The Wallace You've Got To Be Proud Of

"Sheed for 3 ... BANG!"

It was his last shot in the waning seconds of Game 7 - enough to inspire his teammates not to give up, and enough to silence and give a little bit of anxiety to the crowd in Staples, before bowing out with his sixth foul seconds later.

Some said it was his last stand. Both as a Celtic and as an NBA player.

Call it what you may, but the 15-year "Wily Vet" - despite falling short of helping the Boston Brotherhood win another banner - has earned a lot of love and respect in the hearts of Celtic fans.

And when you look back at how things worked well for Rasheed and his role in Doc Rivers' team, it's really not how you started, but how you finished the race that matters.

If you're like me, when Boston got a hold of him this past season, I can't help but have mixed emotions for this guy. Sure he had championship experience (Detroit '04 and '05) and had one ring to prove it. Sure his big body will solidify the Celtic front liners and more importantly, ease Kevin Garnett from logging extra minutes that might hurt his recovery at the time.

But as with every player, there's always a downside and now that he belonged with the Cs, I couldn't help keeping my fingers crossed if his age issues would show up and make Boston a slower team. Then of course, he's also one of the leage leaders when it comes to techincal fouls.

Correct me if I'm wrong but was it him who also suggested that with their line-up then, they would be a shoe-in to beat the '95-'96 Bulls regular season record of 72-10? I think he even mentioned the Celtics could win 80.

Well, the prediction fell 30 games short.

And from one, no, many angles - it looked like he was just riding the Celtic name and getting away with a few ho-hum stats. Almost every night during reg season you never knew which Sheed was going to show up (Well, truth be known that applies to The Big 3 and most of the bench as well). And then he also had his share of injuries.

Come playoff time, and with Boston sporting a 50-32 record, you'd think the Sheed Experiment was a failure and no way they were getting past high caliber teams such as Cleveland and Orlando. They were even doubted to escape Dwayne Wade and the Heat, inspite having homecourt advantage (which during that time, a lot felt was a disadvantage - they played on the road better, ayt?)

But lo and behold, in the 2010 playoffs, fans finally saw what Rasheed Wallace was capable off and what he was all about. His share of step-up games in each series gave the Celtics a depth and versatility in both ends of the floor. His 3s were finally getting in (and at critical times), his post-up game took on a new level, and his turnaround / face up jump shot off the glass became an unstoppable offensive thrust.

At multiple times, his defense in the Magic and Lakers series looked like the Wallace of 2004. Physical and crafty, his own brand of rebounding and shot blocking gave confidence to his teammates, especially to the bench. And then there was his art of getting into his opponent's mind. Ask Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol and if they'll be honest enough, they'll admit he ain't just a mind game player .. He's a hell of a player.

He mentioned at one point after a playoff game wherein he had a great performance, that this is the reason why he signed up with Boston. It's not the regular season, but it's for the playoffs.

Whether he used that to excuse his previous poor performances, said that at the height of his emotions, or was just damn telling the truth, we may never know.

But based on how he played in every chance he got in the postseason, specifically the Finals, signs are pointing that he did mean what he said.

And in that Thursday night in LA, nobody ever expected he would be the starting center for his team, and find a way for them to fight until the very end.

Boston didn't get Banner 18, but it finished strong, beyond most expectations. Likewise, Rasheed started slow, picking it up a bit here and there at the start. But when it mattered most, we saw him screaming, fighting, defending and executing ... living in the moment, playing like a true Boston Celtic.

He finished strong.

That's one Wallace we're all very much proud of.