Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics Win 17th NBA Title

Celtics in NBA Championship"What you expect?!"
The anticipation was built. The broadcasting network seemed all to eager to display their video montages of slow-motion highlights set to grandiose scores fitting a John Williams dream. Phil Jackson hoping to win his 10th Finals to surpass Red Auerbach (famous Celtics coach) in playoff series won. The Celtics poised to win the NBA Finals avoiding Game 7 and earning their 17th NBA title and first championship in 22 years. Commentators speculated about what each team and star players needed to do. The new Boston Garden was packed with not only fans but Celtics legends of yesteryear hoping to once again witness history.

First Quarter: Who's house?

The Lakers got off to a good start scoring first, then setting and maintaining a four point lead early through the first quarter. It seemed every shot they took drained easily barely disturbing the net. And as the Celtics bricked the Lakers made sure to be there to clean up the mess and find the strays a home in the bucket. Kobe Bryant seeming to be on point this evening. A very physical game, the referees notably let the athletes play the game with little interference. A steal from Rajon Rondo to Ray Allen made way for a three from the corner putting the Celtics on the board. It seemed, however, the few points the Celtics could make came from the sparse foul shots given away. Though the Celtics displayed a strong passing game few shots were falling, but they kept pace with the Lakers. With about 8 minutes to go Kevin Garnett pushed off Pau Gasol in the paint to receive a pass from Paul Pierce and make an easy lay up to tie the game. The Celtics' formidable defense for the first quarter was definitely in place forcing sloppy shots from the Lakers and more importantly the Celtics dominated the offensive rebounds and tried to make the most of these opportunities. However late into the first the Celtics were 3/15 shooting. Kobe Bryant on the other hand swished three 3-pointers. A poke in the eye sent Ray Allen out with minutes to go but before the end of the quarter the formula for the night was set in place. Rajon Rondo would force a turnover and the team rush to the other end and make a three-point attempt. Else they made sure to capture the rebound, get it to the other end and free up a good look at a field goal attempt.

Second Quarter: Make a way, take the shot, why not?

The Celtics started the second quarter up four points over the Lakers. Kevin Garnett was given a rest leaving team captain Paul Pierce to get things done with Celtics regulars House, Powe, Posey (a play maker in the post season), and rookie Baron "Big Baby" Davis. Following a strange technical against Celtics' Head Coach Doc Rivers for "complaining", the Celtics stepped up the aggression on their offense. The Celtics pulled away with 7 minutes to go through the second with the aforementioned strategy of making three-pointers off of turnovers. Eddie House drained two in a row to kick off the drive. Garnett powers up in Game 6Essentially capitalizing on three-point opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have. If not drawing fouls attempting to free up a man for a good look at a field goal. Kevin Garnett returned with 6 minutes to go adding a strong inside man to the strategy. The philosophy paid off with the Celtics' seemingly draining every three-point shot or field goal attempted from that point on in the quarter establishing a 26-6 run against the Lakers.

In a halftime interview a reporter asked Paul Pierce 'how did the team have this much energy after the last few days?' To which Pierce responded almost indignantly, "It's the NBA Finals! AND we [are] at home! What [do] you expect?!"

Third Quarter: If it ain't broken...

The commentators welcomed fans back to the "blowout" at the start of the second half. In the third quarter the Celtics' objective seemed to be 'get a 30-point lead'. They were undoubtedly fired up running the court well-ahead of the sluggish Lakers. Garnett directed the traffic as point for the give and go or blocking for the pick and roll offensive maneuvers. "The Celtics are playing like THEIR the team that's down," exclaimed commentators. Rajon Rondo stood out making the big plays and turnovers. In fact, late in the third 25 of the Celtics' 79 points were the result of steals. At that point Rajon Rondo had at least 5 steals. "Rondo has more offensive rebounds than the entire Lakers team," said the commentators. The rest of the quarter seemed like a broken record of "[Insert Celtic], wide open... got it! The Celtics are just taking it to the Lakers."

Rajon Rondo dribbles up the courtFourth Quarter: Game isn't over

Going into the fourth quarter with a 29-point lead the game seemed all but over. This time fans were welcomed back to "the destruction of the LA Lakers". Head Coach Doc Rivers said he was about to tell the team to "just keep playing." The Celtics were not letting up; fiercely competing regardless of the scoreboard and the time remaining. The key seeming to be the defense. All night the Celtics definitely pressured the Lakers. With every Lakers shot attempted they seemed either rushed or off balance. Rondo (smallest dude on the court - 6'1") apparently in control of the tempo, racking up 21 pts, 6 stls, 6 assts midway through the fourth quarter before finally sitting after being poked in the eye. "How many times..." said announcers as Ray Allen sank three-pointer after three pointer from the corners.

With five minutes remaining the Celtics' fan started chanting "Nana Na Na... Nana Na Na... Hey Hey Hey... Goodbye". With four minutes to go Doc Rivers substituted out his three star players. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce subtly celebrating with teammates as they walked off the court (high-fives here, hugs there, smiles all around). With two minutes remaining local commercials were cheerfully telling fans to celebrate responsibly. With one minute to go the rookies were playing street ball on the floor as the commentators speculated about next years Celtics performance. The Celtics lead now stretched to 40 points. Paul Pierce pouring red Gatorade over an unsuspecting Doc Rivers. The final: 131-92.

Celebration: First Home-won Championship since '86Garnett takes in the moment of success

Too much time to dribble out the final seconds the Celtics dribbled it out anyway. With 66 wins the Celtics had accomplished the greatest single-season turnaround in NBA history. An emotional 6'11" new Celtic Kevin Garnett finally an NBA champion. "Man i'm so hype right now. Anything is possible. ANYTHING's POSSIBLE!!" He apologized for his emotion and started making shoutouts capping them off with "top of the world!!" Congratulated his teammates and complimented their skills and additions to this season and acknowledged the tradition of the Celtics team and the responsibility that came with wearing the jersey. Then excused himself to embrace legendary Celtic Bill Russell briefly exchanging "I hope we made you proud." To which Bill Russell answered, "You did, young man. You did." Embracing again KG asked Russell, "Man, now you have to tell me where to go from here!!"

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