The Boston Celtics were one game away from winning a NBA Championship. Just one game, but in Game Seven of the NBA Finals, Celtics fans could easily see that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen aren't the same players they once were.
In Game Seven, the Celtics played solid defensively, but were not able to rebound the basketball. The Lakers had 23 offensive rebounds against the Celtics, compared to only eight by the Celtics.
Offensively, the Celtics were stagnant. When the Celtics were able to gain a double-digit lead in the second quarter, the game fell apart for them. Too many one-on-ones with Paul Pierce matched up against Ron Artest.
During that time, the Celtics made poor decision after poor decision resulting in turnovers and easy points for the Lakers. Rajon Rondo was nonexistent offensively, perhaps losing confidence in himself after missing a wide open 18 foot jumper.
Rondo wasn't attacking the rim as expected, and he definitely wasn't taking advantage of his superior athleticism to overcome the Los Angeles Lakers point guards. Ray Allen struggled from the field and missed a free throw in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Garnett played hard and he showed why he has a few years left in his tank. When Pau Gasol was matched up with him defensively one-on-one, Garnett still had the advantage because of his ability to put the ball on the floor.
Gasol would force Garnett to go left and was able to score rather easily. Garnett had the same opportunity in the fourth quarter, but Gasol made a strong defensive play by blocking the layup attempt.
It showed perfectly that even though Garnett can still be effective on the low block, the knee injuries are affecting him. Gasol would have had no chance of blocking the shot against a younger Garnett, who would have dunked the ball.
What does this all mean for the Celtics? It means there will be changes in the offseason.
First: Doc Rivers will step down as coach of the Celtics. He had a great run, but from what I've heard, Rivers would like to spend more time with his family.
Second: Ray Allen will not be re-signed and will be free to sign with another team. There were already rumors of Allen being traded near the trade deadline. If Allen is to be re-signed, he'll be used in a sign and trade deal.
Third: Change Rondo. In order to improve his game to become one of the elite point guards he needs to work on his mid-range jumper and his free throw shooting. Rondo is one of the most effective point guards at getting to the rim and is a great rebounder for his size, but his inability to hit jumpers consistently keeps him out of being the number one scoring option for the Celtics.
Fourth: Rasheed Wallace will retire, making it necessary for the Celtics to either make a trade for another big or look for a free agent signing.
Fifth: The Celtics will go after a big man in free agency.
Sixth: Kevin Garnett will play limited minutes next year, anywhere from 20-25 or more to keep him fresh. He is no longer the explosive player he once was, but can still produce if his minutes are limited.
Seventh: Bring in a younger shooting guard to play alongside Rondo.
Eighth: Besides Allen not being re-signed, Nate Robinson, Marquise Daniels, Michael Finley, Brian Scalabrine, and Shelden Williams will not be back either.
Ninth: Not really a change, but Tony Allen will be re-signed by the Celtics.
The Celtics will have an interesting offseason. Team changes must be made, including replacing their starting shooting guard and replacing their head coach. The rest of the changes have to do more with the bench and getting the team some younger players.