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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ray Allen Never Had to Take Last Shot

I remember what a big deal ESPN, and others, had made of the issue once Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were acquired to team alongside Paul Pierce. If it ever came down to a last second shot, which of the three players would take it? In an ESPN interview during the season, KG and Pierce both said Ray would. Looks like that never even became an issue for them. Nor did three stars/one ball, too many personalities, or any of those other pre-season criticisms.

One thing I really liked about the Celtics this year was how team-oriented they were. Not only did they constantly send that message to the media, but they also acted it. They talked about being selfless, not caring about awards, and how their only goal was to win. Their team motto was ubuntu, which is an African philosophy to describe a person who is not threatened that others are able and good. That’s exactly how the Big Three embraced each other, not looking at one another like competition, but as pieces that would complete a team puzzle. It’s not often that big-name acquisitions click like this, but these guys, not to mention many others on the team, completely meshed.

Another aspect I really enjoyed about this team is that they went wire-to-wire. They were the best team the entire season, proving themselves to be the class of the Eastern Conference, and NBA. All those people who said their regular season success would go to waste now have to eat their words. I have long expressed how much credence I give to the regular season in any sport. In fact, one reason why I dislike March Madness is because it throws away the importance of the other four months of the season. I like seeing teams that work hard in the regular season get rewarded for their efforts during the playoffs.

A few more thoughts on the Celtics winning the title …

I’m really glad Kobe didn’t get his 4th title so those MJ comparisons can be put to rest. Goodness, was I getting sick of all that talk. MJ is MJ. He went to the finals six times, won it six times, and was the Finals MVP six times. Kobe Bryant is one of the greats, but he’s not MJ. He’s Kobe. Let it be.

How the heck did Sam Cassell finagle a ring out of this? He gave up on the Clippers and demanded a trade to Boston, where he was rewarded with a ring for not doing much. I don’t like the message it sends to other players on bad teams (for the most part).

It wasn’t just the Big Three that won it for Boston. Rondo, Powe, Perkins, Big Baby, Posey, those guys were major contributors to the team. Those draft picks or acquisitions by Ainge went overlooked, but their values are significant.

Lastly, I’m glad Ray Allen got a ring. I like that guy. He’s a good, solid player, who now has something to show for all his years in the league (as do Pierce and KG). I’m probably most happy for him because I really liked him in He Got Game. Love that movie. Doesn’t hurt that they constantly play it on TV.

So congrats to the Celtics on their title. Here’s to hoping their success will promote a team-first attitude throughout the NBA, and all sports in general. The only downside is now we have to deal with New England fans getting another title to celebrate. Sigh.

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