There is no doubt that just about no one in Boston thought the Celtics were capable of getting as far as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Final this season. With Miami and Chicago in the East, it seemed like a daunting task.
Even at the trade deadline, just about anyone would have told you that Danny would make a deal to move at least one of the Big Three. There were extensive conversations of shipping either Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, or even long-time captain Paul Pierce out of town to plan for the future.
However, here we are fully engulfed in professional basketball still heading into the month of June. Boston thought we’d all be hitting the ice rink at this time of year instead of the hard court.
The Celtics are on a tough streak heading into Game 2. After a couple ugly games to finish out the Philadelphia series (thanks to the Sixer’s inability to hit free-throws mostly), the C’s flopped in the second half of Game 1 and allowed Miami to take off with the game after being tied at halftime.
The good news is that it is always safe to bet on the Celtics after a big loss like that. Most of the team simply did not perform in Game 1 besides Kevin Garnett with his double-double and glimpses of success from Rondo… glimpses.
Ray Allen doesn’t seem to have much left in the tank, but who can blame him. Playing on ankles that are not only as aged and worn as his but with bone spurs requiring surgery immediately as soon as the season ends, Jesus Shuttlesworth is not the player we know him to be. Shooting 60% from the free-throw line and making fans cringe with every three he puts up simply is not the Allen that has made his millions doing just those two things.
Paul Pierce had a lack-luster first game that can literally only get better going forward. The bench has been all but fill-ins throughout the playoffs. And poor Doc Rivers just looks like he wants to get out on the court himself and get it done.
The one thing driving Celtics fans to believe in this team is their pure will. When Paul Pierce fouled out of Game 7 against Philly with the score just about even, Rondo blasted his game to another level and brought Boston to a 10 point win.
While no one in their right mind is picking the Celtics to win this series against the Miami Heat, fans are simply overjoyed to get to watch this team play a few more games together before they almost inevitably get broken up.
It feels weird to even write that as it seems we have said this after just about every of the last three seasons but this season just seems different. The players know what the deal is and it certainly has not escaped the mind of the fans.
When it comes down to it, it seems that pure will should allow the Celtics to pull out at least a game or two in this series. The magical moments that will undoubtedly occur on the parquet within the next week should be nothing less than Oscar-worthy.
No one will look at the ending of this series, no matter what happens, as a failure. For this team to get this far and do what they have done for this long is nothing short of remarkable.
For once, lets simply enjoy a team of ours. Watching them battle on the court. Love them for who they are, win or lose. Cheer for them no matter what happens. And let the Big Three era team know that we are appreciative of what they have given us for the past five years.
Win or lose, this team has heart and love for this city and this city needs to reciprocate.