“They are going to get beat by Cleveland.” “They are washed up and old.” “Orlando will dominate them.” I have heard these words throughout the regular season and the playoffs. I have managed to bleed green throughout the good times and more importantly the bad times. There was a time where I thought Boston wouldn’t be able to flip the switch for the playoffs. But I stuck it out. When D-Wade was killing us single handedly, I stuck it out. When the Gang Green faced the team with the best regular season record, I stuck it out. When everybody and their mother here in Orlando were bragging about how bad the Magic were going to beat us, I stuck it out. Look at Boston now all you non believers! We are one win away from the NBA Finals!
How did the Celtics do it exactly? What fountain of youth were they drinking from? Well allow me to break things down for you! First, the Celtics never stopped believing for one moment that they can compete for another championship. Doc Rivers has his team focused and poised. Now there were glimpses of lack of focus and discipline throughout the regular season. But thanks to great coaching and veteran leadership from Kevin Garnett, the Celtics were able to stay hungry before the playoffs.
The next ingredient for our recipe for success clearly is the great play from Rajon Rondo. The guy has been leading his troops to victory. Whether it is dropping assists like crazy, playing shut down defense, crashing the offensive and defensive glass, out hustling people for loose balls (sorry J-Will), or hitting the occasional jump shot. Rondo definitely has been turning skeptics into believers. I still am very thankful that we didn’t trade him away!
The last contributing factor to the C’s success is their strong defense. They are playing with an intensity that far surpasses their last championship team. It seems like there is a rare hero that steps up on defense in each series. Guys like Tony Allen shadowing D-Wade, Perkins/Sheed keeping Dwight frustrated , KG shutting Rashard Lewis down, or Rondo just harassing every opposing point guard. The point is that Boston goes into each series/game and devises a plan. When that plan doesn’t work they quickly make adjustments. A team with a scheme becomes very dangerous.
Even if you are a hater, you have to give credit where it is due. The Celtics are playing great basketball. If they keep this up they will be hoisting another championship banner in the Gah-den!