It's Time to Give the Celtics the Respect They've Earned

Michael CaissieCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2008

Tim Legler went on ESPN Radio this afternoon and reiterated his statement from a few weeks ago regarding the Detroit Pistons being the best team in the NBA. His piece, Daily Dime, on ESPN.COM spoke more of the same.

While Detroit is indeed on a 10-game winning streak, his reasoning as to why Detroit is number one, and the Celtics are number THREE, is simply stupid. (Sorry I couldn’t come up with anything more eloquent to say)

I sat and listened this afternoon while Mr. Legler stated that the play of Billups was the difference in the teams' meeting a few weeks ago. Okay, Tim, I won’t disagree with you on that one.

He continued by saying that Billups simply overpowered Rajon Rondo. No disagreeing from me on that one either, Tim.

Then he simply got stupid by saying that all of the other positions could be a toss up on any given night between the two teams.

You might as well eliminate the center position for both teams because it’s simply not worth talking about. That said, let’s move on to Hamilton vs. Pierce. I would agree that this would indeed be a close one and probably could go either way. When it comes to Prince vs. Allen, I think it could also go either way.

But Garnett vs. Rasheed? Tim Legler actually said this could be a toss up on any given night? That’s probably one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve heard in a long, long time. You should have just stuck with your Billups vs. Rondo argument, Tim.

Let’s just forget about the player vs. player argument all together. Let’s look at their records. Detroit is a respectable 25-7 and sitting comfortably atop their division. The Celtics are 27-3 and also comfortably on top of their division—making them only one of five teams to lose only three games in their first 30. You might remember another one of the five, the 95-96 Bulls that would finish with 72 wins and the championship.

Some have knocked the Celtics for a "easy early schedule," but they’re 9-0 against the West this year. Indeed the C’s did lose to the Pistons, but it went down to the wire, and a year ago we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. The Celtics lead the league in defense and show no signs of slowing down.

While I’m not ready to crown them the NBA Champions just yet, I think it’s time that people stop shying away from giving the Celtics the respect that they’ve already earned this year. If you play to win, then whoever is winning the most should be recognized as the best team.

Otherwise, why bother keeping track of records at all? To suggest that a team that is 27-3 is third, San Antonio at 21-8 is second, and Detroit at 25-7 is first makes no sense to me.

Last time I checked, having a winning percentage of .900 is pretty good.