The Boston Celtics' 2007-08 season has seemed like something out of a feel-good Disney sports movie. The down-on-their-luck fan base has been energized by the overnight turnaround which was sparked by one of the biggest overhauls of a franchise in years.
Fans who had been chanting "Fire Doc" less than a year ago, can be found on discussion boards across the Internet explaining why he, and not Byron Scott, deserves to be named Coach of the Year.
GM Danny Ainge was known for having an amazing eye for talent in the draft, however, his trades were kryptonite for the C's. This year, Ainge finally learned some serious respect in the realm of trades. Previously his largest trades had involved shipping Antoine Walker off...and then getting him back.
If you really sit back and think about it, Danny Ainge traded one potential franchise player (Al Jefferson), a handful of average players, and the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft (Jeff Green) for Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and a late second round pick where he could again showcase his skill in finding gems late in the draft (Glen "Big Baby" Davis). Not to mention, all of this was done in time to attract serious free agency interest in Boston amongst key veterans before the season started.
The result... defensive-minded James Posey brought his championship experience to Boston, Eddie House came with his quick release and deadly shooting from behind the arc, and Scott Pollard brought his bad back, ankle, and knees. It's like that Meatloaf song says..."two out of three, ain't bad". This also paved the way for the late season addition of Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown.
As a lifetime Celtics fan who has spent most of his life watching a struggling franchise attempt the slow climb back to dynasty status, even I have been amazed at how the 2007-2008 season seems to be a gift from above orchestrated by No. 2 himself, the late Red Auerbach.
Although if he were around, Red would probably complain that the C's "don't shoot enough" or that "they're slow up the court". Nothing was ever quite good enough for Red... until he was able to victoriously smoke the last cigar of the season with his trademark villainous open-mouthed smile and faraway gaze.
Whether or not this season has been a gift for the Celtics... it's sure seemed that way at times. Not only have the Celtics won... they've won big.
The Celtics faced criticism early this season that the Eastern Conference was weak and they wouldn't be able to compete with the Western Conference. What did the C's do? The started off 16-0 against the dominant conference. On top of this, they completed what was incomprehensible just a year ago... a sweep of the difficult "Texas Triangle" road trip.
Winning out on the Texas Triangle road trip wasn't enough for the Celtics though. Not only did they end the 22-game dominance of the Houston Rockets, but they did so in a 20 point blowout. Boston finished 6-0 against the Texas teams this season.
Boston is also one of two teams to have defeated every other franchise in the NBA this season (the Utah Jazz accomplished this feat first). Boston started the season on a win-streak which placed them No. 1 overall in the NBA. They never looked back...
It all came down to April 5th.
What's so important about April 5th? Good question... I scoured the Internet to find out the answer.
Facebook informs me that none of my friends have birthdays today... so that can't be it.
The History Channel's website believes that I should know it's the day that Pocahontas married John Rolfe back in 1614... hardly seems all that relevant to the conversation at hand.
A random horoscope web page claims that Gen. Colin Powell turns 71 today and Allen Ginsberg passed away at the somehow-still-hip age of 80. I do love beat literature, but again, this doesn't really help us.
Since there's no website that highlights why April 5th is so important for the Celtics, their fans, and the NBA in general, I might as well explain here and make
Bleacher Report that website:
April 5, 2008 - The Boston Celtics defeated the Charlotte Bobcats to solidify the top ranking in the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA. This win also makes Boston's 2007-08 the greatest one-season turnaround in the history of the league. The Celtics never even wavered from first place in team win-percentage the entire season. They are almost a lock to be the first team in over a decade to lead the NBA in Opp. FG%, Opp. 3PT %, and Opp. PPG in the same year (with a 10 point differential to boot). The game against the Bobcats that took place on this day served as the exclamation point on a storybook season.
Although Red's no longer with us to highlight the victorious season in his usual fashion, I think it's important that some traditions be passed on to the younger generations...
Anybody got a light?