Daly's well-stocked Pistons? Probably not.

They weren't ready to play. Could they have made a difference if they were ready to play?

Ah, that's an entirely different matter.

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