It is insulting how quick people are to count the Boston Celtics out of the race for the NBA Championship.
Some mock them as the team with four people who will soon be getting AARP benefits. They claim "age" and not enough "talent" are the reasons why they will not win, or even get past the Miami Heat.
“They will break the single-season win record [of 72 wins],” Jeff Van Gundy said. “And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. And only the Lakers have even a remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose two games in a row this year.
“They have put together a much better roster than anybody could ever have expected,” Van Gundy added. “There is now no good way to defend them. They are unguardable. They are indefensible. They are just too good and have added so much shooting and are so versatile that they will score at will.
“And with Erik Spoelstra coaching, they will be in the top three defensive teams in the league, as well. The other 29 teams better hope the lockout gets moved up a year.”
- Jeff Van Gundy
With all due respect to Jeff Van Gundy, I firmly disagree.
Need I remind you that in the last three years, the Celtics have done the following:
Won the 2007-2008 NBA Championship, defeating Lakers in six games.
Made it to the 2008-2009 NBA Conference Semifinals, losing to Orlando in seven games (without KG).
Won the 2009-2010 NBA Eastern Conference Championship, losing in the Finals to the Lakers in seven games.
The Boston Celtics have one of the best team defenses in the last four years.
They are not chumps, nor washed up. We witnessed that in the playoffs last year where they made the most impressive playoff run I have seen from them. They eliminated the Heat, sent the Cavaliers packing, and made the Magic disappear before falling six minutes short of a second title against the Lakers.
As far as this year is concerned, I am fairly confident Boston has just as good a chance as ANY team in the Eastern Conference to emerge as the Eastern Conference Champions again.
Here are some possible reasons why the Celtics can extinguish the Heat in the playoffs, once again.