Sigh… we’re all sports fans here. We all have sports we see through the particular tint of bias (I have forum blue/gold glasses… brown/gold glasses… navy/white/gold glasses… unfortunately I stepped on my aqua/orange/white glasses last NFL season). Rob’s been a close friend of mine for more years than I care to count (even if he is older than me!)… and he wears his glasses green.
Once looked like this…
Became this (painful on so many levels)…
Now it has a new face…
When I growing up in Australia we used to get an NBA game or two every week on TV.
This was the time of Kareem, Magic, Dr J, Moses Malone and Larry Bird. All of my friends were Lakers or 76ers fans.
I went with the goofy looking white guy with the outrageous mullet and the supporting cast that included over the years, the Chief, Kevin Mac, DJ and a feisty little guard called Danny Ainge.
I have stayed loyal throughout the years, never being seduced by the Bulls and MJ or the new show time in Laker land with Shaq and Kobe.
It has often (ok, mostly) been a painful 20 years or so even when ‘Toine and Paul Pierce took the team to the Eastern Finals a few years back. That was a false dawn caused by a weak conference and some serious overachieving by a team that really had no business being there.
This brings us to the end of last season, draft day and beyond. That feisty little guard called Danny Ainge – now executive director of basketball operations for the Celtics – could see the writing on the wall. The team was a laughing stock and he was about this “-“ close to being fired.
So he made a deal with the Sonics (or isn’t that “sonics” after the Denver debacle) to bring in Ray “Jesus Shuttlesworth” Allen. Now Ray-Ray is a fine player, but he was never going to be the catalyst for greatness on a team desperately needing an injection of heart and soul.
Enter one Kevin Maurice Garnett and behold the time of the great turnaround, the time of great belief, the time of the Celtics. Sure, the price was steep (5 players, 2 draft picks, some bucks, Red Auerbach’s cigars, 1500 litres of chowder and tickets to a Bruins game) but who is to say that it wasn’t worth it?
All of a sudden this team was playing with passion and starting to win games and win them big.
Is it all down to one man?
No, but he is the heart of this team and at the center of all that is good about the Celtics.
Still, the anti-Celtics noise has been pretty consistent all year.
“The big 3 can’t do it alone and they don’t have a genuine C”
Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Glenn Davis have all played big minutes this season and are contributing over 18ppg and over 12rpg between them.
“The big 3 can’t do it alone and they don’t have a genuine PG”
Rajon Rondo is playing over 30 minutes a game, averaging more than 10ppg, 4rpg, 5apg and his steal to turnover ration is even.
Dominating? No. Effective? Yes.
“Rondo needs back up”
Sam I Am Cassell – check
“The bench needs experience if the Celtics are going deep into the playoffs”
James Posey, PJ Brown, Sam Cassell – check
“The big 3 will have to play too many minutes and won’t have anything left”
KG – under 34 mpg
Pierce and Ray Ray – 37 mpg
Plenty left in those tanks
“After the big 3 there isn’t enough talent”
There is talent (James Posey, Sam Cassell, PJ Brown and more), there is experience (James Posey, Sam Cassell, PJ Brown and more), and more importantly there is a belief that this is the team that can get it done and bunch of guys who never thought they would have the chance could be playing for rings.
“Brian Scalabrine, member of the NBA champion Boston Celtics” carries a lot of incentive don’t you think?… if you’re Brian Scalabrine.
If that doesn’t convince you try adding the names Leon Powe, Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House, Tony Allen, Scot Pollard and see how motivated they are. And that doesn’t even begin to look at the will to win exhibited by KG, Pierce and Ray Ray who all know they have a small window of opportunity here.
“KG isn’t putting up the numbers he used to”
No he isn’t…. who cares? Peter King (one of the best sportswriters anywhere) from Sports Illustrated wrote in his column this week about the MVP race and I quote him directly:
“I heard Charles Barkley tell Mike and Mike on ESPN radio the other day that his top four NBA MVP candidates would be Kobe Bryant (his winner), LeBron James, Tracy McGrady and Chris Paul. And I thought: The Celtics go from 24 wins last year to 52 this year (with 17 games left) — they’ve won four more games than any team in basketball — and it’s obviously a direct result of the Kevin Garnett acquisition. I don’t care what the stats say, MVP is about who impacts his team the most and leads his team to heights it wouldn’t have reached without him. How do you not have Garnett in your top four?”
Thank you, Peter, could never have put it so articulately myself.
“They play in the weaker conference, wait until the play the big boys out west”
Combined against the Western Conference? 22-4
The Celtics are not the best team ever to grace the courts of the NBA.
They’re not even close to the the best team ever to wear Celtic green, but it is about time that the Celtics stopped being the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA and that they start getting just a little respect.
I don’t need everyone to start agreeing with me that the Celtics are going to win the big show this year (hope springs eternal in Celtic land) but perhaps everyone could stop trotting out the same old tired reasons why they won’t win it all and start conceding that this team is one of only a few that actually has a very real chance of winning it all.
Just remember folks, you heard it here first.
And just in case Larry Legend is worried, you never forget your first kiss, your first love or your first hero…