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Hail To The Celtics
Celtics Return to Championship
At the outset, let me say this. I was NOT, I repeat NOT, one of these fans who only started watching the Celtics this season after they picked up Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Therefore, I feel completely within my rights to congratulate the Boston Celtics for dispatching the Detroit Pistons in six games, setting the stage for a Boston-L.A. finals. Could this be any better? I suppose it could have been really like the good ol' days if the Celtics' path to the finals had passed through Philadelphia at some point. But we'll take this. I have to admit that I was concerned that it took seven games for the Celtics to dispatch the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. But let's give the Hawks their due credit - they came to play, their fans were psyched, and they put the Celtics on notice that they would actually have to play hard to hoist the 17th Championship Banner in the TD Banknorth Garden.
There was no disgrace going seven games against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even if the Celtics had swept the Hawks, I would have expected that series to go seven games.
But after the Celtics lost their first game at home in the playoffs (game two of the Pistons Series) I have to admit that my faith was starting to shake. Was the Luck of the Irish giving out? They restored my faith by turning the tables on the mighty Pistons returning to Detroit.
Still, I expected this one would go down to the wire just like the other two series had. Could I have imagined that the Celtics would actually win TWO games on the road in the Conference Finals, when they had failed to do so in the two previous series? Not a chance.
And so it was with a heavy heart, as Detroit came out firing in the third quarter and built a 10 point lead early in the 4th quarter, that I switched the channel over to my beloved Red Sox, who were embroiled in an extra innings game against Kevin Millar and the Baltimore Orioles.
Still, I couldn't resist the temptation to see how ugly it had become, and I'm glad that I couldn't! By the time I switched it back to ESPN, the Celtics had tied the game, and Pierce was at the foul line giving them a lead they would never lose.
I am sure if Doc Rivers has studied his Patriots' counterpart at all that as I write this he is busy telling his boys that they haven't won anything yet. And this is most definitely true. When you have a long storied history such as both the Lakers and the Celtics have enjoyed, you know that they don't hang Conference Championship banners in the Garden. You've got some work to do boys - Kobe and the Lakers await you!