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I have wanted to write this post for quite a while. Originally I was going to write it if the Celtics weren’t able to bring back Pierce and Allen after their epic run to game seven of the 2010 Finals. Then I was going to write it last year if the Big Three was completely dismantled. I am writing it now because I hope somehow, someway, it will persuade Danny Ainge to keep Garnett, Pierce (and Rondo for that matter) and let the season ride out, especially after seeing their tremendous performance against the Nuggets.
Since Garnett came to the Celtics in 2007, Celtic Pride has been restored. Year in, year out, you could count on the Celtics, especially in the playoffs, to compete at the highest level and to play the game how it is supposed to be played. It obviously didn’t always work out, but the Celtics have been a team that their fans can truly be proud of. Aside from their 2008 championship, let’s think back to some of the memorable performances that made us proud to support the team from Causeway Street.
- 2009: After Garnett goes down, the Celtics have an epic seven game series with the young, scrappy Chicago Bulls, resulting in four games going to overtime. The Celtics come out on top, after heroic performances from a young Rondo and a renewed Jesus Shuttlesworth. The Celtics go on to lose to the eventual runner-up Orlando Magic in 7 games.
- 2010: After finishing the last 54 games of the season going 27-27, the Celtics had a memorable playoff run, beating LeBron James and the Cavaliers (all but prompting LeBron to leave Cleveland), than beating the former Eastern Conference Champion Magic, before succumbing to the Lakers in seven games in the Finals. Game seven was a hard fought, scrappy game, in which either team could have won. I have never felt prouder of a team (even in loss) than this Celtics squad. Even when it looked like they were beat I can remember Ray hitting a Big Three in the last two minutes, and even Rondo hitting a three in the waning seconds. This season truly cemented my opinion of the KG Era Celtics. They will never give up. They may let you down, but they will go down giving their best possible effort (even Rasheed).
- 2011:The Celtics had high expectations they did not exactly live up to, but Rondo coming back to play with one arm (Wade is one of the dirtiest players in the league but the media loves him) against the Heat will always live in Celtics lore.
- 2012: After a slow start due to the lockout, the Celtics had a tremendous second half of the season. They get a few lucky breaks in the playoffs (Derrick Rose injury) and get to face the Heat for a third year in a row. Putting aside the horrendous refereeing in game two, Rondo shows how much KG has rubbed off on him during his time with the Celtics and puts up another historic playoff game (44 points) in a loss. I truly believe after this horrible display of refereeing, the NBA told the refs to really buckle down. If they had called game two fairly, I believe the Celtics would have been playing the Thunder in the finals. Give one game to the Heat and it is almost impossible to win a series. Aside from that, even though they were tremendous underdogs, the Celtics gave the Heat their toughest matchup of the playoffs and should have won. Another moment in which I was proud to be a Celtics fan.
- 2013: The story is yet to be written on this season, but my theory of the KG Era Celtics always giving their all with the heart of a champion still holds true. Even though they have nine new players, they all preach about "playing like a Celtic" and are always accountable. That is something that is hard to find in the NBA.
In conclusion, if Ainge makes another blockbuster trade (like Perkins for Green), I just want to thank KG, Pierce, Rondo, and the rest of the current and prior Celtics (even Allen) for putting a world class team on the floor every night and restoring dignity and honor to the Boston Celtics.