If you hadn’t yet heard, last night, the Boston Celtics beat the L.A. Lakers 131-92 in the sixth and final game of the 2008 NBA Championship. A 39 point victory in the regular season is almost unheard of. In the playoffs, it’s an embarrassment. The Celtics not only won the championship, but made sure the world knew that they were the best team in the NBA, period.
In sports, defense wins games, and the Celtics had loads of it. In the first half of last night’s game, the Lakers had exactly zero (0, none, nada, nessuno, the null set, 4-3-1) offensive rebounds. Wow. Kobe Bryant, arguably the NBA’s best shooter, was locked out of the paint for most of the night, forced to shoot from beyond three-point range . . . with at least one Celtic in his face all night and pesky Rajon Rondo steeling the ball from him more times than I could count.
It wasn’t only the players that made the difference in this game, season and championship. Doc Rivers, the Celtics’ head coach, did a fantastic job all season and continued his brilliance in the playoffs. At the beginning of the season, I really questioned whether he was the guy. I was wrong. Not only was he able to manage three huge talents and their egos (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen – the Big Three) and get them to play as a tight team with a very young point guard and center, but the guy is the definition of a class act. Virtually every move he made during the playoffs, even the ones that seemed whacked, were all great in the end. A smart coach and a great leader. Congrats, Doc.
So, in the last year, Boston teams have taken the World Series and the NBA Championship; have been in the Super Bowl (man, it would have been cool to have won all three), the MLS Cup and the NHL Playoffs (OK, every team gets into the NHL playoffs). If you’re a sports fan, the Northeast corner of the country is a pretty cool place to be.