Up until now, a good part of the season has been pretty much of a roller coaster ride, careening from one set of games that would bring the Celtics faithful to dizzying heights of passion, to be followed by another set of games that would swoop us down to the lowest pits of despair, and at times, even disgust, with a number of so-so games in between, to the point where the fandom didn't know which team would be showing up on any given night.
Granted, part of what has been happening this season, was somewhat predictable, and has been written about, ad nauseum. Our big three has collectively lost at least a 1/2 step, which was a given, considering their ages, the number of combined minutes that they play each game, etc.
As well, injuries to key players since Xmas has forced Doc [ "remember, Doc's just a nickname " ] to try different line-ups through most of the last 2/3 of the season, with all of the roller coaster ride taking place after that fantastic beginning 1/3 of the season. In addition, during the past several weeks, two new additions to the club have again caused somewhat of a rotation alteration, in order to fit the new players into the system.
Much of the fan base has been getting down on the Cs for various reasons, some of which are valid. R. Wallace, IMHO, who I thought would anchor the 2nd team, has had more downs than ups during the regular season, and has been a source of much derision to the fan base. M. Daniels, after his injury and surgery, has just never been the player we hoped to see when he signed, and has just never developed a winning rhythm with the team. BBD spent a good part of the season recuperating from a bonehead injury, and is only now showing some of the form that made him valuable in last year's run. I won't even bother reiterating the injuries to P.Pierce, the lingering injury and aftereffect to Garnett, and Perkins leg problems.
However, in the last handful of games, as up and down as they may have been, we have seen the Cs play with pretty much the rotation we're going to see, come playoff time, and although K.Garnett is still not 100%, he'll be there to give a 100% effort when the time comes.
We now know what and who we have, and from what we have seen so far, this team, when they play at their best, can take on any team in the East and West, [ as shown from their last western swing ] and whether they're the third or fourth seed is irrelevant.
After the next couple of games to close out the long, drawn out season with far too many back to backs in far too abbreviated periods of time, we will begin round one of the Money Games.
It's the playoffs that count, and here is where I fully expect the guys who have underwhelmed us up until now, a.k.a. Sheed, etc, will stand up and be counted.
I may be an optimist, but I believe that there is no one team that will out and out dominate in this year's playoffs, and that any series will be up for grabs, for the top four teams in the east, and at least the top four, or more teams in the west. Which means that we have a real fighting chance for banner no.18. Could we, in all honesty ask for more than that? Go Celtics.
Lionel Gaffen / Fotomix