No Doubt About It: The Boston Celtics Would Have Won the Title This Year
There is little that I am absolutely positive about in this life.
Oh how one right knee can change everything.
On Feb. 19, 2009, the outcome of the entire NBA season was changed. On a play that has happened hundreds of times in Kevin Garnett's career—an alley oop.
The Celtics were on a typical two-on-one fast break. Paul Pierce had the ball, Garnett was on the opposite wing running to the hoop. Pierce lobbed the ball toward the rim. KG soared in the air after it.
In those split seconds that followed, the Celtics' season was all but over.
KG went up for the highlight finish. The play made the highlights alright, just not in the way KG or the Celtics had hoped.
He had strained his right knee. An injury that was termed as "minor," that would only result in a two week absence.
We only wish it was two weeks.
KG returned a few weeks later. He played his first game in San Antonio, versus the Spurs. He was limited to 16 minutes of run, but appeared to be all right, all things considered.
He played the next night, on the second night of a back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies. Again, he seemed all right.
After those two games, it was all down hill.
His next game was against the Orlando Magic. This was supposed to be the "landmark" game after his return. He would see his first increase in minutes—at least he was supposed too.
During this game he looked awful. He seemed to be in pain with every jump, with every step he took. He was dragging his leg behind on every play. Favoring his right knee at every moment.
The Celtics took the cautious route and pulled KG out of the lineup for awhile. Although he did return for one more game versus the L.A. Clippers, his season was over.
Long story short, the Boston Celtics fought until the end. They fought tooth and nail and scrapped their way to a Game Seven versus the Magic.
Without KG, they just didn't have enough.
When they lost that game, I was happy with the team. As a die hard Celtics fan and a long time season ticket holder, I was so proud of them and their effort.
To be honest, I was more proud of this team and their "heart of a champion" than I was of the actual title team from last year.
Then the Eastern and Western Conference Finals began.
Suddenly, I wasn't too happy anymore. Actually, I became sick to my stomach and my mind started to play games with me.
It wasn't that I became upset with the Celtics and their finish.
No. That wasn't it.
It was that I came to the sad realization that this Boston Celtics team, with a healthy Kevin Garnett, absolutely, one-hundred percent, would have won the NBA Title and would have completed the first repeat since the Lakers earlier this century.
When these Conference Finals began, it was basically understood by all that the Lakers and Cavaliers would meet in the NBA Finals. This was going to be a "dream matchup" for David Stern's league.
To say the least, this hasn't exactly happened.
The Cavs have been absolutely dominated by the Magic. They are lucky to be down only two games to one. They are a miracle shot away from being down three games to none and facing a sweep tonight.
The Lakers are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One night they look unbeatable, the next night they look lackluster and more than beatable.
Both teams have the best players in their respective conferences. Both are considered to be the top two players in the NBA. However, both teams' success rests on the shoulders of those two players, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
That is the difference between the Celtics and the Cavs and Lakers.
While those two teams depend on their single superstar, the Celtics have three Hall of Famers on their team. As great as LeBron and Kobe are, they can't afford to have an off night or else their team will lose.
The Celtics can.
If Pierce is off, they still have KG and Ray. If KG is struggling, they still have Pierce and Ray. If Ray is cold on his shot, they still have Pierce and KG.
Not to mention the rising star that is Rajon Rondo.
Most recent championship teams have had two or three superstars. Last year, the Celtics had the Big Three. The Spurs had Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. The Pistons had four All-Stars. The Lakers of 2001-2003 had Shaq and Kobe.
This is where the Cavs and Lakers fall short.
Mo Williams may be an All-Star, but he definitely is not a superstar. Pau Gasol is a phenomenal player. He is a star. However, he folds like a bad hand in poker during physical series.
The Cavs or Lakers may win the NBA Title this year. Only time will tell.
Just know that if the Boston Celtics were healthy, they would be the team raising the banner next year on Opening Night.
Enjoy your team's "Fool's Gold" while you can.
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