This just in: the World Champion Boston Celtics have been eliminated from the playoffs by the #2 seed, Orlando Magic. And if youre surprised by these turn of events, youre probably hugging your green Brotherhood t-shirt right now. How could this be? How could one of the most resilient teams in the NBA lose at home to the upstart Magic?
While some would say that not having Kevin Garnett (KG) -- on the floor played a big part in their exit, those with any sense of how this game should be played would look at the structure of the Celtics and realize that a changing of the guard has been in effect since the beginning of the season.
Starting Point Guard, Rajon Rondo was described as a liability during the Championship run last year. Now, Rajon is considered a top-10 point guard in the league, a triple-double generator, and an enforcer of sorts. Just a short time ago, Glen Big Baby Davis was seen on the bench crying the tears of a clown because of his lack of intensity on the court. Now, his shooting range has expanded from 15 to 18 feet, he is becoming a terror under the board, and his clutch game in the final 5 minutes has surpassed any of his Big 3 mentors.
Yes, youve read me right. The environment is changing in Boston, and there is nothing that any of the Big 3 can do about it. All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce caught the NBA off guard last season, steam rolling their competitors on the path toward their first championship ring. And with each Game 7 they endured for that bling, the wear and tear on their nearing past their prime bodies leaked into this season.
Neither player can go hard for 36 minutes, let alone 48. The tale of the first 3 ½ quarters is a tale of conservation of energy and glimpses of their past greatness. Kevin Garnett went hard on Glen Davis after the loss of a huge lead, not because of the threat of losing the game, but for the fact that losing the lead so quickly meant hed have to step back on the court without a full rest. Maybe KG knew something about his knee early on in the season that we didnt.
Ray Allen, wow, what can be said about his game? Boston fans were hoping for the second coming of Jesus (Shuttlesworth) and to their dismay, they have a player that is lights out at a foul line that he hardly makes it to anymore. Ray once put fear in his opponents. His abilities to go clutch at the drop of a dime was the stuff that becoming legendary was made of. Now, defenses are bypassing his talents to defend the streaky Eddie House? Ray misses wide-open dunks, lay-ups and jumpers when an entire Celtics nation needs it most. I wouldnt be surprised if his head is the first one rolling.
And the captain, Paul Pierce, the silent killer on the court, and the heart of this squad is a fighter still. Yet, he has to be the only player in the league that can score 24 points a game and you dont remember any of them. His versatility on the court peeled away as the season went along. Im sure he was playing through an injury because if he had left in his arsenal was on the right side of the top of the key for an elbow jump shot, his driving to the basket on that very same side, minus the explosiveness that made Pierce, The Truth. In a post-game interview, Eddie House took a risk by stating what many Boston and non-Bostonfans were thinking: Rajon Rondo played more like the captain of the team; that the Celtics lived and died on how well Rondo played. Paul Pierce is a survivor and the current face of the Celtics. He just better not miss 20 games next season.
So here is what I suggest to the Celtics nation. Prepare yourself for the next surge three seasons from now. Because it is only a matter of time before Glenn Big Baby Davis, Eddie House and the recently injured Leon Powe are in the starting lineup. And the Big 3? Well the Big 3 will only be seen together doing the Three Amigos Dance on outdated Sportscenter commercials. The only saying is that, All Good Things Must Come to an End. In this case, those good things ended last season.