The Boston Celtics: Dying slower from the Miami Heat

Pat Riley assembled a squad sure to dismember your fathers in Boston. And that’s if they ever get there in time–it could all be a matter of which Eastern Conference buzzard first encounters the near-champs. Picture a shriveled leprechaun, slumped over a desert ditch. His hat’s been knocked off, he’s balding, sweating. His body weakens, his gold pot chances weaken concurrently. The hourglass funnels sand at double speed, a third run at the rainbow is a fading dream. He’s passing out, it’s bleaker than hell as he closes his eyes and remembers past glories.Then he empties his bowels, because like, that’s what happens when metaphorical leprechauns die. They poop green sludge as their souls fly to ethereal bliss. Don’t worry, it’s not gross–it smells like Guinness-steeped potatoes.

I’ve watched friends and relatives slowly pass away. It’s not a pretty process but it does lend itself to emotional preparation. When someone gets blindsided by a truck, everyone they know grapples with instant emotional wreckage. Humans need time to rationalize pain, death and the passing of time itself. Physics dictate that lengthening the time of impact lessens the impact. Is it true for the abstract world? Not in every case, but the people of Cleveland sure yelped throat-etching screams over the sudden death of the Cavs. Dan Gilbert was an egg hurled at concrete; he shattered faster than he was thrown.

And the Miami assemblage has added to hours to Boston watches. Toronto could have made the 2011 Playoffs. Cleveland would have made the 2011 Playoffs. In this scenario, Miami may have returned with another free agent in tow. Three playoff contenders became one, two teams nixed before the first game. There is opportunity in destruction.

There would have been a very real chance of a Boston lottery trip. The Cs won 50 games while battling the inexorable march of age. One year later, they’re worse. Kendrick Perkins’s knee twisted and morphed into the O’Neals, a downgrade in everything but name recognition. Recognize that they’ll suck. Remember that Thibodeau now coaches the Bulls.

If KG’s 2011 knee balks–and that “if” is smaller than NellieBall–the Cs would be adrift…were it not for the Heat Haul. Now, the Celtics will certainly make the playoffs, unless Garnett or Rondo face a retaliatory “Celtic Pride” kidnapping. Rivers can plan accordingly, and Boston fans can emotionally invest in a long season.

Pat Riley has given the leprechaun a glass of water, which means more games. More games means more money, it also means more chances for fans to say goodbye to Garnett, Pierce, and Allen. And if Kendrick Perkins can return to form by the start of the playoffs…they’ll probably lose out to South Beach.

In the meantime, in the NBA’s second season, the Celtics will create memories from their successor’s ascendance. The stench of Guinness-steeped potatoes will be delayed, and it will fill the Spring air. Pat Riley kills the leprechaun–if it comes to that. And Bostonians are better for the process than they’ll ever admit.


Shriveling Celtics: The Big Three’s Combined Per Game Averages, 2007-2010

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