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Boston Celtics: What Is the Big Three's Legacy If They Fall Short This Year?

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Boston Celtics: What Is the Big Three's Legacy If They Fall Short This Year?
Elsa/Getty Images

This will sound like alarmist bunk to many, but it needs to be said.

With the Boston Celtics now down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat, the series returns to TD Garden with the Celts appearing shell-shocked and chagrined.

These two games have made the Big Three look very old, while LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have showcased their ability to work together to win, and especially their ability to close out games.

Meanwhile, the Celtics haven't found a rhythm through 96 minutes of play. Rajon Rondo hasn't been able to get around Miami's tougher defense, while Boston has been unable to defend against LeBron, D-Wade, and the rag-tag cast of characters that is the 2011 Miami Heat.

The Heat have improved their ball handling against the Celtics' defense, and have found ways to score both inside and outside the paint.

And don't even get me started on the bench.

If the Celtics are going to come back and win this series, it's going to take a whole lot of improvement out of everyone on this team, and probably some of that old Luck of the Irish.

So, on to the main point: If the Celtics DO lose this series, what does it mean for the Big Three in terms of their legacy and their place in Celtics history?

Elsa/Getty Images

On one end, they'll forever be remembered as the team that brought the franchise back to relevance and not only that, the team that brought Banner 17 to the rafters of the Garden.

Danny Ainge made a couple of bold moves bringing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston, and they paid off in June of 2008. Celtics fans once again rejoiced as the most successful team in NBA history returned to glory and another parade through the streets of Boston drew cheering crowds.

Yes, it was great to be a fan of the Boston Celtics and arguably, it still is.

They've been competitive in the years following the Championship, and it seems that the only thing that's kept them from winning Banner 18 was injuries. A knee injury sidelined Kevin Garnett for much of the 2008-2009 season, including the Playoffs and a knee injury to Kendrick Perkins kept out of the decisive Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

I firmly believe that were it not for these injuries, the Celtics would have been in a far better position, and could have possibly won one or two more Championships.

Of course, this is all speculation, and in the end we watched the Lakers win two more Championships. But in the end, I think it's fair speculation.

Michael Jordan once said of winning championships, "One's lucky. Call me when you get two."

This is especially significant for this team, as if they fail to win another Championship with this group of players, they will be the only generation of Celtics to not win multiple championships. There were the 11 of 13 from 1957-1969, two in the 1970s with teams led by Havlicek, Cowens and that cast of characters, and then the three 80's championships featuring Larry Bird and the original Big Three.

It seems rather unfortunate that this team could come so close and may not win another one.

Unfortunately, the significance of this team may take some time to figure out. The next several seasons will likely to determine how this team is viewed.

If they can be successful, then we can look back and say that the Big Three's success served as the foundation for future triumph. If the team fizzles out and returns to the 1990's and the 2000's, then we'll all look back and say that Danny Ainge constructed one of the best one-hit wonder squads in NBA history.

We'll add this to our Celtics history book and go back to reminiscing instead of enjoying the present and being hopeful for the future.

Again, only time will tell. In the mean time, we'll keep on hoping and praying for the Luck of the Irish to come through one more time, and we'll keep on rooting for the Celtics to keep on winning.

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