Thursday, June 19, 2008

Looking for me?

Just in case you guys are wondering why there haven't been many posts here lately it's because I have been busy writing elsewhere.

My main focus during the baseball season is my Red Sox blog, Curt's Bloody Sock, which keeps me pretty busy since there are games nearly every day for 6 months (except today, which is why I am taking the time to tell you guys where I've been).

Recently I have been asked to contribute to a national sports site called Juiced Sports Blog. I provide a Boston perspective to counter the inane ramblings of one Colin Linneweber, who is a New York honk, so it's gonna be a lot of fun.

I will continue to post here periodically, but please frequent these other sites and feel free to comment and/or provide feedback to let me know how I'm doing.

Thanks for all your support and feedback.

J Rose


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics complete miraculous turnaround with title #17

With their 131-92 rout of the Lakers Boston's Big three secured their place in history by bringing the NBA championship trophy back to Beantown.





All of these terms can be used to describe the incredible fraud that is the 2008 Los Angeles Lakers team, a club that was singing "kumbaya" coming into the postseason and fooled all the pundits, like my clueless colleague Colin, into thinking it was an unstoppable, united force by breezing through the first three rounds of the playoffs en route to a surefire coronation as the best team in the land.

And then they met up with the real best team in the league: the Boston Celtics, version 2.0.

By now everyone knows the story. The Cs finished with the worst record in the NBA last season (24-58), missed out on a chance to get the number one pick in the draft (again), and then Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge engineered deals for sharpshooter Ray Allen and defensive force Kevin Garnett, who along with team captain Paul Pierce combined to form the nexus of what would be the Celts' first title-winning team in 21 years.

Nearly one year later the transformation is complete. The Celtics had the best record in the league this year at 66-26, the best road record, the best record against the "tougher" Western Conference, the Defensive Player of the Year (KG), Executive of the Year (Ainge), and they just set a slew of playoff marks en route to capturing banner #17, the most in the history of the league.

Did I forget to mention their Finals record of 9-2 against the Fakers? Sorry.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the Finals against the heavily favored Lakers on the strength of the stifling defense that had been the hallmark of the team all season and Paul Pierce's gutty play, Boston traveled to the left coast for the dreaded three middle games of Red Auerbach's designed 2-3-2 format.

With a nearly unblemished home record in the postseason all the Cs needed to do was win one at the Staples Center, where the disinterested fans are measured by their 'Q' rating rather than basketball knowledge, and the title was all but assured.

By taking Game 4 in stunning fashion, winning 97-91 after rallying from 24 points down to stun the team and the few true fans in the biggest comeback in Finals history, the championship was basically guaranteed to be clad in green.

After a near-miss on Father's Day in Game 5, the teams traveled back East so the Celts could win it in style - in front of a rabid home crowd of Boston fans that hadn't seen a championship clinched in the city since Bird's Celts in 1986.

One epic, embarrassing, record-breaking, foundation-shaking beatdown later, all that was left was the crying. Pierce, who scored less and passed more in the clincher, was named Finals MVP, and another unsung hero, point guard Rajon Rondo, carried the load for a team that seemed to have a different guy step up every game to take the burden off the Big Three's shoulders.

There were tears of joy for Garnett, Pierce and Allen, who shook off years of toiling in mediocrity by cementing their legacies as champs, and coach Doc Rivers, who has been criticized and vilified for his lack of in-game skills and inability to juggle a roster, became a championship-winning coach.

And there were tears of sadness from league MVP Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, a team that was supposed to be the best in the league but turned out to be a bunch of purple-clad posers.

In the end they were decimated by a Green Machine that shut down the MVP and chewed up and spit out the rest of the role players like a piece of sour candy, and when the dust settled Bryant walked off the court knowing his legacy remains tarnished as he has yet to win a title without a certain behemoth center rattling the rim next to him.

The Celtics won title #17 on June 17th while legendary C's players like Bill Russell, Jo Jo White, Tommy Heinsohn and #17, John 'Hondo' Havlickek, looked on.

As the team and fans mobbed center court to celebrate the win, confetti falling everywhere and "We Are the Champions" blaring from the Garden sound system, Garnett embraced his mentor Russell and shouted in his ear "I got mine" in reference to the ring that Russ offered to share with him if he didn't win one himself.

Yup, the 2007-2008 Celts all got theirs.

And the fans of Boston sports got theirs, too - yet another major sports championship.