Let me start by saying that in the last decade, it has been mighty good to be a New England area sports fan. I've seen 2 world series wins. 3 Suprbowl wins, plus an additional superbowl appearance, a perfect season. Three no hitters, or 4, no wait, 5. I've watched the Bruins become relevant in Hockey, and I've seen a "New" big Three win a title for the briefly mired Celtics. And now I"ve watched them dethrone a King. It has, I"ll say again, been good to be a New England sports fan of late.
But the thing that I learned during the not as good times was that Hope is, in fact, the enemy. You see the thing that the sports gods love to watch is not the ascension to greatness, but the crushing loss of morale and hope that comes from a fall. They revel in waiting, baiting you, trying to draw your confidence just enough that you'll nurture hope for them. That you'll let your faith blossom from tiny seed into a beautiful delicate crystaline flower, made all the more amazing by the fragility with which it exists. So that they can swoop in and shatter it to molecular pieces like a bully destroying a child's toy.
And so I sit here, writing and torn between my head and my heart, as humanity is uniquely capable of. My heart is swelling with joy and hope and confidence and elation because my team feels unbeatable, unstoppable, and other adjectives that start with "un". By my head knows this feeling well. It has experienced it before. My head knows that down the road of hope lies the kind of misery that only a true fan is capable of experiencing. And so it is with my head that I will deliver to you my reasonable and toned back prediction of how the series between my Mighty Celtics and the Magic of Orlando will go. My realistic expectation. Shared from my logic, my intuition and not from my hope. I have learned all too many times what lies down that path.
So game 1 is in Orlando. That's easily a 10 point bump in Orlando's points from what I would usually expect. And Boston will probably get called for fouls more than they usually would. I still expect the Celtics to win this game. Orlando hasn't been resting. They've been lazing, getting rusty, getting jumpy. I know if I had to spend every day thinking about trying to defend against the Celtics I'd probably get the shakes, or just fake sick So game 1 I'm expecting a lot less out of the Celtics. I think Rondo will start slow, Orlando is better at defending slashers. So I think he'll ease into things, get warmed up, get comfortable. I'm expecting something on the order of 30 points, give or take a few. Like 20 assists or there-abouts, you know, nothing gaudy. And then an even dozen rebounds or so, because Orlando is a really good rebounding team. Maybe 6 steals, maybe a quadruple double. Then after game one is done he can settle down and really play well.
I think KG will only play the first half. No sense making it unreasonable. Plus there's a 5 year old kid with bone cancer from the make a wish foundation and his dream is to play power forward for the Celtics in the playoffs. And that will work out because the entire Orlando squad and their bench will be tangling with the giant pythons Percules (Kendrick Perkins a.k.a. The Beast) is using in place of his arms (because giant pythons are lighter, weaker, and generally less intimidating than his actual arms). SO Cancer Kid (the nickname the fans give him for the game) will score like 30 points in the half where he subs in for The Big Ticket (Kevin Garnett).
And poor Dwight Howard. Perkins is gonna do such a number on his confidence I actually feel bad. By the third quarter he would have been stuffed so frequently and so harshly that he'll actually begin to believe that he's a turkey and then gobble uncontrollably whenever he gets possession of the ball. In the fourth quarter he'll start getting a nervous tick and have to sit out briefly. One of the assistant coaches will say to him "it's all right Dwight, you're doing great, just perk up a little bit" Then Dwight will run screaming to the locker room thinking that Perkins had followed him to the bench out of malice. He'll call in "sick" for the remainder of the series, but hey, I can't blame him.
Ray "I'm so good I don't need a nickname" Allen will limit himself to 5 three-pointers a quarter. And as a little homage to Leron shoot all his free throws left handed, because Ray is a classy guy. I don't think Paul will play the first game. The Captain could probably use a break after having to guard Lebron James for six games. So let him chill on the sidlines, sport a fashionable suit and actually get to enjoy watching a basketball game. Plus then guys like Scal will get a chance to actually play and Pierce is a team guy, he wants everyone to have as much fun as he's having.
Game two will be so terrible that none of it will be allowed to air on tv. By game three only two actual members of the magic will be in the game. The rest will be an assortment of towel boys, locker staff, and guys out of the broadcast booth that can stand up because every other member of the team will have "urgent family matters" to attend to "or horrific illness" that has them sidelined (referred to by the media as the Green Death, until a rumor begins about a magic player actually dieing from fear of the Celtics, although this would later to be proven to just be the career of every ESPN analyst that picked the Cavs to win over the Celtics). Game 4 will be called at the half on account of awesomeness. 100 points in a quarter deemed unsportsmanlike, but legal. And denying the other team a shot attempt for an entire half regarded as both bizarre and to quote a memeber of the media "kinda freaky"
As a side note, Kendrick Perkins will become considered for the Nobel Peace Prize for ending one of the longest running conflicts in history during the series. In game 2 he will block a shot so harshly that it will cause the entire Korean peninsula to sink into the sea and thereby conclude the Korean war.
Then David Stern, in an attempt to maintain competitive balance in the sport and preserve the economy of the entire west coast of the United States will combine the Lakers and Suns into a single team to face off with the Celtics. Changing the rules overnight to allow the LakerSuns to have twice as many players on the floor concurrently than normal and forcing the Celtics to play on a schedule alternating between Phoenix and LA and denying them any home games. All of it will be for naught unfortunately.
In only two days all four games will have been concluded and only 3 members of the LakerSuns will be accounted for. The rest will be reported missing, but presumed dead. The final point of the fourth game will come from Paul Pierce, the Captain, The Truth lifting off from half court and raising the ball high over head. He will sail across the court and obliterate the backboard and half the arena by unleashing a vicious tomahawk dunk. The shockwave from the ball impacting the court, riding fiery wings of anger and hate, will cause California to break off from the United States and drift into the pacific, volcanic eruptions on Mars, and destroy the planetoid formerly known as Pluto, preventing it from ever being considered a planet again.
Paul Pierce will go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize that year, beating out his teammate Perkins, because an initially unseen effect of the dunk was to shift the earth's orbit slightly away from the sun, thus offsetting the effects of global warming.
The following year he will win the award again, because with the assistance of former Soviet Missile engineers they will devise a way of harnessing the power of a Paul Pierce dunk to power the entire world for a decade. (Although an accident during testing will also result in the unfortunate death of all of the Realhousewives of New Jersey and put the Bronx underwater for almost half a century).
So there it is, I"m saying Celtics are champs in 8 games and then they raise banner 18.