ASE’ DENNIS GREEN By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor...
Why The Boston Celtics Will Win The NBA Title
PHILADELPHIA — Before I get into the meat of this column explaining why the Boston Celtics will win the 2007-08 NBA title, let me say that the fact that I have been a diehard Celtics fan almost from the time I could walk has no bearing whatsoever on why I believe the Celtics will actually win the NBA title this season.
Here is a look at the important factors I believe the Celtics will need — or already have — to lift the franchise to its league-leading 17th NBA championship.
“The Big Three”
There is absolutely no denying that the Celtics now have arguably the league’s top trio in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. All three players have, at one time or another in their respective careers, been the unequivocal leaders and franchise faces of their respective teams.
None of the trio has ever been known as a selfish “gunner” concerned with only their personal statistics and glory, but all three players can put the ball in the hole with any player at their respective positions.
However, the most important aspect of this trio’s unification for me is the fact that all three players are all focused on one singular goal — winning an NBA championship. Garnett, Allen and Pierce have all gone on record to say that they don’t care who does the lion’s share of the scoring — winning an NBA title is first and foremost.
Okay, so what I believe that luck is overrated and that athletes and teams make their own luck. The bottom line is that the Celtics are way overdue to have something good happen to their franchise for a change. I mean, really … the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis — followed by the franchise’s unfortunate luck in the lottery, (missing out on Tim Duncan a decade ago, and last season’s failure to land one of the top two spots) lead me to believe the Celtics are almost bound for something good to happen to them. Besides, the team has that lucky Leprechaun thing going for them as well.
While the Celtics have not been together a very long time, the ‘Big Three’ did everything in its power to speed up the team’s learning and chemistry curve this preseason. Garnett in particular has been very vocal with his new teammates, getting everyone on the same page, particularly at the defensive end of the floor. Another good thing for Boston is that all three of its ‘Big Three’ are dissimilar players that have attained their stardom in their own respective manner. Allen is the best shooter on the planet. Pierce is a classis ‘slasher’ and scorer while Garnett may be the league’s most versatile big man with his all-around scoring, rebounding and passing ability.
Finally, I’ll say that head coach Doc Rivers’ job got a lot easier with the addition of Garnett in particular. The issue of leadership was quickly taken care of by adding Garnett who is a lot more vocal than either Pierce or Allen. If any player on the Celtics is not hustling all-out all the time, they’ll hear it from Garnett or one of the other ‘PGA’ members right before they take their seat at the end of the bench.
Boston certainly has the opportunity to reach the finals this season, particularly in the weaker eastern conference, where LeBron James and his one-man act carried the Cleveland Cavaliers all the way to the finals last season against the San Antonio Spurs where they were promptly swept.
Boston, despite being a bit thin on the bench, will likely only be challenged by the Detroit Pistons in the east this season, but since that team has forgotten how to play defense under Flip Saunders, I say the Celtics win 4 games to 3 before moving on to the finals where they will face either the Phoenix Suns or San Antonio Spurs.
While either opponent would be an extremely tough challenge for the Celtics, Boston’s trio of Pierce, Allen and Garnett would also cause whomever they face in the finals, big problems as well.
In the end, I’m going to say the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 4-3 to win their 17th NBA title because of their newly professed love for defense.
Besides, it’s about time for this franchise to rejoin the land of the living.