“This is a dream come true, and I’m going to cherish this forever.”–Captain Clutch.
That’s the first word that comes to mind in summing up both the Boston Celtics’ game 6 NBA Championship clincher and the season as a whole. Boston refused to believe the alpha dog theory that has hung in the air like His Airness since MJ established himself as unbeatable. The best team won last night. The best player lost.
Crisp passing, dependable defensive rotations, unselfish decisionmaking, accountability: the 2008 Boston bunch personified the definition of Celtic Basketball.
While the Celtics handed in a quintessential performance, Kobe and Krew submitted a virtuoso white flag waving no show. After a hot start from profundity, Kobe cooled off, and his Laker teammates gave him no reason to believe passing them the ball would result in anything but missed opportunities. Instead, aided by dominant Boston defense, Kobe missed shots. The most prolific active scorer in the entire Association ended his season with 22 points on 22 shots, and averaged 25.7 points per game on .405 shooting for the series–by far his worst numbers of the postseason, and this after owning the superior Western Conference.
Meanwhile, Kobe’s counterparts, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, perfectly played their pivotal roles. Each scored plenty, and in his own unique way. Pierce from the line, in the paint, and when the moment called for it, from deep; Allen on fantastic finishes at the rim and raining jumpers that seemed to fall from the heavens. A point somewhat lost during all the proclamations of “sacrificing” personal stats is this relationship. Allen and Pierce used to play the same position, and put up similar numbers, but their differences allowed the Celtics a chance at resurgence.
Pierce is a physical beast, country strong. He maneuvers by defenders almost at will, always awkwardly and at his pace. He can rebound and score from the post. And he’s a bit of a wild child, who has matured just in the nick of time.
The man known as Jesus has borderline OCD. Literally. He’s meticulous to a fault; but that fault leads to the purest stroke the world of basketball may have ever seen. He can run the point in a pinch, and prefers the perimeter.
The combination of these two, along with the ever-aquiescent offensive game of The Big Ticket, formed the foundation of an 82-win squad. Pierce seamlessly slid down the from the shooting guard slot to small forward, and he and Allen responded to Garnett’s dogged defensive determination.
Add a dose of Big Game James Posey and sharpshooting Eddie House, a Cousy wannabe at the point, a physical warrior at the pivot, some scrappy bench players who scoff at adversity, a bit of Ubuntu from Doc Rivers, and Tom Thibodeau’s defensive brilliance, and it would be, in theory, perfect.
As the rout of a formidable opponent from the NBA’s dominant conference displayed in game 6, it was.
Turn a group of misfits that netted just 24 wins a year ago into an all-time great team capable of raising banner 17?
As KG shouted at the top of his lungs, having just informed legend Bill Russell he wouldn’t be taking up the eleven-time champion’s offer of a championship ring as a gift, “Anything’s possible!”
Light one up from heaven, Red.