After a strong, draining second half of the 2011-12 season, the Boston Celtics carried a two-game winning streak momentum going into the playoffs. Thus, stepping into the right direction taking two tough playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks (in six games) and the Philadelphia 76ers (in seven games).
In result to a monster playoff run, the 2008 champions are battling the Dynamic Duo for another crack at an NBA championship.
Although many analysts and insiders have said the "Big Three" can't overcome "father time," soley clinching a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals is pure evidence why days of the era are not taken accountable.
Additionally, this year would be considered the easiest road through the finals due to Chicago's Derrick Rose tearing his ACL, Orlando's Dwight Howard calling it a season, and Miami's Chris Bosh ailing from an abdominal strain he endured in the Indiana series.
Looking through the magnifying glass, this year's finals series and possibly beyond, will be the hardest and roughest obstacle the Boston Celtics will ever have to hurdle through. All due to the unknown future of the era and having to go through the 2012 Most Valuable Player LeBron James, and potentially, Oklahoma City's amazing superstar Kevin Durant or San Antonio's veteran big man Tim Duncan.
Similar to the Western Conference Finals, the series' theme is essentially the young guns versus the old dogs. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have all sorts of injuries at age 34, 36 and 36.
With Ray Allen's contract expiring this summer, the Celtics must have a mindset to win now. It is very unlikely that a deal will be signed, sealed and delivered (unless it is the veteran minimum).
Allen had an extraordinary 2011-12 season posting 14.2 points per game along with 3.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. The 15-year spot shooter has been injured throughout the whole playoffs suffering from bone spurs, but at this rate Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are carrying most of the load off his bummed ankle.
Speaking of the Big Ticket, he is having arguably one of the greatest seasons in his 16 years in the league. His presence on both of the sides is pivotal and enormous. Garnett has developed his 16-18 foot jump shot into his character. He uses his height to his advantage by shooting over smaller figures on the court.
Essentially, his jump shot transforms into players biting for the fake so it is easy to fly to the rim. The power forward has averaged an astonishing 19.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
His wish like every other is to win his second championship of his career, but at age 36 he doesn't really have years to play with. It is now or never. "Anything's possible."
The last member of the "Big Three" is the captain, Paul Pierce. The Truth has been lingered by a knee injury he suffered in the Atlanta series. His demeanor throughout this playoffs has been amazing to say the least. He is the youngest member of three, but what makes him exceptionally special is down the stretch, in clutch moments. With that, once again he fouled out in a crucial moment at the end of Game 2.
Regardless, the former Jayhawk has been displaying a strong series against the Heat, especially after experiencing a sub-par performance in the first two games against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Currently, the "aging" Celtics find themselves down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. As the series moves to Boston, look for the "Big Three" to truly come alive. There has been dominating performances by the elite point guard Rondo and veteran big man Garnett, so look for Paul Pierce to stay on the court and gain control for his troops.
After a dramatic overtime loss, Boston will have to secure these next two games at home to stay alive. If not, Doc Rivers' team will once again be on the outside looking in in consecutive years. The Celtics must envision now, not imagine or thinking what if.
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