The Boston Celtics had one of the best scoring quarters of any team in the playoffs putting up 35 points allowing them to go into halftime with the game. Outside of that sole quarter the Celtics though competitive were out played and looked like a team that was a step slow. The Celtics have had a great run, but there comes a time were all great teams have the torched ripped from their grasps.
That time for the Celtics is now.
The Heat beat the Celtics last year in 5 games, exercising demons that had haunted LeBron from his days in Cleveland where it seemed as if he couldn’t beat the proverbial big brother. Well the little brother has gotten better and went down to Miami to connect with his cousins and they are on their way to sending the Celtics home again for a second straight season.
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However the Celtics have no reason to hang their head, with the odds against them they weren’t supposed to even make it this far. At the beginning of the season they miss out on free agent David West because David Stern and the NBA vetoed the Chris Paul trade which didn’t allow the Celtics and New Orleans Hornets to complete a sign and trade for West. Then the Celtics lose their young power forward Jeff Green for the season due to a heart condition. Make matters worse, during the season they lose another big man Chris Wilcox to a heart condition which would put him on the sidelines. Add insult to injury, Jermaine O’Neal gets injured and is eventually released. That’s three big men that you can’t completely replace. Factor in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have been battling injuries all playoffs, it’s nothing short of a miracle that they have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. And it goes to show you the kind of fight they have in them to persevere through all the turbulence of this lockout shortened season.
Nonetheless, all great runs come to an end. The 49ers in the late 80’s ran into the Giants and Cowboys of the 90’s only to rebound and win 1 more championship in 1994. Don’t forget the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers ceding their dominance to M.J. to start his first 3peat. The Chicago Bulls even had to relinquish their strangle hold on the NBA once Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson left.
What the Celtics have done the last 5 years should be celebrated; 1 NBA championship, 2 NBA Finals appearances, never making it shorter than the second round of the playoffs, all this done while on the back end of your career. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce all could’ve played elsewhere, made more money, and fed into their ego. However they put all that to the side to win, understanding that they could no longer do it alone after years of trying.
Yes, theoretically they still have a chance to win one more title, but the odds are clearly against them. Avery Bradley, their best perimeter defender is out the remainder of the playoffs, and Ray Allen is in one of the worse shooting slumps of his career. But instead of looking at the Celtics and feeling sorry for them, let’s celebrate what they have accomplished with skill and maturity. They play injured, hurt and shorthanded and still find a way to win through it all.