Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 2008 NBA Finals: Regaining Celtic Pride

This year's National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals was one for the books. It featured two of the most-heated basketball rivalries of all time—the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams met for the first time in 1987 and this year's finals encounter marked their 11th courtside battle. The Celtics' recent win handed them their 17th championship, while the Lakers failed to capture their 15th title.

Boston, led by the big three, composed of Kevin Ganett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen dominated over the Lakers team which was led by this year's Most Valuable Player (MVP), Kobe Bryant. The Celtics won the title in six games, re-affriming their status as one the elite teams in the league. The 39-point marginal victory was the second best in the NBA finals, and probably the best in a clincher game. Winning the series is significant for the Celtics because of a couple of things:

The Boston Celtics came from a dismal 2006-2007 season and regained lost glory.
The Boston Celtic's 61st NBA season ended with a gloom, with the team finishing with a 24-58 win-loss record—the second worst in the league that season. The Boston Celtics were only marginally in front of the Memphis Grizzlies. The season was also overshadowed with injuries of Paul Pierce and other key players, and the deaths of Celtic greats Red Auerbach and Dennis Johnson. The 2007-2008 season was a complete turn-around of a disappointing season. Because of an overhauled line-up, the Celtics won a total of 66 games and lost 16.

The Boston Win Preserved Red Auerbach’s Legacy.

Because of the the Celtic win, Phil Jackson failed to attain his tenth championship, the number he needed to become the NBA's all-time winningest coach in terms of championships. He ramains tied with Celtic legendary coach Red Auerbach’s record of nine titles.

The Celtic trade proved to be better than the Laker one.
The offseason trade executed by the Celtics and the mid-season trade by the Lakers was a vital cog in the success of the two teams. The Boston Celtics became heavy favorites to win the title at the start of the season by acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen from different transactions. The Lakers on the other hand, were playoff favorites at the start of the season, but became championship contenders by acquiring the services of Pau Gasol, a great passer despite his 7-foot frame. Take note that Phil Jackson’s “Triangle Offense” needed a center that could pass the ball. However, the Celtic trade proved to be the better one because Garnett dominated Gasol in both sides of the court throughout the finals.

This year's NBA finals ended with a bang with the Celtic magic overcoming the Laker showtime. It was sweet victory for Garnett, Allen, and Pierce winning their first title after more than 10 years in the league. Even the elite NBA teams failed to stop the the Boston surge, indeed, the Celtic magic is here and it is certainly here to stay.

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