The Boston Celtics are about to enter the 2009 NBA Playoffs as a two or three seed. The title defense is at stake. Our very lives are at stake. Actually, just the title defense..
There hasn’t been a repeat champion in eight years. And experts say there won’t be one this year, either. Here at Blogcritics we like to shed light on both sides of the issue. There are multiple reasons why the Celtics can win, and (unfortunately) even more reasons why they can’t.
First, the bad news:
• The League is Better — Last year was the best playoffs the league has seen in years. And there has been no considerable drop-off talent-wise in 2009. If anything, the top teams this year are even better than the year before. We could be finishing this season with four 60-win teams. The Lakers and Cavaliers are leaps and bounds better than they were last year; and players like Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard have reached new intergalactic levels. This does not bode well for a banged-up veteran team. Shades of the Pistons.
• Sophomore Slump — The Spurs win every other year. The Sox win every other other year. There’s something about hoisting that trophy that makes you a little too comfortable the following season. Perhaps we should laser-zap these guys Men In Black-style and make them forget about last year once Round One begins.
• Is Doc Rivers a Fluke? — Sacrilege! Blaspheme! Heresy! Terry Francona is not the best manager in baseball. He was just surrounded by the right guys at the right time. The same can be said for Doc. And then some. We won’t know until Thibodeaux signs with the Bulls next year just how mediocre Doc truly is. Ubuntu.
• The Losses of Posey, PJ, And Sam — The signing of James Posey in the offseason was one of the main reasons I picked Cavs-Hornets as my preseason Finals prediction. That prophecy didn’t necessarily pan out, but it has reflected why I picked the Cavs over the Celts. Last year, Posey was the LeBron/Kobe Killer. Without him, the impetus of All-Star Swingman-Stopping falls on Pierce’s lap. The PJ Brown/Sam Cassell veteran combo was another important cog in last year’s title team. We essentially traded them for Mikki And Steph. Not exactly the same dynamic.
• President Obama — Now that Barack is in the White House and can pick sporting events at will, the Celtics just don’t stand a chance. He already declared the Tar Heels National Champions. That Cavs-Lakers Finals Amendment passed through Congress without any opposition. We don’t have an AIG executive’s chance in Hell.
• Kobe — Say what you will, but the man has been lights-out without really having a break at all over the last two seasons. You could make the argument that he’s now the fifth-best player in the league (behind Dwight, Dwyane, Bosh And ‘Bron – not in that order); but when it comes down to the final seconds, there’s no one else you’d rather have. Blech.
• LeBron — King James has morphed into some sort of Oscar/Jordan hybrid capable of unspeakable acts (Legal unspeakable acts — except for that crab-dribble). Posey and Pierce were able to quiet the storm last year, but I wouldn’t put money on the same thing going down this season. Because gambling is illegal.
• KG’s Knee — There is no bigger question mark on Boston’s radar this spring than that gosh-darned knee. A 70-percent healthy Garnett is still better than most, but we don’t need the most intense man in the history of life itself being the least bit trepidatious in a Game Seven must-win. If he can’t scream until his lungs bleed and make Big Baby cry, we ain’t winnin’ jack.
I’m not saying we’re not gonna win it all over again. I’m just saying it’s going to be a little tougher the second time around.
This was the pessimistic article. Don’t worry, the optimistic one’s coming soon.Powered by Sidelines