Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hardwood Paroxysm's 2008-2009 Season Preview: Boston Celtics

To be the dragonman,

You have to beat burninate the man.

Your opening preview is by Matt Moore.


Riddle me this.

Is the Celtics' legacy advanced by the legendary makeup of this team? A franchise player validated in Paul Pierce, a true veteran granted reprieve in Ray Allen, the lovable cast of aging veterans and young punks that made the supporting cast, and of course, the warrior, the Atlas, Kevin Garnett, brought to his fullest glory. Do the characters make the story that much bigger?

Or did the Celtics' legacy empower this team? Was their accomplishment only as great, their story only as compelling, their triumph only as legendary because of the storied history of the Celtics and the constant mantra of "Banner 17?" Would we hold them in such reverence if this had been in Minnesota? Or Memphis? Or even Atlanta? Or even Indiana?

The truth, as is almost always the case, lies in both of these ideas. The word synergy is used ad nauseum in today's society, but in this particular instance it works pretty well. The Celtics' history made this team that much greater, and this team made the Celtics' history that much greater. It's an odd value judgment that our society assigns teams with a history of greatness, but it's a fact nonetheless.

So where is this team now? Up until the last week I had very nervous feelings about this Boston squad. I just couldn't imagine Pierce and Garnett returning with the same sense of mission as they had last year. I couldn't see the fates aligning in the same way. I saw age catching up just enough with the lack of intensity to create issues. Pierce's issue in Vegas added to it. But then the reports started to file in. Pierce is motivated. Garnett is back at full speed after a summer of rest. Rondo might improve even more.

How can you honestly pick against this team in any seven-game series? What team has the weaponry to outlast them? I offered up this idea to Rob to see if it would stick: Does having a terrific small forward act as an equalizer for the Celtics? I looked at the teams that had success against the C's. The Wizards did well, particularly when Tough Juice was playing above his average. The Hawks gave them fits in part due to Josh Smith's versatility. And the Cavs put them through arguably their toughest test due to LeBron being, yes, LeBron. So is the small forward spot the key position in formulating an effective strategy against the Green Machine? The data's mixed, which leads me to believe it's probably not a good theory. But honestly, that's all I have. In the end, this team has enough talent, poise, experience, and "it" factor to overcome anything. And Doc Rivers coached well in the Finals. I repeat, Doc Rivers actually coached well in the Finals. I feel like I just swallowed my own heart.

Look, I don't need to tell you how good this team is. You know how good they are. They won the championship. They have three Hall of Fame players. They play together, they play with intensity, and until someone actually proves they can beat them four games out of seven, there's no sense picking chinks in the armor. Every team has them, but really, we have time to concentrate on that.

So what is this team? What's their soul, versus last year? I think you'll see more swagger. Hopefully you'll see less jersey popping and posturing since this team no longer needs to declare they're the Eminent. If Rajon Rondo adds an offensive set, there may not be an offensive weakness on the team. There's likely to be more congruence, with another year together and people settling into their roles more.

This team is no longer a dragon unleashed, roaming the countryside destroying everything in pursuit of control over the kingdom (burninating the countryside, burninating the peasants). The dragon has the village, now it's about destroying all challengers.

I know there's always new weaponry invented, but in most cases?

I take the dragon.

(Also, around here we call Kevin Garnett El Tigre Monstruoso for a reason. Rarr.)

VISIONS BY Rob Mahoney:


"This is for 'Sota".
-Kevin Garnett, June 17th, 2008

On this team, everything begins and ends with Kevin Garnett. He may not be their finals MVP, but do not be fooled. This is his team. His spirit, heart, love, sweat, blood, tears and passion.

Spirit. KG has managed to fuel this entire team, from the last man on the bench through the coaching staff, to the Celtic greats. Fuel them with his energy, nourish them with his desire, and propel them with his need to win a title.

