The Boston Celtics barely eeked out a win over the Atlanta Hawks last night, catapulting them into a second round match-up with the Philadelphia 76ers. I’m was certainly happy they won, don’t get me wrong. But then my over-eager buddy who is a diehard Sixers fan asked me if I was planning on writing a Sixers-Celtics preview. I couldn’t help but laughing, for two reasons:
- I’ve been a first-hand witness to the ineptitude that is the 76ers franchise.
- I give the Sixers little chance of beating the Celtics, and I give the Celtics little chance of winning a championship this year.
In other words, this series doesn’t really matter.
I know, I know – that’s an awfully pessimistic point of view. Let’s start with my second point, as it’s a much more succinct argument. Sure, everybody in Boston is talking about the Celtics’ “sliver of hope” now that the Bulls are out of the picture because they match up well with the Heat and have had some success against them this season. Fine. Fair enough. But even if the Celtics were to beat the Heat in stunning fashion (which I don’t think they will), then there is NO chance that they’ll have enough left in the tank to take down the Thunder in the finals. Zip-zero-zilch-none. Moving along…
The Philadelphia 76ers…. where do I even start. I went to college in Philly, so I’m intimately familiar with the city’s teams and fan base. The Phillies now have an all-time great rotation (seriously) – it absolutely should be mentioned in the same breath as Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz – and similarly hasn’t been effective in winning championships (at least not yet). The Eagles are perennial favorites to lose the NFC championship game in their good seasons, and the Flyers are still waiting for Eric Lindros to return to the ice.
As for the Sixers, all I hear every year is that “this is a good, young, and upcoming team that’s going to surprise people.” I started hearing this in 2004, and eight years later I’m hearing the same argument. Let me tell you my version, good citizens of Philadelphia. The Sixers were the last team in the Eastern conference to make the playoffs. They were only a few games over .500 for the season, and they’re led by a poor man’s Paul Pierce (Andre Igudola). They don’t have a single player on the team that averages 15 points per game… or 8 rebounds per game.. or 6 assists per game.
Sure, the Celtics are an older team and they’re pretty banged up, but I still think they are better at every single starting position and they have been there and done it before.
I’ll take the Celtics in 6. Not that it matters.