I'm heading to the game tonight, which is huge. In honor of that I will be posting throughout the day in hopes of building momentum for a big Celtics victory. Why? Well if you think about it there is more reason to hate the Pistons than even the Lakers. This post looks at Detroit's dominance of the Celtics of late.
Back in 2002 the Boston Celtics knocked the Detroit Pistons out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. I remember thinking at the time that if the C's could somehow get passed Jason Kidd and his New Jersey Nets it would set up a classic Celtics/Lakers finals. Just like old times! In my defense I was terrified of Kidd and rightfully so. But how in the hell would that Celtics team even be in a game against Kobe and Shaq? Yet I digress. You know what I wasn't thinking back in 2002? That the Detroit Pistons would own the Boston Celtics in years to come, and Danny Ainge would actually help make it happen.
Hey over the past few years I convinced myself of the following:
1. Al Jefferson is catching up with Dwight Howard
2. Kenrick Perkins is one of the better passing big men in the NBA.
3. Sebastian Telfair will pick things up if they set more screens for him.
4. Gerald Green is going to be a star.
At this point only #2 holds up and not to the extent that I used to argue it. Strangely I hold onto #4 despite Green's difficulty getting minutes on a 3 win team. Let's just say I got a little delusional with the Celtics. But hey a Hall of Fame player was repeatedly telling me that numerous players on the team where one shot in their arsenal away from making the All Star team. However, the Pitons were always there to burst the bubble. Every time the two teams met the light bulb went on again and I thought, "That's why the Celtics suck." What is "that's"? Team chemistry, good players, veteran leadership, killer instinct, team defense...any number of things really.
Let me tell a quick story to hammer home the point. I played football in college for a team that struggled. Although struggled might be too mild. Anyways, we were on the road during my senior season. The game was at 1:00 but we hit the field early to get loose. As we headed back to the locker room some drunk fans kept yelling that another team in our league was awful. I was impressed that they were drunk before noon for a division 3 football game but did not understand why they repeatedly referenced a team that was playing in a different state that day. Actually I just assumed they were really drunk. Finally, one of them yelled, "That's how terrible you are, we're already thinking about next week's game!" It just struck me as fantastic heckling. And even if the fans, and most likely some of their players, were looking ahead, we still got stomped.
Well I was reminded of that alcohol fueled trash talk after watching the Celtics regular season finale last year. Detroit arrived in town with a record of 52-29 and the number one seed in the east. Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton did not play. Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince saw 20 minutes...combined. Amir Johnson of all people finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and three steals. That is irrefutable proof that the Pistons were not desperate to notch their 54th win. And yet Flip Murray hit a cold-blooded buzzer beater. It symbolized everything that was right about the Pistons and of course everything that was wrong with the Celtics.