Paul Pierce and Boston Celtics Bring Home Championship No. 17

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Paul Pierce and Boston Celtics Bring Home Championship No. 17

In the end, the best player didn't belong on the same floor as the best team.

Paul Pierce spent 10 long years in Boston—going through brief moments of greatness, long stretches of poor teams, a near-death experience outside a Boston nightclub, Rick Pitino, Antoine Walker, and the first four years of the Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge era.

Now Pierce, the Celtics' captain, is going through something completely different. He's an NBA champion. He's the NBA Finals MVP.

Someday, Pierce's No. 34 will hang up in the rafters with the rest of the Celtics' greats. And I couldn't be happier for him.

Kevin Garnett has only been in Boston for one season, but he's changed everything for the Celtics. He turned this into a nationally recognized powerhouse before they even played a game. He brought a defensive intensity that turned guys like Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe into dominant stoppers.

He scored, he was unselfish, and he was a leader.

Pierce was the MVP of the Finals, but Garnett made these Finals possible. I've given him grief for not playing up to the moment, but in Game Six…he played up to the moment.

He was a beast, and now he's a champion.

Ray Allen spent the last three days with his sick son. Imagine spending three straight days in front of your child's hospital bed, hoping everything will turn out OK. Leaving the biggest game of your career to go straight to the hospital, not knowing how your kid was doing.

Forty-eight hours later, you know what's wrong with your son. He's going to be OK. You fly back to Boston and set an NBA Finals record for made three-pointers, then celebrate a championship with all three of your children.

Doc Rivers held this team together all season long. Through everything, he's been a rock. He's come to every game with the same message: "You win with defense."

And his team won with defense.

This team had played a lot of good games this season. It never played as well as it played in Game Six.

One sentence sums up the 2008 NBA Finals: The "Big Three" outplayed the "Big One."

In a year when the NBA's Western Conference was widely viewed as the best, top-to-bottom, everyone failed to notice the two best teams in the NBA played in the Eastern Conference.

When the Celtics beat Detroit, the banner was as good as in the rafters.

The Lakers were an OK team, but they didn't belong on the same floor as the Celtics. Even in the two losses, you always came away feeling that the Celtics were a far superior team. 

In Game Six, the Celtics went out and proved to everyone their eyes didn’t lie—the Celtics are the best team in the NBA.

For the 17th time in NBA history, for the first time in 22, the Boston Celtics are NBA Champions.

In the words of Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione, "Can you believe it?"

Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report. You can email him at scrowe@gmail.com. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.

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