In the wake of the good news that the season will in fact begin in 2011 the league took a moment to pause. And then, when the realization dawned, the league shuddered. Because this season, a shortened season, will force them to face the full wrath of the Celtics. The Celtics are old, many pundits will remind us. The Miami Heat have Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, they will say over and over. The Lakers are dominant beasts who are incapable of losing. But the league will know better.
The league still remembers with dread. Of the terrors these Celtics unleashed in years passed. In the season before when even the injured and damaged Celtics were able to bring havoc to every team they faced. When they went 7 games without Garnett against the Magic. When they played to game 7 against the Lakers and watched the Zebras run off with the title. They remember the looks from their faces. They remember when Rondo's arm bent backwards. And they'll never forget how he came back. The league knows, the Celtics are coming.
The Knicks, first excited to hear the season would begin, now distraught, realizing their first contest will be the Celtics first game. A shortened season. Closer to the playoffs, tighter races. Every win more valuable than it had been last year. And the Knicks know an undefeated season starts with one game. And the Celtics, you can feel the focus from a thousand miles away. One game at a time. With all the subtlety of a wrecking ball wrapped in dump trucks.
Ready or not, here they come.