Sunday, 28 August 2011
You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Forget what they say Boston's green hasn't had its day. Sure the Lakers beat them the last time they met in the Finals, while the Dallas Mavericks are the reigning champs and there's more Heat in Miami. Still you should never underestimate the pride of a Celtic. Like Sam Malone in 'Cheers' critics are calling time on this ageing team. Sure now these guys may be seasoned but they're nowhere near drawing out pensions. They can more than afford a few more years propping up the bar of contention.
Look at the San Antonio Spurs for example. They've still been in the hunt for years, between best starts and grizzly ends. Sure as they get older there primary weapons may begin to look more like bows and arrows but these Spurs have been clicking around contention for years. This is the exact same space of time that critics have been writing them off. When the swords are drawn there's no butter knives here, this team forks out more. Now there's food for thought for all the critics to do dishes to. Celtics green, blue collar workers roll up their sleeves and get down to business and work. They aren't playing with you.
Still whether worthy of ink or pencil lead, critics are writing these Celts off by the blog, magazine and broadsheet. That's just the way some people see it though right? As soon as you hit 30 it's over and then after that 'you’re too old right'?
It's time to put that notion to bed. It's common knowledge that three things win championships; role players, defense...and experience. Now do the Celtics have plenty of these things in abundance? Role players? Well Glen Davis really is big but his jersey isn't the hottest seller, so check. Now as for defense, where talking about the Celtics here, so check two. Finally as for experience, well people have said the Celtics are old right?
So next season when all the hype of the summers blockbusters have died down and an end to the lockout opens up don't be surprised if it's the Celtics that are at the forefront of everyone's mind. Believe it, this won't be inception. It'll be Doc, Rondo, KG, Jesus and Paul Pierce. It'll be the truth. Dallas are the team to beat and for Boston, beating L.A. is revenge worthy. A cold dish also needs to be served up for the Heat as LeBron, Wade and Bosh have a reigning Eastern Conference champion super group for a generation. Take that and the fact that there's always Magic in Orlando and Nuggets in Denver we definitely have an exciting season on our hands for 2011/2012, whenever it starts. Champions could come from anywhere next year, Oklahoma, Chicago, pick your city. Times are changing but even one of the oldest franchises in league history is moving with the seasons. To bloom like Summer, with a spring in their step, not to fall like leaves in Autumn, or to freeze out like Winter.
How can this team even be considered too old when their best player is one of the youngest Point Guard talents in the league? Throw stardom aside because Rajon Rondo hasn't been the fourth Beatle for a long time now (Sorry Ringo), now this young bucks nipping at the heels of MVP Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and Chris Paul to make a point at being the best guard in the league. Young small, forward thinking, swinging scorer Jeff Green also brings more color to these Celtics.
As for the 'Big Three' these guys may not be taking to the stage like Wade and his new pals but they certainly still deserve their place on it. Kevin Garnett may not be 'Da Kid' that was a hive of energy for 48 straight like he was as in Minnesota anymore but he still brings more energy, heart and enthusiasm then 99% of players in the league. Also as K.G. has matured his game has to, making him one of the best all round forwards ever, just like Tim Duncan he can take anyone, including him.
Ray Allen's fade may have gone but his game hasn't disappeared. His shaved head, three point stroke and killer clutch play (especially come playoff time) is making him look like the closest thing the leagues got to Reggie Miller (or even Larry Bird's legend), now that he's over taken the three point legend that is Miller time in buckets drained. Now as for Paul Pierce. You can't handle the truth, no one can. He's still one of the best, top free agent target or not. The Celtics free-agent regain really is every other team’s loss. The Californian child is New England's finest, writing award-winning chapters of success like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. A reborn talent in the town that leaves opponents hunting for good will, or begging for mercy.
The rest of Boston’s roster is also taking a shape that Glen Davis would dream of. Carlos Arroyo and Nenad Krstic give the team foreign flavour and international intelligence. While valuable veterans like All-Star talent Jermaine O’Neal and real role players like Troy Murphy, Von Wafer and Delonte West gives the team more go to guys that could come off the bench, or start, contributing big either way, either or. This gives the C’s an 'A+' and 'A' grade team in terms of their first and second B' teams. Over four quarters they may even be the last team that’s going to look like a bunch of old guys.
Who's the best player in the league right now? It's obviously between Kobe and LeBron. Now as for the best team, the two heirs to the Dallas throne right now are Miami and L.A., but even though the baton has been passed Boston still have some strength to throw rocks or torch the opposition. They're more than watching like Kanye and Jay-Z. Plus the storied, historical Laker/Celtics rivalry is very much alive until Miami, Dallas or otherwise permanently close the book while writing the next chapter with their own dynasty. Boston is still one of the kings of the East and the rest of the league. Los Angeles better be careful as well because the boys from Beantown have stopped Showtime before and they where only one game away from doing it again last year. Want to know another reason why this Boston team is still relevant? This writer saying all this bleeds purple and gold!
You can't ignore truth, isn't that right Paul?