I said I’d be watching the next few Celtics games very intently, and I did. A lot of people told me I was crazy for thinking my pre-season doubts had gone “flying out the window” after just one game. But five games later, with the Celts sitting pretty at 6-0 as the only undefeated team in the league, anyone who is still sceptical is either A) a bitter Lakers fan harbouring a pathetic grudge from the mid-eighties, B) one of those stubborn “I won’t be convinced till May” old-school NBA fans or C) deaf, dumb and blind.
I will forgive the bitter Lakers fan cos I know just how deep a sporting grudge can cut you (I still bear three major sports-fan wounds: the ’88 Finals which the Pistons should have wrapped up in game 6, Michael Long’s momentum-changing goal that was actually touched by Silvagni and cost the Blues the ’93 premiership, and game 7 of the 2005 Finals which is so fresh in my mind it still throws me into a deep depression when I think about it). I will also forgive the deaf, dumb and blind people because those disabilities make it very difficult to read or watch the NBA, and therefore understand what the Celtics are doing (but I would question how on earth you are reading this blog?). But if you’re of type B then I have news for you: wake up and smell the coffee, the Celtics are the real deal, KG will probably win an MVP, their depth issues aren’t as serious as many would think, and if they keep playing like this their season will most likely end in June, not May.
Am I jumping to conclusions again? Of course I am. If I didn’t this blog would be boring. Most people will point out the Celts schedule has been easier than a $12 Vietnamese hooker, and so what? Winning is everything right now for this team. They are building chemistry and confidence in themselves. They don’t play the Spurs or Suns till February, and face Dallas on the last day of January. Do you have any idea how good their record could be like then? Do you realise what a gigantic snowball of momentum the Celtics could be riding come All-Star break? First they have to survive the following:
- The obligatory hype of a 70-win season that will arrive around the time their record hits 21-2, and that overused stat on nba.com appears where they’ll track every game of the Celts season against the 1995-96 Bulls season and then mysteriously stop doing it with about ten games to go when it looks like they struggle to hit 65 wins
- The “It’s 1987 all over again” rivalry propaganda that is destined to surface if the Pistons stay close behind the Celts in #2 out East (I personally can’t wait for the recycled 80s footage of Bill Laimbeer clothes-lining Bird, Parish and McHale on various occasions)
- The “Can they take three players to the All Star Game?” media hoopla that will arise either because KG, PP and Ray actually deserve All-Star selections, or because their record is 21-2 which logically means a team must have three All-Stars… right? (and if we get a freak injury to D-Wade or J-Kidd maybe Stern will be forced to pick Rondo as the replacement and fourth Celtic All-Star, to go with four Pistons All-Stars making up the first ever All-Star team that comprises individuals of just two teams)
- The continual “Big Three” comparisons to the Boston eighties version that are grossly unfair since that team won three championships and this team hasn’t won ten games yet. You watch, they will actually start seriously interviewing aging Boston franchise players like Bill Russell and Dave Cowens about where they see KG, PP and Ray against the all-time great Boston teams. I would personally like to hear Larry Bird’s take on this, because I’m guessing he would say it’s a complete load of horse shit.
If the Celts can survive all that, there’s no reason I can’t survive the following harmless bit of hate-mail I got from a fellow NBA fan today:
The Pistons will never amount to anything in this league. They are a bunch of inconsistent hacks – proven by their loss to the Cavs last year in what can only be described as a mediocre playoffs campaign, and they have done nothing to make me think that they have changed one bit in the off season. Meanwhile, the East is improving around them. There is no place for Detroit in a list of “Adequate NBA teams” this season. Go back to Detroit you bunch of pathetic whining hacks.
Just when I thought the NBA season was going through its little two-week lull, it’s good to see fans still firing up, even if it is because a Pistons loss cost them $20 in a string of multi-bets at the TAB.
Cheer up Chucko. I’m still getting over ’88.