Thursday, May 22, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Celtics roll on
The NBA playoffs are in the throes of the final games before going into the conference championship rounds. The level of play has intensified.
The Boston Celtics have been getting their share of “digs” from NBA watchers since their series began with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is due mainly to the fact that the best team in the league and absolute rulers of the Eastern Conference with a regular season record of 66-16 has struggled when playing on Cleveland’s home court. They have broken into the 90s just once. That came on their 96-89 win on May 14. The Cavs took the game on Friday by five points and that kicked it back to a Sunday game in the afternoon at Boston. But more on that later.
It should be noted that since the semi-finals began on May 3, 15 games saw the clock going past the century mark. In the Western Conference where the Lakers made believers out of the Jazz, there were only two games in which the score didn’t reach the 100 mark. Of course, the Lakers took that best of seven with a mark of 4-2.
Kobe Bryant and company logged a score of 123-115 over the Jazz in the overtime of game four. That meant that they had to put the machine on idle until after Monday night. Their next opponent is the winner of the defending champ San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Hornets. Your writer certainly respects the Spurs but, at the same time, is mostly thrilled by the manner in which the Hornets have taken care of business, especially in their division.
Perhaps the easiest test was met by the Detroit Pistons in their series with the Orlando Magic. The Pistons weren’t all that prominent in posting 100s and they had a couple of close ones, but still earned the long layoff by closing things out on May 13 to win the series 4-1. Piston team members stated on Sunday that they were not worried about the long respite, vowing that they would be ready for the Celtics or Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Now back to the Cavaliers and the Celtics. If you were watching this game and focused in on the countenances of the players, you probably saw the eagerness on the faces of the Celtics and the frustration and determination of the Cavaliers. The Celtics are trying hard to establish their own modern day legacy and to add the 17th banner to the rafters in Boston. It had taken the Celtics six years to get back to this point. Conversely, Cleveland was last year’s Eastern Conference winner.
The Celtics had picked up some players that really showed up in game seven – P.J. Brown, who didn’t join the team until January, and Kevin Garnett, a proven winner, after last season. But it was 10-year Celtics veteran Paul Pierce who made sure that the Celtics were never behind in this game. He and LeBron James turned it into a real duel in the second half, the latter hitting 44 overall and the former 41.
The Celtics were scheduled to host the Pistons on Tuesday in Boston.
Sports fans, there is only one thing left to say – Go Celtics!
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