The Lakers have won the Championship again. Every Celtics fan is going to process that in their own way. Anger, sadness, denial, dismissal, begrudging respect, indifference, justification, the list goes on.
Once all of that has played its course, we’re still left with the question of “what now?” I don’t think there will be many Boston fans willing to stand up and say “Yup, the Lakers are the better franchise, congrats on taking that title away from us.”
Nope. The road to Banner 18 is in front of us and the plan is to add more after that. Preferably at the expense of LeBron James and the Lakers head-to-head.
Not taking anything away from James or the Lakers. This is where I show my begrudging respect (and a hat tip to old friend Rajon Rondo by the way). They did what they did and got their title in the bubble. Add an asterisk if you want, complain about the way they got it if you like, argue about the city in which they won several of the titles if it makes you feel better. Bottom line is that they have their own banners and they happen to add up to the same number as the Celtics.
Put me in the camp that doesn’t care if you want to call LeBron James the GOAT or if you are still a believer in Michael Jordan or Bill Russell or whomever. That can never be proven head to head and the eras are different enough that all comparisons ultimately come up short. I think James is on the short list of greatest of all time and that’s pretty special in itself.
None of that really matters to the Celtics except that it adds further fuel and motivation to go get the next banner for Boston.
The Celtics have a foundation built on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Where we go from here and how we get to the next title starts with them. They weren’t ready for the Finals yet this year and that stings. But they were once again at the door, knocking, and trying to break into that exclusive club.
To get there they’ll need to get better individually. You only have to see how much they improved this year to understand how hard they’ll continue to work at improving their games.
To get there they’ll need the right supporting cast. That part is up to Danny Ainge to work out. He’s already built one championship team and he’s built teams to get to the Eastern Conference Finals several times since then.
To get there they’ll need a little luck too. Injuries happen. Bad matchups happen. Bad bounces and bad officiating happen. This year has hammered home the concept that weird stuff happens. To win a title in this league you really do need to be flat out lucky.
But they can get there and it is my firm belief that we will get there sooner or later. Will it be this next year? I don’t know but I’m ready to find out.
Let’s get banner 18.