Heart. There are a select few in the NBA who have a heart like Mr. Garnett. There are a select few in this universe who have a heart like him. When he is with you, he's with you. Loyal until the end.

Love. How many millions has he made over his career? It doesn't even matter because he plays with the love of a kid who's hoisting up shots as the rain pours down in his backyard, unable to come inside until he makes just one more.

Sweat. KG will give you every ounce of himself when he steps foot onto the floor. His effort, his body, his soul, it will all be poured out onto the court before he leaves for the locker room and every single drop is another piece of himself that he is giving back to the game.

Blood. Kevin Garnett will do anything in his power to get his team to the top. He doesn't just live and breathe his franchise, he bleeds for it. Celtics fans should be honored that when their guy bleeds, it is in a brilliant shade of green.

Tears. We've seen them in the TNT sit down interview with John Thompson and we finally got to see them again this past June. The difference was that this June, they were tears of joy finally streaming down his cheeks. And with each single teardrop was another piece of himself that was left on the floor of the Celtics homecourt.

There are many reasons to love the Celtics. Eddie House and his crazy shooting and hilarious demeanor. Paul Pierce being such a gritty, tough guy. Jesus Shuttlesworth. The beautiful story that is Leon Powe. Perk-is-a-beast. Rangy Rondo. Add 'em all up however, and the final answer is the same: Any team with Kevin Garnett is a team to love. If Allen Iverson is the Answer, Kevin Garnett is the Reason.

Even when he annihilates your Lakers.


Lemme see... I've already used the "Everybody" motif. Ditto for the "Everything" motif. I've joked on superstars and supersuckers. I've hated about every conceivable thing I can hate about a basketball team. What is left. Oh yeah, how could I forget...


It ain't just the Sports Guy anymore. The Celtics used to be the last bastion of dung-throwing you could use against these mindless shills. But NOOOOO. KG and Ray had to come in and ruin it. That city already had the Patriots dynasty, Red Sox Nation and now its got the Red's Army back. This is awful. They must be stopped at all cost.

And, as recent history has shown us, God has woken up from his vindictive and is getting back to what he does best - hurling fire, brimstone and fail down upon the fans of Boston sports. Tom Brady's knee? Sayonara sucker. Sox getting skunked by a team that lost 96 games last year? You betcha. So now, in the year of EPIC FAIL for Boston sports, the only way to really make it sink in, make those dickweeds feel it to the bottom of their worthless souls, is to dismantle and disfigure this Celtics team.

It ain't gonna be easy. These ignorant drones are going to be pumped up more for the Celtics than ever before. They are going to drink, curse, chant "Scoreboard" whenever possible, pee on you (both on the internets and literally in real life), and basically make you realize that the only good thing to ever come out of Boston was a tea party and Samuel Adams beer. What, you don't like Sam Adams? Well, then you are a communist, because its the biggest and best all American brewery we got left. But I digress.

So, since the world loves KG, Pierce has become the Truth, Rondo is a much better point than anyone anticipated, Eddie House is getting caught up in life and Bill Walker is the most awesome crazy this side of Artest, it can be hard to pinpoint a reason to hate these guys. Sure, you can use the defending champions and everyone should route for an underdog. But we here at HP, we take the high road. We salute this team.

And wish for all their fans to have their arms amputated so they can't wipe their own butts when they crap the bed this year. God hates Boston... and so should you.




1 Qt. El Tigre Monstruoso
1QT. Jesus
1/2 cup Rajon Mustard
1/4 cup BABAY

Mix together with mint, and stir in pure, concentrated UBUNTU.

Serve chilled on championship ice.


Paroxi-Wife note: I, along with every other blogger significant other, rooted for the Celtics in the series last year as soon as they were up just so the season would be over faster. Also because I had picked them, and I love to be right. I'm not counting them out, but I'm not particularly intrigued by them right now. Also, ask Matt Moore about the "storied history of Ghana" sometime, and then reconsider that bet you're placing.

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