I know I’m not alone here. I hate the Celtics. I hate them with a passion and every game they get closer and closer to the NBA Finals it makes my stomach turn. They are, however, one game away from achieving what not a lot of people thought they could.
At the beginning of the playoffs pundits and fans were calling the Celtics “old”, “tired” and “slow. Many thought this playoffs would be the end of the Celtics era. Kevin Garnett wasn’t looking his regular self at the end of the season; one that was plagued by injuries. Ray Allen had not been dominant all season and Boston was forced to rely on players that were not used to the pressure. Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Big Baby were all asked to step up their game. Not many believed they were a strong enough supporting cast to do that. Even Rasheed Wallace wasnt looking himself.
This team is one that is hard to like because of the cocky swagger they exude when on the court. Kevin Garnett’s “stink face” is one of the best “stink faces” in the league. It all seems a little put on to me, which is why it can become so annoying. Remember him getting into Jose Calderon’s face? That was the peak of my dislike for the guy. Hard to like a player that is so “mean” and “intense” all the time. Like a villain wrestler in the WWE.
At least I can handle it from, arguably, one of the best players in the league. But Kendrick Perkins getting into people’s faces? Big Baby? Arguably the least like-able player in the world. He has no right to get into players faces and walk around with the confidence of a league scoring leader. Kevin Garnett, he is not. Big Baby, one of the worst nicknames in the league by the way, has been riding Kevin Garnett’s tail feathers since he came into the league and is copying the wrong attributes. Playing with the stars in Boston is the only reason a guy like him could ever win a championship. Put Big Baby on any other team and he would fade into the background. One of the most over rated players in the league and everyone knows it except him.
They are brash, confident and hard to like. It seems to have become the calling card of the Celtics over the last couple of years. They seem to lack humility in victory or defeat. If they lose, they complain to the refs. If they win, they walk around like they own the world. What makes them even less like-able is that they always seem to find a way to win.
King James can’t walk around like that because he hasn’t won what the Celtics have won. Bitter Raptors fans, like myself, can’t walk around with that confidence because our team just isn’t good enough. They aren’t the Celtics. And, god I wish they were a little more like the Celtics.
What the Celtics have been able to do during this post-season is shut people like me up. How can you argue against a team that wins games? How can you hate a team that shares the ball and plays defense? Isn’t that what we all want from our team? Orlando and Phoenix are sure wishing they had it right now.
How can you hate the way Rajon Rondo has been playing? This kid went from being a cheap option off the bench for the Celtics after the mega-offseason they had to get Garnett and Allen, to a superstar in his own right. He was scrub riding the coat tails of bigger and better players. But he has really emerged into an elite player. He is looking like the best player on the court almost every night in these playoffs and has many times this season. He is beginning to eclipse the play of the players he once rode to a championship. He is becoming the Celtics go-to guy. There certainly are not many that can stop him.
The Celtics came in as long shots to make a trip to the final. Many predicted that Dwayne Wade would run circles around the “old” and “tired” Celtics team. But, he didn’t. The Celtics dominated the series and played team basketball. Every night it was a different player that stepped up: Pierce, Rondo, Garnett, Wallace, Allen. They were too much to handle.
Surely these “old-timers” wouldn’t be able to keep up with King James and the Cavaliers. The Cavs loaded up at the deadline adding Antawn Jamison and looked destined for the finals. Guess again. The Celtics absolutely shut King James down. He has never looked so human. The Celtics played strong, tough defense and would not allow the Cavs to do anything. King James dream will have to wait another year with possibly a different club.
Now Orlando is shooting blanks against Boston as well. The Celtics aren’t looking old, it’s Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and even Dwight Howard that are looking “slow” and “tired”. Stan Van Gundy certainly is. He can’t figure out what to do. How do you stop Rajon Rondo? Not with Jameer Nelson. How do you get inside the minds of this Celtics team? It doesn’t look like you can.
The Celtics deserve to be where they are and they deserve to walk around like winners, because they are. It won’t make me like them anymore. I will continue to hate the hell out of them. I will cheer for the Lakers or Suns in the Finals no matter what. But I won’t be able to help myself as I enjoy watching the way Boston plays. I will enjoy watching Rondo and I will enjoy hating the Celtics.
The hate I feel for them is truly a jealousy. I wish the team I cheered for played like that.
Sometimes the Bad Guys can’t be stopped. If you can’t beat ‘em. Join ‘em.
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***Kristoffer Pedlar The Zan Tabak Herald