All this seems so long ago now, doesn't it?
When we think back to where we were as fans a year ago coming off a lost season, it really seems all the more amazing that this team just won the NBA title. Really, we'd love to say we saw this coming all along. Unfortunately for us our thoughts on the subject are on the record. Maybe it was residual angst from our days rooting for the pre-2004 Red Sox, but we didn't think this would actually happen - we probably didn't even think it could happen - until somewhere in the middle of the Detroit series. When they traded for Ray Allen, we were underwhelmed. When they traded for Garnett, we were happy, yet still skeptical. As they rolled through the regular season, we were pleased, but stayed guarded. Our confidence reached its peak towards the end of the season as they wrapped up the number one seed, but that was quickly reversed by the Hawks and Cavaliers taking them to the limit, shaking our faith in the team to its very foundation.
Chalk it up to whatever you wish - we're certainly not even going to try to understand it - but somewhere in there, this team just started playing amazingly good basketball. Each night it was someone else stepping up and having the big game. Tonight, it was Rajon Rondo, who was out-offensive-rebounding the entire Lakers team by himself. And if it isn't clear, the Big Three now have cemented their Hall of Fame status. People were getting on all three of them at various points throughout the playoffs, but now in retrospect, it really doesn't matter. This was a total team effort. And yes, that includes the much-maligned Doc Rivers.
The Big Three is getting old in basketball years, and many of the key role players are also on the wrong side of thirty. These Celtics, realistically, didn't have much of a window beyond this year. But they took advantage of it. Maybe it won't be another dynasty, but for the fans who remember pining for Greg Oden, the ineptitude of Mark Blount, the disastous Vin Baker deal, Rick Pitino's famous tirade, M. L. Carr as coach, times when the best Celtic on the court was either Dino Radja or Dana Barros, and the deaths of Reggie Lewis and Len Bias, this one should still be particularly sweet.
UPDATE: Here's video of Kevin Garnett's emotional, giddy interview with Michelle Tafoya: