The Boston Celtics are the 7-seed in the eastern conference playoffs and they’ll be facing an old rival in LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Usually on a day like today, I’d be rambling on about tonight’s UFC Fight Night on Fox (official picks: Machida via KO or decision, Paige VanZant by decision and Jacare Souza by obliteration over the brave soul that is Chris Camozzi), but my Celtics rallied to make the playoffs and they’ll be playing tomorrow.
Ah, y’know, this time of the year takes me back. Way back to 2008, which feels like ten minutes ago to me. “Seven years ago”, you say? That’s hard to believe. That was a magical time period. The Celtics were at the top of the NBA world after finishing the regular season with 66 wins. Their playoff run was thrilling that year. Listen, I’m rapidly approaching my mid-20s, so I obviously wasn’t around to witness the Celtics doing their thing in the late ’50s, all throughout the ’60s, and the bigtime ’80s run where they ruled the basketball world with the Los Angeles Lakers. When the 2007 season rolled around, following the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett (who, in the past, on NBA video games, I’d always trade for!) and Ray Allen, hope was brought about.
The seven game series between the Celtics and Cavs in the second round of the eastern conference playoffs in 2008 heated up quickly in the seventh game when Paul Pierce and LeBron James had a back-and-forth scoring attack where they’d both answer each other’s bucket with one of their own. I’ll never forget that.
I’ll never forget the way the Celtics booted LeBron James out of Cleveland after they sent him and the Cavs on his/their way in the second round of the 2010 eastern conference playoffs.
And then, well, in 2011, as a member of the Miami Heat, LeBron James and Co. decimated the oft-injured Celtics and smacked them right out of the playoffs. I don’t want to talk about 2012 — that shit still hurts! A 3-2 series lead blown because LeBron James couldn’t stop hosting his revenge tour against my C’s.
It’s been a while. Three years since the Celtics have met up with LeBron James. The song remains the same, but the scenery has changed. Doc Rivers is the Los Angeles Clippers head coach. Paul Pierce is a Wizard (what the fuck? He’ll always be a Celtic). Kevin Garnett is back in Minnesota. Ray Allen is nowhere to be seen. Rajon Rondo is a Dallas Maverick.
This team wields a bunch of fucking misfits, right? Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Brandon Bass, Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, the newly acquired Isaiah Thomas (sixth man of the year, anyone?), Jae Crowder…
This Celtics team finished with the second best post-All Star game record in the league at 23-12, only behind the… Cavaliers… at 26-9. I’ve loved watching them play. I must give Brad Stevens credit, because he has all these young guys playing with a formidable chemistry. Selfishness isn’t apparent on the court. It’s almost like a younger repertoire of the Celtics’ adage of old, “Ubuntu”.
Surely this series will at least go six games.
Though, I’d rather see the Celtics pull off the upset (of course). The city of Cleveland doesn’t deserve to sniff a Larry O’Brien trophy.