Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boston Celtics Win It All!

And the Boston Celtics are your 2007-2008 NBA Champs! They just wanted it more, plain and simple. This series was ugly and not very entertaining, but for a team like the Celtics it had to be just that for them to win. The "Big Three" had their moments (never really on the same night) but it was more about the contributions from guys like James Posey and Eddie House and other bench players. They didn't always have great numbers, but they did the little things that you HAVE to do in order to win a championship. The way the Lakers kept leaving James Posey and Eddie House open was just mind boggling. I swear all of Posey's shots came from the exact same spot. At least that's how it seems.
Before this series started I, like many others thought the Lakers would win. They were playing fantastic in the playoffs while the Celtics were being pushed around by everyone they faced. The Lakers had all the momentum and it translated into exactly nothing.
Boston won the first two games at home, then the Lakers won Game 3, gave up a 24 point lead in Game 4 then barely won Game 5. The Celtics ran them out of the gym in Game 6 and the rest is history.
This series redefined a lot of Celtic's careers.
KG is now a champion. That's deep because I was pretty convinced he'd join the likes of Karl Malone and Charles Barkley by being one of the best players to never win a championship. He no longer has to worry about that. He wasn't great in the Finals by any stretch of the imagination, but he was decent and for the first time in his career that was enough. He also convinced a whole team to play defense. That in and of itself is amazing. When you can get Sam Cassell to give you a solid defensive effort you've done something correct. You could argue that his teammates were afraid he might actually kill them if they didn't play defense, but either way they got it done. Someone better check on KG over the next couple of days because his head might actually explode.
Paul Pierce was the closest thing to amazing the Celtics had all series long. He went from needing reconstructive knee surgery in Game 1, to Finals MVP in Game 6. You couldn't have scripted it any better than that. The Celtics loyalty to him FINALLY paid off. Most teams just don't wait that long. If Paul Pierce had played in any number of other places he probably would have been traded a couple of years ago. They held onto him and after a few years of making him play in a situation where they were sorta kinda rebuilding, Danny Ainge made a couple of big trades and gave him a legitimate chance to win a championship.
Ray Allen doesn't have to become the next Reggie Miller. He even went all "He Got Game" on the Lakers a few times in the series. I guess when the only thing standing between you and the rim is Sasha Vujacic it tends to make you a little more aggressive.
PJ Brown finally got a championship after being in the league for 37 years. Gotta love that.
Sam Cassell bought his way into his 3rd ring. I'm not mad at him though.
I can't say enough about Brian Scalabrine....................
The person I feel happiest for is Doc Rivers. We needed another black coach to have the ultimate success. He pressed all the right buttons throughout this series. He actually out coached Phil Jackson, don't believe anything else. Even if he didn't always have the right lineups out there he at least made damn sure they played hard. That's something Phil was not able to do with the Lakers. Doc said all the right things to the media, but deep down inside I don't think he was worried at all about half of the things he kept harping on. Kobe Bryant in particular. He was determined to not let Kobe beat them and his team got that message loud and clear. He lost his father early in the season so he probably never really had a chance to mourn. The fact that he was able to hold it together for so long in the interest of leading a group of men to accomplish something great is tremendous.

This series also redefined (maybe only temporarily) at least 2 Laker's careers.
Remember that look in Kobe's eyes I told you all about? Well I thought it was fire, but it turns out it was probably just a little touch of pink eye. Hey, they look the same.
Losing this series was not all Kobe's fault. You can never really pin a series loss on one guy, but someone has to take the blame so congratulations Kobe, it's you! No one is going to remember the fact that Lamar Odom didn't decide to join you in the Finals until Game 3 and then shortly after he disappeared again. No one is going to remember Sasha's inability to stop shooting when he was clearly having an off night. We've already tried to pretend like the Chris Mihm experiment never even happened even though you won that game. We'll forget about how clumsy Pau Gasol seemed throughout the series. We'll also forget about Derrick Fisher's ineffectiveness.
No one is going to remember any of that.
All anyone is going to remember is that you lost in back to back trips to the NBA Finals.
You talked about how you gave your teammates some of your DNA, well obviously it didn't take because I didn't see not one Laker other than you who had the look or the effort of a player who did not want to lose. KG was able to instill something real into his teammates, unfortunately you were not.
Will the Lakers be one of the favorites to win it all next season? Sure, but that won't erase the ass whippin you took in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals from anyone's memory. Luckily for you there's still time for you to right this wrong. It's not like you've never won a championship, but since most people try to minimize your role during the championship years of the Lake Show you need to win one without Shaq to convince everyone of how great you really are.
Phil Jackson a.k.a. The Zen Master got out coached by Doc Rivers. Period. He'll have to wait at least another year for that 10th championship ring. He deserves it for coaching this team like it's November when clearly it's June.

The Celtics were the best team all season long and they were rewarded with a championship.
Congratulations Boston.
Party all night.
Set the city on fire.


Anonymous said...

I can see from your write up that you were as disgusted and bewildered as I was. I picked the Lakers to win as well. I'm certainly no Phil Jackson fan - so I'm not even remotely disappointed that the Lakers lost, but the way they played has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Garnett's decision to wait until Game 6 to impose his will offensively is illuminating. I said, over at TSF, that he would not be vindicated in this series because the Lakers simply didn't have the personnel to challenge him. In many respects, his approach remains an open book precisely because the game has changed so much.

In a series where the Celtics had a clear power advantage over the Lakers, Boston set a record for made three-pointers. It's a different game. I'm happy for many of the Celtics players and Coach Rivers -- but there was something uniquely ugly about this series.

Perhaps it was Coach Zen's inability or unwillingness to adjust. Perhaps it was the perpetual Charmin (not Shaolin) style of the Who-Tang Clan (Pau, Lamar, Vlad, Luke, Ronnie). Perhaps it was the early round jitters of the Big Three that made everyone forget they were OVERWHELMING favorites to win a title for most of the season.

Whatever it was - I have an empty feeling that is mixed with a true appreciation for what these great players attempted to do this season. Sometimes, it's really all about a pocket full of Posey's.

CoCo said...

Something I probably should have mentioned is the sense of entitlement the Lakers played with and you could see it in their fans as well. Not once in this series did Boston play in a hostile environment. For 3 games straight the Lakers fans treated this like it was a game in November. I don't think the Lakers took the Celtics lightly (at least I hope they didn't) but they did not play like a championship was on the line. One of the biggest differences is the fact that the Celtics made their most crucial mistakes early in the game so they were almost always able to recover. The Lakers made their most crucial mistakes late in games so they didn't have time to recover. I expected a lot more from the series, but oh well.

TADOne said...

As good as the regular season was, these Finals were truly awful. I'm not a fan of either team, but the regular season greatness of both tems didn't translate into June. Regardless, I'm glad KG won a ring. I hope everyone will realize that the East is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, regular season records be damned. Other than a few teams, the bulkf of the West teams don't play defense. In the East they do. All season long. Most teams do it out of necessity, but the top teams realize the importance of defense come playoff time. Doc recognized this, and the Celtics are champions because of it.

JOANNE said...