It was 2008 and on paper the Celtics were doomed. It’s 2010 and most had the Celts goin’ fishin already.
In 2008 the Celtics finished the regular season on top of the league with home-court throughout the playoffs. The team consisted of a younger, hungrier Big 3, a very young unreliable Rondo, and some great role players Posey, Brown, Cassell and House. PJ’s heroics helped ice Clevelance, Posey came off the bench to stun Lakers, and Cassell and House both backed up a young Rondo (who only averaged 17 mins/game). What happened when they reached the NBA Finals? Every single sports writer said, “No way, Lakers in 6 or 7”. Well a few days later the Celtics had their 17th NBA title and the “6 Game Sweep” was in the record books.
2009 was many things: a Lakers unchallenged title, a knee that wouldn’t heal, and a coming out party for the Big One. The Celtics gave us 7 games of pure basketball goodness against Chicago and Rondo became a man in what was the single best 7-game series ever. All in all it wasn’t meant to be, without Garnett the defense just wasn’t there. They fought Orlando to Game 7, but were ultimately beaten. Everyone knew it the fans, the players… The fight wasn’t there.
2010 started great, but by Christmas everything looked dim. The Big Three finally began to show their true age. All the key free agents brought in (Sheed, Robinson, Daniels) hadn’t done squat. The only good thing that happened during the regular season was Rondo had finally taken control as the true leader. It seemed that the Celtics couldn’t close out a came no matter, blowing second-half leads almost daily. They weren’t catching Cleveland or Orlando, and they seemed to holding on by a thread. No one thought they were a contender. No one thought they would beat the Lakers in ’08 either.
2010 Playoffs: Celtics play the Heat. Garnett gets the spark under his ass from Richardson and it’s all over… They weathered a few D-Wade runs and closed the series in 5. That is it, NO WAY IN HELL does Boston beat Cleveland. Well, well, well LeBron James and the Seven Dwarfs were exposed. They were not a unit, they had no leader, and coaching was none existent. The Celtics finally showed up, Rondo played lights out all series, Garnett was the foundation in every game, and Ray stepped up and made his shots. They succeeded in making the best player in the league non-existent (if you want to know where Pierce was, LBJ is where). The Big 3 were back, led by Rondo and Sheed seemed to be coming alive. 6th Man award goes to Tony Allen for his heroics while Pierce sat in foul trouble.
Now it’s Orlando, another team with a “best player in the league” (why don’t people just leave that for Kobe!?) in Dwight Howard. Again, everyone takes Orlando (yes!)… The Celtics come in the underdogs, don’t let Howard have a single easy basket by using their fouls intensely, weather a late attack and steal Game 1. GAME ON… The Celtics are going to play team defense, make Dwight Howard play the post 1-0n-1 (which he has never proved he can do skillfully or with authority), and feed on doubt. So keep doubting. There is no Celtics bandwagon.
Wow! Rondo made the cover of Sports Illustrated…
Today, after Game 5’s rigged officiating, I am embarrassed to be an NBA fan.
NBA Finals Pregame Update:
OK, 5 day break over! With Orlando, Cleveland, and Miami in our rear-view we have had 5 days rest, a lot of time to break down tape and too much time to lick our chops. I am hungry for some purple ‘n gold blood.
Again the analysts are taking the Lakers (4-6), and I couldn’t be happier about that.
Last night , after watching a replay of ’08 Finals Game 1 (what LA fans know as the Wheelchair Game), I fell asleep. By no surprise, I dreamt about tonight’s Game 1. It was the 4th, there was 1:02 on the clock, 82-90 Celts, and Pierce was going to the line… I’d take that!
I, like most others, think Garnett needs to own Pau to get through this one, but I want to go ahead and say that I don’t see Artest completely shutting down the Truth, Paul will get his at some point. Rondo gonna do his thing, Ray is the wildcard, and Perk WILL keep his cool (too much on the line) but Sheed better drop the Jekyll and Hyde routine, all of which I believe will happen.
LA just isn’t physical enough. I think the key to beating the Celtics is pick ‘n roll offense with a talented point guard to penetrate the D and draw fouls on our bigs. The Triangle is too slow, we can body up and smack their bigs in da lip, clog passing lanes, draw turnovers and spark our transition game… Without a true point guard LA is going to struggle against the Green Devils.
Celtics in 6.