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News » 2009 NBA PLAYOFFS


What's the point, really? The Celtics have about as much of a chance of winning the NBA title as Susan Boyle does of hooking up with Clay Buchholz. Why drag this out?

A year ago, Kevin Garnett screamed ``Anything's possible,'' but he was wearing a sweat-soaked Celtics uniform when he screamed it. Now he wears a jacket and tie and mostly screams obscenities from the bench.

When they wake up this morning and drag their tired and sore selves out of bed, do any of the Celtics honestly believe they can win another banner? Didn't they see how the Pistons, last year's runner-up in the Eastern Conference, understood their situation and opted to lay down like dogs - or worse, like Canadiens - against the Cavaliers? The Celtics can do this the hard way or the easy way, as they say in the talkies. Why put themselves through such misery?

Cleveland made it through the first round without breathing hard, and the Cavs are just waiting to see whom they're going to eviscerate in the next two rounds before their scheduled rendezvous with Kobe's Lakers in the NBA Finals. If the Celtics somehow, miracle of miracles, get through this series with the Bulls and the next round, the Cavs will pound them into the offseason like Lucic pounded Komisarek, like the UConn women pounded everyone. It won't be pretty.

Then again, the Celtics probably don't have to worry about Cleveland because we can't expect them to get past Orlando. The Magic men are struggling against Philadelphia, but they still have a great big man in Dwight Howard. The Celtics , meanwhile, have, well, big man. Like, one legitimate, large-bodied, low-post guy who can muscle up an opposing 7-footer. That would be Kendrick Perkins.

Big Baby Davis is contributing more than anyone imagined, but he's about a half-foot shorter than Rashard Lewis, who plays shooting guard for Orlando. When we hear announcers note that coach Doc Rivers is ``going small,'' we can't help but wonder: As opposed to what? More Mikki Moore?

Rivers has no choice and the Celtics have no chance, which is why there has never been a Celtics team more deserving of respect and admiration than this one. Hell, it's easy to leave it all out on the floor when you've got a healthy Garnett and homecourt and an NBA title within reach. It's like dropping a fat German lady into the polar bear cage. Of course, he's going after her. It's instinct.

Of course, the Celtics kicked like Salina Kosgei down the stretch last season. They could smell the championship, which was something none of the stars of that team ever had experienced. Sports immortality was within their grasp. Who wouldn't run through a wall if he knew there were diamond rings and parades on the other side? (See: J.D. Drew, 2007 Red Sox postseason).

These Celtics are running through walls and fighting through picks even though LeBron James waits on the other side with a sledgehammer. That is their reward, but somehow it doesn't matter to Ray Allen or Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo. Round 1 is no different from Round 2 or Round 3 or the NBA Finals. I know, it's their job. They get paid many millions to give their best effort every night. But last we checked, the Pistons weren't playing for the love of the game, and neither were the Canadiens. They all get paid millions. They don't all earn it.

The Celtics lost a heartbreaking Game 4 in double overtime, but go back and look at the tape of the game. Tell me how often you see Allen give up on a play on the defensive end. You will count two or three times that Gordon quits after getting picked. ``That's not good enough,'' shouted Jeff Van Gundy - the best TV analyst in his sport, maybe in any sport - after a wide-open Allen knocked down a 3-pointer off a pick. In Game 3, we all watched as Gordon gave up and let Big Baby roll down the floor for a dunk.

Allen is almost 34 years old. He is an NBA champ, a nine-time All-Star, a future Hall of Famer. He has nothing left to prove, and yet he is not just outplaying his fellow UConn alum, he's outworking him. Yes, he should have fouled John Salmons in overtime Sunday, but that was a mental mistake. No lack of effort there. No lack of effort anywhere on this team. Has anyone ever said, ``That's not good enough,'' after watching a replay of Ray Allen doing ANYTHING?

Can they keep it up? It is a good question. Pierce has shown many times that he has what it takes, and so have Allen and Rondo and the rest of this team. Maybe they don't have enough big men, but we'll say this for the Celtics : They have big ones.

Big hearts, to be sure.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009


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