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Boston Celtics: Confusing & Mysterious

The Celtics became a team of mystery last year. We watched them float through the regular season, at times looking careless, leaving us with every reason to believe that the primes of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen were decidedly gone. They looked old and frustrated and we even witnessed Doc Rivers rest some of them down the stretch despite the fact that they were battling for playoff positioning. And then the “Big Three” along with the continually emerging Rajon Rondo seemingly decided to actually care and found new life in the playoffs, as they made LeBron look in foolish in taking down the 60+ win Cavs, dethroned Dwight Howard and defending East Champs Orlando, and took the Lakers to seven games in what was the best NBA Finals in recent memory. They were written off at the end of the regular season and proved everyone wrong, except themselves, revealed in the steady swagger they always carry.

They epitomize the team that turns it on when it matters. They are a team of faces that are only seen in the heat of things- Pierce’s confident glare after he hits another pull up jumper, Garnett’s patented chest thumping while he screams the eyes out of his head, Kendrick Perkins’ grimaces after he gets called for another foul, and even Big Baby Davis’ emphatic emotions, which were highlighted during the Finals, where he was seen drooling because he was yelling so loud. Amidst these charismas, there is the steady poise of Allen, the quiet confidence in Rondo, and the leadership of Rivers as their coach. Somehow this mix seems to be a pretty good blend. They come across as a band of brothers who goes through the motions until someone picks on them. And then they make their point. The question is, can they make another point this season or is this bunch fading?

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They added a pretty big brother to the bunch and yet another personality by signing Shaq. And they also added Jermaine O’Neal. Thus, they added two O’Neal’s, both past their prime, but who will seemingly bolster the center position, which already features Perkins. There are questions if Shaq is the right fit, as his minutes will be the most limited his career has seen, and how will he respond? He has already been coined “The Big Leprechaun,” and Boston hopes this stop fares better than his recent roles as the “The Big Witness” and “The Big Cactus.” They also signed Delonte West, LeBron’s former running mate in Cleveland, who gives versatility on the wing. He will replace the departed Tony Allen, whose handy defense was pivotal against LeBron and Kobe. Defensive mastermind Thom Thibodeau, whose schemes slowed down LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant, is their only other crucial loss as he left to head coach the Chicago Bulls.

Their core remains in suit but they are another year older.

However, mentally this doesn’t seem to faze them. They are like the old men on the street court who keep coming back and finding ways to prove people wrong. And this is what they love most. Thus, could they be the most likely team to take down Miami? Or will they perhaps surprise us in the opposite way and get ousted in an early round by a blossoming team like Chicago or Milwaukee?

The answer to all of these questions is, “Who knows?” And we won’t know until the playoffs. We will likely watch the Celtics stumble their way through the season. They will lose stupid home games to teams like the Nets and the Pacers. Paul Pierce will at times look like he is pouting. Kevin Garnett’s abilities will look like they are waning. And Shaq will probably at some point start complaining. But we will still sit and wait in mystery to see if the heart of this team is still beating. People won’t be surprised if they float through the season, settle for the four seed again, and take down Miami in the second round. Nor will people be surprised to see them return to the NBA Finals and conquer the Lakers. They’ve shown what their capable of. But at some point, the train will slow down. Will it be this year? We will wait in anticipation and will likely be confused and puzzled in the process.


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By: Haddon Anderson
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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