It sounds like a broken record at this point but I'm going to keep repeating it - if only to remind myself that it is real. In February this team was cooked. Done. Finito. Stick a fork in them. Only a few still believed and even we had to qualify that belief with "if they can just get to the playoffs healthy."
Fast forward 4 months and here we are 2 wins away from returning to the NBA Finals. It is as unlikely as it is gratifying. Even as recently as 2 games ago, as Bob Ryan points out below, it seemed like they were just about done. But the Celtics were having none of that.
Don't get me wrong, the journey isn't over. I know they don't raise banners for showing up in the Eastern Conference Championship. But I wanted to pause just a moment and appreciate the fact that they did not "go gentle into that good night." They chose to "rage, rage against the dying of the light."
This wasn’t supposed to be happening, especially after the Heat broke everyone’s heart in Boston with that 115-111 overtime comeback win in Game 2. I’m going to level with you. After Game 2, I was satisfied. The Celtics had done themselves and the organization proud with their effort, but I was concerned that that had been their maximum achievement. I said to myself, "Do we need to go back to Miami and listen to that screamer at the mike? Do we need to go down there and give those unworthy fans the satisfaction of seeing the Heat humble the Celtics on their way to the Finals’’?’’ Absolutely not. Well, here we are, and this series really is a series, just as what’s going on out West is a series.
Win or lose, I'm very, very proud of this team. If it turns out that this is all we get, I will still look back on this year with a smile. We came so close in 2010 and that year was special in its own right as well.
In a way, we should have expected this. This team was never going to bow out gracefully. They were never going to go down without swinging. Once Danny made the decision to keep the core together for one last run, they were going to give it everything they had. Old, banged up, tired, facing an impossible lockout-condensed schedule, they fought on and on and on. That alone makes this season worth savoring.
Now, however, it is time to get greedy. I want more. I want the Finals. I don't care if it is the Thunder or the Spurs. I want to see this keep going. I want one more shot at expanding this core team's already rich legacy. I want to see this team raise one more banner.
Bonus Bulpett Link: C’s big run no shock to Danny Ainge - BostonHerald.com