Boston Celtics still in NBA contention
The Boston Celtics and their experienced campaigners are proving to the NBA that they’re not done with just yet.
The 107-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers gave them a 2-1 lead in the best of seven, second round playoff series.
Opinion was divided early in the season about how the shortened season would affect Doc Rivers’ team. Some thought the shorter campaign would mean his veterans would stay fresh while many thought the team was in need of rebuilding and the condensed schedule would cause exhaustion.
The Celtics started the season slowly and were disrupted by serious injuries to stars Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen at different times.
Despite this they finished the season as one of the form teams in the competition and ended on top of their Atlantic Division above the new look New York Knicks. This meant a meeting with the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.
In Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett the Celtics have three future hall of famers who have all brought their talents to the fore in the playoffs.
Pierce is still one of the best players to shoot in the high pressure clutch moments while Allen is one of the NBA’s greatest ever shooters and is now a key weapon off the bench in his comeback from injury.
Kevin Garnett in particular though has lifted his game in the postseason. After being labelled by the Atlanta Hawks owner as “the dirtiest player in the league”, Garnett responded with 28 points, his season high, and 14 rebounds in the series clinching final game.
In Thursday’s game against the 76ers Garnett lead again with 27 points and 15 rebounds, his 28th double-double of the season and 7th of the postseason alone.
After overcoming the Hawks in their tricky first round match up, the Celtics are now on track for an Eastern Conference finals match-up with the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers, who are currently locked at 1-1 in their series.
The much fancied Heat are struggling with injuries but still contain recently crowned MVP LeBron James and fellow superstar Dwyane Wade. The Pacers may not be as experienced as the men from Boston but they are a young, tall and exciting team.
Before then though the Celtics must overcome the 76ers. The first two games were both decided by just one point while Boston came back after losing the first quarter to win game three by a comfortable 16 points.
In all honesty the Celtics should account for the 76ers. In Rajon Rondo the Celtics have an undeniable star who has ignored the trade rumours surrounding him early in the season to begin to make the team his.
His ability to score, rebound and set up others is a skill only few possess. With the big three alongside him as well as more than capable supporting players like Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Mickael Pietrus the Boston Celtics could still some make some noise over the remainder of the season.
For their veterans it could just be final chance to add another Championship ring to their collections.
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