My Boston Celtics have been fighting valiantly against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, but the Cavs are just too damn good (thanks to the veritable, de facto Most Valuable Player and coach of the year, LeBron James). Sure, a series doesn’t truly begin until a home team loses, but the Cavs are toying with the C’s.
Does anybody else feel like Kyrie Irving doesn’t get the respect he deserves? He played at Duke for six minutes, long enough to wolf down a BLT sandwich and he spent the first three years of his NBA career dazzling the bitter fans in Cleveland and staying out of the national spotlight (mostly because, before LeBron’s return, nobody in America gives a shit about Cleveland). He has this Russell Westbrook-esque quality where he can concoct any shot he wants. He’s creative as hell on the offensive side of the ball. LeBron’s return has been a gamechanger for him.
No surprise, really. LeBron James is an elevator, unlike, say, Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. Before I tangentially go in five different directions and fail to make my intended point, LeBron being compared to MJ is the biggest misnomer ever. I know that MJ is widely considered to be the greatest of all-time, but LeBron is and has always been a pass-first player, somebody who’s more comparable to a Magic Johnson, an elevator. You can bet your bottom dollar that most players in the NBA would rather play with a LeBron in his prime over a Kobe in his prime, just because they know they’d see the light of day with the basketball. LeBron’s style is smiley, smiley “let’s contribute together!” Kobe’s is more harsh, isolated and singular. I’m not bashing Kobe, this time. It’s worked for him, considering that he wields five NBA Finals rings. I’m just throwing that out there.
Most Celtics fans harbor a special kind of hate for LeBron, thanks to what he did to our boys in 2011 and especially 2012. I mean, 2012 was the last fucking year, the last effing chance in this period of NBA history, to see the Celtics go back to another NBA Finals with that group of guys (Pierce, Garnett, Allen, Rondo, Doc) and LeBron crushed that chance, that dream. If that doesn’t define greatness on his behalf, I don’t know what does. Beating the Celtics was his last big obstacle en route to winning his first title when the Miami Heat crushed the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals that year.
This year’s Celtics don’t have the stars.
They are fun to watch. Great team chemistry. Brad Stevens is kicking ass as a head coach in the pros.
Stars win in the NBA. Don’t be a homer. Don’t be a dipshit. Don’t point out the San Antonio Spurs’ “team game” (Tim Duncan is top 7, possibly top 5, of all-time, player-wise). Look at championship teams of the past and you can see they wield stars. You can cite the 2004 Detroit Pistons, but they are an anomaly — they matched up against a dysfunctional LA Lakers team that still leaves me surprised they (the Lakers that year) were in the Finals due to the dissention going on that season. This Celtics team doesn’t have any stars — just really, really good, young players. Marcus Smart has the potential to be an all-star, but I feel like he’ll never be one of the top stars in the league. I’d love to be proved wrong, though.