In just four games, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to end the Boston Celtics' surprising and admirable 2014/15 season. But the clean sweep does't take away from what Brad Stevens and company were able to do this season.
It's often said in the NBA that the team with the best player wins the series. I'm not exactly sure what the saying goes for teams who can rightfully claim the series' top 5 to 6. What that should translate to is a complete beat down; something resembling the first half of the Toon Squad - Monstars game in 'Space Jam.' But that's not what happened; through intelligence and hard work, this Boston Celtics team gave us moments of hope. They gave us reason to get out of our respected seat - whether that be in the Garden, at home, a local pub, etc - to cheer on an unlikely underdog who had no business staying competitive with this relative juggernaut of a team. Sure, a win would've been nice. But to butcher an old phrase; They shouldn't have even been there yesterday.
It's been said time and time again, but it's especially worth bringing up today; The 2014/15 Boston Celtics are not a talented basketball team. They traded their two best players, and then they traded the best player they got in return. The remaining roster served as the Island of Misfit Toys; A collection of players that were cast aside by teams who wanted nothing to do with them. Evan Turner was a draft bust who literally couldn't get on the court for the Pacers last postseason. Jae Crowder an afterthought in a trade the Celtics 'got robbed in.' Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome came here in a trade their Coach and GM said only happened because the Celtics were being cheap. Tyler Zeller was traded alongside another player AND a first round pick for literally nothing. Brandon Bass couldn't be given away. Even Isaiah Thomas, certainly the teams best offensive player, and his very affordable contract was traded away for what will turn out to be the 24th pick in this year's draft.
Over the next few days there'll most likely be some debate over if this playoff appearance was in the best long term interest of the Boston Celtics organization. For what it's worth, I think it was, but I don't want to expand upon that because I'd rather it not be the focus of this particular piece. Professional sports is entertainment. We watch sports to escape the brutal weather that surrounds us. We watch to get our minds off of work, school, relationships or just to pass the time. We watch because it's fun. Despite the mountain of reasons they shouldn't have been, the 2014/15 Boston Celtics were just that; Consistent fun. For at least a strong majority of the season, they gave us not only a reason to tune in, but a reason to stay engaged. They played hard and smart every night, and that translated to 7.5 enjoyable hours of basketball a week. Continuously giving us these very cool, brief warm moments of pure joy as they somehow remained competitive.
For the two games they played at home, the Garden rocked. Because of course it did. How could the crowd not cheer on a team that played this admirably? This team, that gave us so much to enjoy when we expected so little. This team, who kept swinging until the final bell, refusing to accept that they simply couldn't win.
Boston's a city that's been fortunate enough to see it's fair share of championships over the past two decades, but as evidence by the end of Game 4, it's still a city that's endeared by the courageous and the admirable. In a few years I'm sure their efforts will be mostly forgotten. But, at least for today, this team certainly deserves to be celebrated.
MattDotRich 4/27/2015 09:49:00 AM Tweet Edit