Tonight, the Celtics lost to the Heat in what will go down as probably the biggest cause for more outrage and charged, feverish banter regarding the Kendrick Perkins trade. You can’t help but wonder if, had the trade not happened, would Miami have won the series so easily, or at all? No one really knows the answer. All they know is that the Celtics just got taken to the street by the most hated team in the NBA, and it wasn’t even really much of a contest.
Perhaps it’s only fitting.
The Lakers had their season ended without much competition this past Sunday, blowing two of the four straight losses by their own accord. Same with Boston, except that they seemed to be losing because the post play was practically non-existent. They didn’t choke up a bunch of games. They kept having to play catch-up. One could even argue that age may have had something to do with it, but still, it’s kind of irrelevant.
The point is that both the Lakers and Celtics exited in the second round in the most embarrassing of ways.
But what does this mean?
Let’s look at the teams. Both have aging veterans still chewing up a lot of minutes. Both have one fundamental face in the franchise who has been around since before Y2K. Both are patchwork teams, composed of stars on crappy teams, of which each respective GM payed a pretty penny for.
I could be wrong – but all of these facts seem to point to one damning outcome.
Basketball is a game that is brutal on the body, so when you’re starting five are still comprised of players who began playing pro ball when LeBron James was still in elementary school, you have what I call “George Blanda Syndrome”.
Interjection: For those of you who are unsure, George Blanda was a professional football player who played for an unprecedented 26 seasons.
It eventually culminates into the collapse of a team. So, we look at outcomes and junk, but I really have no desire to do that right now. Just settle on knowing that within the next year or two, expect to see the Lakers and Celtics drop from the playoff races like a fly tantalized by that bright, eerie light.
So be it. For every beginning there has to be an end. Hey, at least they’ll fall more gracefully than the Pistons did.
One more quick bit before I jump topics.
The question now is can either the Hawks or the Bulls beat Miami? I can’t say, but I will make a quick assumption.
Say the Heat go to the NBA Finals, and win. The big topic of discussion has nothing to do with Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh or even Pat Riley’s tirades finally getting the team to do something. No, it’s going to be “LeBron finally has the ring he deserves!”
If anything, all this does is prove that LeBron’s championship was bought, not earned. LeBron James had to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to win this title. He couldn’t get it done in Cleveland, even with Mo Williams and the sharpshooting seven-foot anomalies Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (even though Z is in Miami). He had to join a team where even the bench is comprised of players who have appeared in All-Star games within the last five years.
It wouldn’t be like the 2008 Celtics, when the Boston Three Party all won their first titles together, and had been slaving in the league on weak rosters for over a decade before that. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh were pieced together using the glue of secrecy, deceit, and bitterness.
It won’t be a shining moment, like it was for Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, who would all have probably limped away from the game by now had their trade not occured. It will be looked at as a win for the dark side of basketball, like if Jafar would have taken Aladdin out in a non-Disney kind of ending.
After the few people who still stand LeBron have their moment, the gaze will turn to “LeBron had to destroy the hopes of his hometown just for a ring.”
Such a statement is well deserved.