Game Time is almost here and I am excited and nervous at the same time. There are two Celtics teams: One is focused and plays incredible defense and rebounds and can beat anyone anywhere. They move the ball and find the open man. They take the ball to the hoop and are aggressive. This is the team that showed up against Detroit in games 3 and 6 and all the home games. Then, there is the team that is not focused and forgets how to play defense. They spend a lot of time going one on one and forget the passing game. They don't fight for rebounds and settle for quick jumpers, not willing to go to the hoop. This is the team that showed up for the road games in the first two series. Granted, that team wasn't around much in the ECF, but it is still a concern that they may show up again at the worst time.
Rajon Rondo has launched his website and it is one of the best I have seen for a player. Great stuff. He also has his blog on Yardbarker. He has a car named after him: the Kia Rondo (well, I don't think it really is named after him, but it sure fits him - experience giddyupedness). And don't forget, he has 3 of his very own commercials where to Rondo has now become a verb. Here are the Rondo commercials:
Rondo has been doubted from the beginning. The Celtics couldn't win with a 2nd year point guard. A second year point guard couldn't run the team with 3 stars. A second year point guard couldn't win in the playoffs, etc, etc. Rondo has answered every challenge and silenced critics. This kid is for real and the best part about it is that he is only 23 years old and is only going to get better. He will be a perennial All Star before his career is over.
Perk has also grown up in these playoffs. He was really incredible in the Pistons series. His defense was superb and he did every thing a championship team could ask of their starting center. I have said from the beginning that Perk was going to be a very, very good player and he is proving me right in these playoffs. I love this kid.
I am pretty sick of the articles that suggest that there was some kind of conspiracy involved in the Kevin Garnett trade. The Celtics gave up one of the best young power forwards in the league in Al Jefferson. He is going to be a star. They gave up several good role players, the 5th pick in the draft, a couple other picks, and an expiring contract for cap room. Seven players for one. That isn't a steal. Now, if you want to talk conspiracies, let's look into how the Lakers got Pau Gasol for a bag of potato chips and some dip. There had to be some funny stuff going on there. Chris Wallace is bad, but I don't think he is that bad. Jerry West must have had something on him to force that trade. No other explanation.
Hopefully the Celtics won't concentrate too much on Kobe. The key will be to stop everyone else. Kobe can get his and the Celtics still win. Remember Michael Jordan scoring 49 and then 63 against the Celtics in the '86 playoffs? The Celtics won those games. One player can't win a game. If the Celtics can stop everyone else, Kobe can't beat the Celtics by himself. On that note, I am very sick of all the Kobe hype. In my opinion, he is still the jerk he has always been. I want the Celtics to win this so I won't have to see his phony grin all over the media for the next year. I also want them to win this for Red. I don't like Phil Jackson either and it wouldn't be right for him to pass Red by beating the Celtics. And, I want them to win this for all the loyal Celtics fans who have stuck by this team for all these years and loving them in spite of the down times.
I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I have waited 21 long years for the Celtics to be back in the Finals. They have gotten stronger the farther they have gone in the playoffs. They may have gone to 7 games against the Hawks and the Cavs and many point to that and say that is why the Lakers are the favorites. But, both of those teams played good basketball and more importantly, they played good defense. The Celtics played their best against the Pistons who arguably have the second best defense in the league (second only to the Celtics). I believe that the Celtics got stronger by their early struggles. They won 2 games on the road against the Pistons. They closed the series out in 6 games. In watching the Western playoffs, I didn't see any defense that the Lakers faced that was anywhere near what the Celtics faced in the East. I still feel Defense is going to be the difference in this series and if the Celtics play their game, they will win it.