The only reason our beloved Boston Celtics will not be raising Banner 18 after this year is age and injuries. Not the Magic, Spurs, LeBrons or Fakers will be the reasoning. It will be because age caught up and lead to injuries.
Mark this down somewhere: if the starting 5, Sheed, House, Big Baby and Daniels all play 68 games or more, the Celts will get homecourt throughout the playoffs. And they won’t lose at home in this year’s playoffs either.
Yes my glasses tend to be green-colored but I’ve assessed this objectively and don’t care what all the “experts” have to say. Remember the night before the 2008 NBA finals 15 out of 16 “experts” on ESPN predicted the Lakers to win the series in 6 games or less? Tim Legler was the only one who picked the Celts, in 7. I picked the Celtics in 6. I’ve always thought so many of these guys on television really know nothing more than me or you. That series proved it for me.
So the reasons C’s will win:
Best starting 5 in the league. The team won 27 of their first 29 games this past season. As this was going on, when people told me how good the Celts were looking, I said “their bench is weak and they need to improve that.” I explained how Big Baby and Powe were not sufficient backups to Perkins and Garnett in guarding opposing big men (Gasol, Bynum). Those guys didn’t have the length for that. Enter Rasheed Wallace, problem completely solved.
They realize this could be their last chance. Although a lot of people are extending the window of opportunity to 2011, I personally think this is the year for them to win it. Next season will have even more question marks (resigning a backup wing after Daniels will probably leave in my opinion) and everyone a year older. Garnett knows this as well as everyone and will embed it in his teammates’ minds.
Rondo and Perkins. These guys improved tremendously and are both better than they were on the 2008 team. Rondo is borderline All-Star right now and Perkins is better offensively (that jump hook and 15 foot shot I used to cringe at are now going in with regularity).
The deepest bench in the league. Mention Jamario Moon, Delonte West, Ilgauskas and Varajeao or Vucajic, Farmer, & Odom, or Pietrus, Bass, Barnes, & Anthony Johnson all you want. I’ll go to war every single night with the Celts main 4 of Wallace, Big Baby, Daniels and House. Yes another backup point guard may need to be added but that can be addressed at some point.
I’m confident the Celtics have the best bench in the league in addition to the best starting 5. They don’t have the top player in the league (and probably not one of the Top 5 at this point) but they have the best team. And by the end of June, that’s what will matter most.