Wednesday, November 14, 2007

6 down 76 to go

I gotta admit, I am very pumped up for this Celtics team. I have watched or attended all of the games this year so far and can not believe how good this team is. Last night they played their worst game of the season and won by 15.

This is the portion of Bill Simmons predictions for the east:

Preseason prediction: 49 wins (third)
Revised prediction: 62 wins

We're not sure that KG couldn't match William Wallace in pure, unadulterated fury.
There's no comparable situation in sports history to Pierce, Allen and KG finding each other at the same exact, "I don't care about stats, I don't care about credit, I just want to win" point of their careers. These guys aren't just hungry, they're Fat Dickie's Hungry. (I'll explain in a second.) They've played six straight games like they were playoff games, and even when they were winning by 35 against Denver last week, none of those three guys wanted to let up. It's like they were avenging every blowout loss that happened to every crappy team they played on these last three years. Can they maintain that passion for nine straight months? Frankly, I don't know.

But here's what we do know: Defensively, they have a chance to become as good as San Antonio. Offensively, they have a big man who draws double-teams and two perimeter guys who can create quality shots whenever they want. And they're nearly impossible to beat at home because of the reborn crowd and KG's ongoing William Wallace impression. The first half of the Denver game was the single greatest display of basketball by a Celtics team since January 4, 1991, and that team could have won the title if Larry Bird's back never went out. For all the die-hard Celtics fans who spent the next 16 years wondering if their team would ever matter again, watching the Nuggets get eviscerated was like watching a beloved relative emerge from a coma or something. It's one thing to have a good team; it's another thing to have a great team. These guys didn't want to just beat Denver, they wanted to break the Nuggets' will. And they did. This team will win 60 games if it stays healthy. At least.

(As for the Fat Dickie's reference … when I was in college, every once in a while, my buddy House and I would get tired of campus food and drive to a barbecue place called Fat Dickie's. Then we'd order an obscene amount of food and chow down -- we wouldn't even talk; we'd just be intensely plowing through the barbecue and occasionally nodding at one another. That's what Pierce, Allen and KG have been like all season. They're Fat Dickie's Hungry. It's a whole other level.)

Reason No. 12,366 why I love the NBA: You can't even imagine KG's crazed demeanor during these home games in Boston with a great crowd pumping him up. He looks like Jonathan Papelbon coming out of the bullpen with a one-run lead, only he stays like that for two and a half solid hours. It's incredible. His teammates are alternately enthralled and terrified by him, and honestly, so are the fans. He's a man on a mission. He's possessed. He's a borderline lunatic. Remember when Ronnie Lott had half of a broken pinky amputated so he wouldn't miss the '85 playoffs? You get the feeling that KG would do the same so he wouldn't miss a mid-January home game against the Hornets. And after admiring him in person for five games, my delighted father (a 34-year season ticket holder) revised his "Favorite Celtics Ever" list, bumped Dave Cowens down a spot and named Kevin Garnett "1B" behind Larry Bird's "1A." Five games! That's all it took. I'm going out on a limb and saying this was a good trade.

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