A Daily Babble Production
Since Game 3 in Atlanta on April 26, the Boston Celtics have played a game every other day without exception.
It's been a scheduling load that would cause outcry if ever it were placed on a team during the regular season, but truth be told, it's been a perfect set-up for us fans. We've witnessed our share of tough losses in this postseason, and fortunately for us, we've never had more than a day to stew on a loss. It's been a few hours of frustration and then the beginning of the excitement for the next game. Call me crazy perhaps, but it's safe to say the schedule thus far has done immeasurable good for my sanity, particularly after every road game in the first two rounds of the playoffs and games 2 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Label me shocked if I'm the only one.
But now some rest is here, and at just the perfect time: with our beloved Boston Celtics headed for a date with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. Yes, you've read it and thought it a million times already in the last few hours, but that won't stop me from putting it out there again and again. Our beloved Celtics are going to the Finals. Going to the Finals. Going to the Finals.
Six days from now, the Celtics will tip off that last series in pursuit of the championship. As Jeff alluded to in his post-game thoughts, at some point between now and then -- probably around Monday or Tuesday -- I'll be ready to starting thinking tactically about how our boys will match up with a very good Lakers team. About Kobe Bryant, Phil Zen and all the rest of the problems the Lakers will pose -- and how the fellas in the green will successfully solve those problems.
But we've got six days to use, and while there are still four wins to go to the ultimate goal, this nearly incomparable happiness is a feeling worth savoring. For at least the next couple of days, I'll settle for being in a wonderful state of Finals delirium. We'll save the platitudes about how surreal this experience is for after that next series -- particularly if it turns out the right way -- but know that those sentiments are completely there.
In the meantime, we'll settle today for a few garbled, babbled and at best semi-coherent thoughts, notes and quotes to mull over for the day after a conference-clinching victory. Away we go...Read More..All of Steve's daily posts can be found in the CelticsBlog: NBA blog. Check him out!
- First set of words to come to mind that I never completely grasped the idea of saying before last night: Kendrick Perkins is the starting center for an NBA Finals team. By the way, he had a huge dunk-and-one to cut the Pistons lead to five in the midst of the fourth quarter of Game 6, and the late block didn't hurt either. All on top of the game of his life two days earlier.
- Hey, Raj, too! Four more big offensive rebounds for him last night. Somewhere, MikeDfromNP is grinning widely. You know, right along with every other Celts fan on the planet right about now.
- James Posey saved his best for the end of this one. With the Celtics lead sitting at a tenuous four points and the green having missed two shots on the heels of a Chauncey Billups three-point play, Posey's steal from Tayshaun Prince was nothing short of brilliant. Love this guy.
- With the Celtics leading by seven late in the fourth quarter, my boy Mike Breen said something to the effect of "It looks like a game that will once again be decided by which team can hit its free throws in the clutch." Much as I love Breen, the comment seemed odd for two reasons, one at the time and one after the fact. With the Celtics leading by seven points in the final minutes, it seemed more likely at the time that the Pistons would be in need of field goals, provided the C's stayed out of needless foul trouble defensively. The comment seemed all the more ironic shortly thereafter when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined to hit one of the Celts' next four attempts...to no avail for Detroit. Fun times with ESPN.
- Speaking of KG and Paul, what efforts from the two of them! Garnett's stat line wasn't pretty, and he was in foul trouble all night, but he got the job done with his hard work defensively when all was said and done. Meanwhile, Pierce was a killer in the second half of this game. The lay-up-plus-one to put the Celts up for good was huge, and his ability to shake off the most criminal offensive foul call of the century (courtesy of Bennett Salvatore) was a show of high character on Paul's part. His offensive performance was especially efficient as well (8-for-12 from the field, 10-for-13 from the line). Great work, fellas.
- I'm always reluctant to say much about the officiating -- particularly after a game that turned out well when all was said and done -- but I'll never forgive Salvatore for wiping out what could have gone down as one of the legendary plays in Celts playoff history. What a joke of a call. Even Pistons fans thought so. End of complaint. I promise.
- Big-time props to Rodney Stuckey and Antonio McDyess on the Detroit side. To Stuckey for staying cool under pressure and showing as much promise as any young player we've seen this postseason. To Dice for constantly working his tail off on the floor and always carrying himself as a classy professional. Credit also goes to Jason Maxiell for his continuing lunch-pail tenacity on the court and Chauncey Billups for putting out an excellent effort in the final game despite the lingering hamstring injury. The Pistons were a worthy opponent, and, fortunately, they are now in the rearview mirror.
- Though he sat out much of the fourth quarter (likely because the team was playing well, and, to the coach's credit, Doc didn't seem to want to disturb the rhythm of the five guys on the floor), chalk up another effective shooting night for Ray Allen. He banged a few more big ones en route to going 6-for-12 with three treys for 17 points. As always, despite being off the floor for a long stretch in the fourth, Allen was as ready as ever for two foul shots in the game's final minute to stretch the Celts' lead to nine. Good work on the floor, good work being a team guy off it.
- A warm hand to Leon Powe! Welcome back to the rotation, sir! The stat line wasn't anything to write home about, but he gave the Celtics some good hard work and energy in his six minutes and change, made a nice defensive play in the post and had an and-one lay-in early on. Good to see him back on the floor.
- Like him or not, Doc Rivers has coached this team to the NBA Finals. One can only hope that we're past the point at which members of the green faithful would be even considering rooting against this team in the interest of costing Doc his job. Not that it would ever be acceptable in my book, but my book determines only my own personal course of action, not those of other fans. To each his own.
- The rest of the thoughts are still unscrambling in my brain -- and we'll get to them over the next couple of days -- but it's past four in the morning on the East Coast, and the blood is still rushing to my head, so just one more for now: Our Boston Celtics are going to the NBA Finals! Let's live it and love it, folks.