It is going to take a while for me to fully take in the magnitude of this moment, but I don't want to let the moment pass without looking at the actual game that sealed the deal.
The Celtics struggled to close out opponents in the post season because they failed to put together complete games. They did enough, never trailing in a playoff series and winning 2 game 7's, but it always seemed like a fight. A quarter here and a quarter there they looked dominant, but then they'd somehow let up or forget to follow through with the gameplan. Teams like the Hawks and Cavs hung around and made things interesting. Third quarters were typically huge, and that was enough. But I couldn't help but wonder how it would look if they simply put together a complete game playing as well as they could.
No need to wonder anymore. In the last game of the year, they played at the top of their game for all 4 quarters. Or to be more accurate, for the first three quarters, after-which the game was over and done except for the standing O's and Gatorade showers.
What else can you say about the New Big Three? First of all, I'm officially going to be capitalizing that name from now on. They deserve it now. All they did last night was the same stuff they've been doing all year. Garnett set the tone early with 10 points in the first quarter (and of course his usual fantastic defense. No more talk about him shrinking on the biggest stage. He's a Champion now.
Finals MVP Paul Pierce managed to dominate the game without scoring much until the 2nd half. Everything was made possible because of the plays he set up and the way he forced the defense to react to him. Ray Allen's three pointers and overall play were just the icing on the cake. Many of his record tying 3's were in garbage time, but he was a factor in building the lead too.
As predicted, our support players stepped up at home as well. Rajon Rondo played another game of his life in the finals (to go with his 16 assist effort in game 2). 21 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and an eye popping 6 steals (one off the record). Basically, the Lakers got Rondo'd.
Big Game James and Eddie House also chipped in with timely shooting to push the lead up. Props also go out to Perkins who played through pain, PJ Brown who delivered exactly what he was brought here to do, Leon Powe, Big Baby Davis, and Tony Allen. Everyone played a role.
And last but not least, give credit to Doc Rivers. Again, what more can you say about him? He was the number 1 scapegoat for last year's team, but Danny Ainge stuck by him and he came through in the biggest way possible. At times he was totally out-coaching the "Then Master" Phil Jackson. He held his composure and provided sound, inspirational leadership when the team needed it the most.
What a great win for a great team. A fitting and perfect end to the year. I'll try to compose some more thoughts on the whole season in the days ahead, but I wanted to enjoy this win for all its glory. They saved the best for last. How sweet it is.