Aubrey de Grey, a leading researcher in the field defines aging as follows: "a collection of cumulative changes to the molecular and cellular structure of an adult organism, which result in essential metabolic processes, but which also, once they progress far enough, increasingly disrupt metabolism, resulting in pathology and death."
The Celtics team is aging, I guess you already knew about that. The body created in 2007 was already mature and ready for immediate consumption of success. Our stars were at the end of their prime and we were lucky enough to assemble such a fiery team at the best moment possible. The Big Three were hungrier than they would ever be, tired of losing while showing their best individual efforts of their careers. They mixed efforts and achieved the dream: they finally became champions.
As you all know, the organism formed three years ago has experimented some transformations during this time. On the bright side, we have lived the explosion of the young Rondo and Perkins. They have become candidates to represent us in the All Star game, and in many nights they have lead our team to victory. Their talent and work have injected this team which much needed new blood to blend with the veteran talent of their teammates. The balance of youth and age have obsessed management to a point where the right alchemy is very difficult to obtain. The balance has been broken several times in an attempt to reach glory as fast as it could possibly be. We have seen youth contribute less (Tony Allen) or simply leave (Leon Powe) and we have added proven veterans (Cassell, Brown, Wallace) to speed up the process of gaining chances to win in June. I guess it is safe to state that we are still mixing ingredients and measuring quantities in our final recipe for June's dance ball. All this has been made to prevent the effects of age of our main players to affect too much at the end of each season.
Let me remind you that this team is still built around the Big Three. The identity and soul of this championship project started and became real only when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett crossed that door. In particular, the Celtics painted their portrait the same way Garnett made his Boston persona in that 2007/08. He decided to become a defensive beast, to make his teammates work with the same unity, sacrificing the individual goals. Boston was a team that shared the ball, asphyxiated their opponents and ran. Selfless, fast paced rolling victories followed after that. We would have won even easier if our stars had been 3 years younger. But at the end of the season, we ripped the Lakers and became champions. We were immortal, we believed it and we showed it.
Since last season, immortality has faded, age has started to matter. The formula of success was good, Glen Davis played very well, Allen played better and Rondo really excelled. But without Garnett the team lost its defensive prowess. We were a very good team, a brilliant one...but just not the same. Some blamed it on the lack of talent of the bench. Moore had the size but not the talent and Marbury had plenty of this but lacked any kind of brain. Tony Allen was injured again, Leon Powe broke his knee and the C's lacked help to beat the Magic in the playoffs. The team lost, they were beaten. The dream had fallen.
For the 2009/10 season, ownership decided to look for help, adding talent and experience in Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels. Wallace has been up and down, still adjusting to this team and Daniels has been injured too. In the meantime, Ray's defense has dropped and Garnett has been plagued by injuries too. Our record is the worst of this 3 year period, and Danny Ainge must be wondering what to do next to keep the dream alive.
On Friday, Kevin Garnett will return to action. The identity of this team is the identity of Kevin Garnett's long body. Kevin and the C's are extremely talented, competitive, winning and proud, trash talking, defensive minded and team oriented. But also, the immortality incarnated in the flesh of Kevin Garnett is injured, hurt, vulnerable.
The team can surely add talent in the next weeks, but it will not be enough if we don't reclaim our invincible aura, our winning attitude and hunger. We need our image, our pride, our hunger and our dreams back. We need to live immortality once more.
If KG is really back, so will our chances to win. If Garnett can stand and play through his wounded self, the team will reach glory once more. If we all believe, we will win. To be champion and be immortal again Pablo Pérez 1/21/2010 07:53:00 AM Tweet