I know that many of you out there will call this post premature, but I wouldn’t be writing it if I thought that it was. If the Celtics do manage to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Miami Heat, I’ll gladly put my tail between my legs and go celebrate by myself in the corner…
Last night’s Celtics game was tough to watch. The Celtics started hot, and throughout the course of the game it was clear that they were good enough to win. But after a broken play to end regulation, the Celtic’s look injured, old, and cold in OT. I don’t think that they have enough left in the tank to come back, and I can see the writing on the wall now — the Boston Celtics as we’ve come to know them are no more.
Sure, there will be plenty left up in the air this offseason. All of the big 3 could return, or all of them could leave. Same goes for Doc. Personally, I don’t think it really matters. If everybody stays, they’ll certainly have the best shot next year. But as this year has proven, for as good as these guys are the league is slowly beginning to see a changing of the guard. The time has come for a new generation on younger stars to dominate the game. If the big 3 all leave, the Celtics do have a few good young players to build around. Even if the Celtics were able to retain the likes of Rajon Rondo, Delonte West, and Jeff Green, the fact of the matter is the NBA is the league where I see the most fans getting over-excited about the prospects of a talented line-up. In this league you now need huge amounts of star power to be considered a serious contender.
As a Celtic’s fan, I know what it’s like to see your team dabble in mediocrity for quite some time. I’m sure that Danny Ainge will do his best to keep this from happening, but I see it as inevitable — at least for a few years. It’s going to be very difficult to assemble a team that can compete for years to come with the Heat or the Knicks, let alone Chicago or LA is they are able to land another big player to play alongside Kobe.
While I do feel that the future looks bleak, what’s most upsetting to me is that this current group of Celtics only managed to capture a single title. These guys had it won last year in the 4th quarter of game 7, and I think the team this year was good enough to win it as well. These guys are simply better than the single championship that they won — they are all first ballot Hall of Famers, they learned to play their roles perfectly, and they never had an issue sharing the spotlight. They were all professional, fun to watch, and clutch.
I suspect you’ll see several of them in a Celtics uniform again next year, but I truly feel like their time has passed. It’s not like these guys can’t play anymore — far from it. Paul Pierce went toe to toe with Lebron last night. But will they contend seriously for a championship again? No. It’s been a fun ride.