How great has this year’s Celtics team been at keeping us glued to our computer and TV screens?
The appropriate answer to that question is either:
a) ‘very great’
b) ‘incredibly great’
c) ‘great doesn’t need additional superlative modification, you idiot writer’.
No matter which of those you prefer, it’s hard to deny the dramatic appeal of this group.
We’ve had subplots galore, starting with the big three’s quest to redeem their Finals loss from last June and expand their individual legacies, and moving onto Boston’s battle with Miami for the number one seed, Kevin Garnett’s impressive return from injury, Ray Allen’s fountain-of-youth chase for the three-point-record, Paul Pierce’s fountain-of-efficiency offensive output, Rajon Rondo’s continued emergence to become either way better than Derrick Rose or not even close to as good as Derrick Rose, Glen Davis’ first consistent and consistently adult year in the league, Shaquille O’Neal’s 1825, Doc Rivers’ (maybe?) last stand, Delonte West’s attempt to put his life and career back on track, Kendrick Perkins’ return from that brutal knee injury, the arrival and departure of a Turkish rookie center, the ongoing mystery of Avery Bradley’s potential, the Celtics as M*A*S*H* unit, the Celtics as most despised team in the league, the Celtics as an elite defensive team even without Tom Thibodeau, and the documenting of all this mayhem on The Association: Boston Celtics.
This has been a fascinating Celtics team.
And up until recently, we thought we had them figured out.
Coming out of the all-star break, other than sorting out the bench rotation and the race for the number one seed, it appeared we were headed for seven more weeks of the same stories – including extending some of them beyond the point of genuine interest.
As an aside, I’m talking specifically about the health issue here. The constant major and minor injuries to both minor and major players has become the narrative equivalent of an aging relative who insists on trapping you in a corner of a room and reciting the same punishing story every time you see them, even though you already know every detail of the time they almost made out with Joan Jett in that bar in Des Moines in 1981.
Are you tired of reading stories about all the injuries?
I can assure you we’re tired of writing about them.
That’s why it’s so exciting that Danny Ainge, the P.T. Barnum of this Boston circus, has given us a new set of characters to wander through a new set of stories for the final quarter of the season.
It feels like we barely have enough time before the playoffs to figure out how Jeff Green fits into the Celtics rotation, how his “versatility” translates to on-court results, whether Nenad Krstic’s touch at the rim will ease the sting of Perk’s departure, whether Troy Murphy can refashion himself as a plus on defense the same way Allen and Pierce did in 2007, and what, if anything, Sasha Pavlovic can bring to the table.
Someone once noted that stories are instructions for living, and for all of us who invest so much energy in the idea that basketball is, if not life, then at least one of the things that makes life so worthwhile, this intriguing tale of the 2010-11 Boston Celtics is destined to finish prematurely, if only because these Celtics understand the prime directive of any storyteller: leave ‘em wanting more.
Which makes this about the right time to wish for another storybook ending.
Like this one: