Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Boston Three Party is finally over - great Celtics run!

I can't believe the Boston Celtics will start the 2013-2014 NBA season with any of Paul PierceKevin GarnettRay Allen and Doc Rivers. The Boston Three Party is over. It was great while it lasted and relived the Boston Celtics' days as a relevant force on the NBA scene. It reached a peak with the Celtics' 17th championship (still one more than the Lakers) at the end of a magical season that could not be scripted perfectly.

After some years of middling around the NBA, the new Big 3 was born via a flurry of trades in the 2007 offseason. Real Boston Celtics fans would know about the original big 3 of Larry Bird, Kevin Mchale and Robert Parish. They carried the 80's Celtics to 3 championships and a renewed salivating rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2007 draft, Boston was expectant. Greg Oden would be entering the NBA. He was being touted as the next big man who would lead a team to multiple rings. After missing out on Tim Duncan 10 years earlier, the Celtics were due some luck to gain a huge talent from the draft. If Oden was unavailable, there was this lean mean Kevin Durant kid who was the next best small forward after Lebron James. Well, the Celtics were going to be drafting 5th. Lottery laughs at Beantown. Might as well have thrown beans at the Celtics front office. The Green team packaged the 5th pick (who became Jeff Green) to the Seattle Supersonics for Ray Allen to create a sound environment for Paul Pierce while keeping their top players too. After unsuccessfully getting Kevin Garnett earlier that year, KG accepted a trade to the Celtics to join Pierce and Allen in exchange for the rest of the Celtics minus one Rajon Rondo guy.

3 franchise players who had carried their teams into the playoffs but never really into the games that mattered most and were played in June. Basketball fans fleeced Kevin Mchale for doing his old team a favour for gifting the Celtics KG to build this star-studded trio. Not close. Al Jefferson and like 8 players had gone the other way. People worried about how the Big 3 would mesh and play together. Who would the point guard be? Would the Celtics have enough past the Big 3? Could Doc Rivers do a good job with these stars? Kevin Garnett made many more people notice his prowess as a defensive player. He won the Defensive Player of the Year. People started to realize Ray Allen might end up having a better career than Reggie Miller. Paul Pierce was now the superstar amongst superstars. The Boston Three Party was born with invited guests. Kendrick Perkins was serviceable and Rajon Rondo shut all doubters. James Posey and PJ Brown contributed too.

Interestingly, the Eastern Conference was there for the taking. Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had been to the Finals in 2007 but were outclassed by the San Antonio Spurs so it was clear they were not ready yet. The Detroit Pistons were coming off their peak which yielded a 2004 ring. Dwyane Wade was not enough for the Miami Heat to contend, neither was Dwight Howard there yet with the Orlando Magic. The Celtics were favourites for the NBA title from day 1. They played like it. They jumped out to a great record by Christmas and it was clear that the experiment was working. They completed a sweep of the Texas three-step, and won several big games on the way to a 66-16 season with the biggest turnaround in wins in NBA history.

The Celtics had homecourt throughout the playoffs and more playoff games coming to TD Garden. The playoffs came around and the Atlanta Hawks took the Celtics to a Game 7 in the first round. Unexpected but needed. Each NBA champion must go through some tough times together. If the Celtics didn't get those tough first couple of rounds, they don't win rings in 2008. They faced the next best NBA player in Lebron James, who must have wondered how he had so much less talent around him in Cleveland. The Celtics ended the Chosen One's interest in the NBA that season. The Detroit Pistons were next. Experience for experience. Hunger won. The Three Musketeers proceeded to meet the regular season MVP, Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers who had shafted the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals? Heaven on earth for basketball. Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen had some 'history'. There was further drama with how Paul Pierce fearlessly and miraculously came back from injuries sustained within the Finals. The Celtics dominated the Lakers and wiped the floor of the TD Garden with Phil Jackson's team with a 34 point pummeling in Game 6. That gave birth to this video that will live famously forever. "Anything is Impossible! Top of the World!"

The next season was an expectant one for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett got injured though and limited the Celtics. Without the soul of the team barking out defensive orders, the Celtics suffered a bit and the 2009 season ended with a playoff exit at the hands of Orlando Magic with a better defensive anchor in Dwight Howard. 2010 followed with a healthier Kevin Garnett and even better Rajon Rondo who began racking up triple doubles and was causing the Big 3 to change into Four Loko. The season would have very likely ended up in a championship for Boston if Kendrick Perkins hadn't gotten injured in the finals. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics in the last couple of Finals Games and repeated as champions.

The Celtics were always going to be contenders with the Big 3 + Rajon Rondo around. In the 2010 offseason, The Miami Heat assembled a younger Big 3, one that prophesized not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 championships. The Heatles had arrived with Lebron James and Chris Bosh joining forces with Dwyane Wade in the biggest free agent coup ever known to basketball fans. Lebron James finally ended his Celtics hoodoo in 2011 but had to watch Jason Kidd, Peja Stojakovic, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban collect their first championship rings. The Celtics remained relevant, getting to the 2012 Eastern Finals and losing to the Miami Heat again. In 2013, with Ray Allen gone, Kevin Garnett limited and their now top player Rajon Rondo injured, the Celtics didn't make it past the first round.

The Paul Pierce era could have continued. He and Kevin Garnett wanted to retire as Celtics. That won't happen with them gone to Brooklyn. Thanks to the Big 3 for the memories though. Boston had a great run, coupled with one championship.
Post a Comment

Disqus for The Vim Views & Versions - Blogs of a MIghTy African