The time has come for the Celtics. The NBA dress rehearsal that is the 82 game regular season is over, thankfully.
The Celtics did little to put doubt in anyone mind. They beat all 29 of the NBA's teams at least once, winning 66 games.
All three stars meshed well, defaulting to Pierce to score, Garnett to pass, and Allen to roam the perimeter and play a little defense.
The bench was the antithesis of a problem, with no less than five players playing good minutes.They were able to effectively hold the fort when Garnett pulled a groin mid-season.
Still they doubt, Sighting the weak Eastern Conference as a JV league.
They said go on the road and beat a team on a 22-game winning streak on the back of a draining win against San Antonio, They not only won that game, they crushed Houston in their own building 94-74, and then just for kicks swept Texas by beating Dallas.
And now they stand statistically and record-wise the best team in the NBA.
But still all we hear are Lakers, Suns, Spurs, Hornets, Pistons, and even the Jazz before you hear the Celtics come off the board of contenders.
Now they look to dispatch the Hawks, a very nice young team. But are they satisfied with just being here? Are they prepared to battle for every loose ball?
Can they hold onto the rock against one of the thriftiest teams in the NBA? Can they defend enough to win a game on the road? Can they do all of that for seven games?
Mike Woodson will lead his team into Boston for Game 1 with those questions to answer, and Doc Rivers and his men will be waiting. The Game 1 winner has won almost 80 percent of the time in seven game series.
To shed the demons of the failed post-seasons of their past, the Celtics big three must once again walk through the fire of scrutiny that only the playoffs can give.
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