Last night’s game against the Denver Nuggets had to be one of the greatest regular season games in Boston Celtics history. Triple overtime, no Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce both playing a majority of the game, being down by three in the second overtime, and the Celtics still find a way to win the game. If there is a lesson to be learned here it would be heart, soul, and dedication beats youth and athleticism any day. Pierce and Garnett embody what Celtics Pride is all about, and to witness what they’re doing is nothing short of amazing.
A team that is without their star point guard, possible rising star in Jared Sullinger, and who’s remaining stars are in their middle 30′s, should not be on a seven game win streak. Boston has defied what no one thought possible, and that would be winning games. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in particular have elevated their games to a level that they haven’t played at since 2002. Pierce’s stat line of 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists is incredible, considering a few weeks ago he was referred to as old. Garnett chipped in with 20 points and 18 rebounds which is a stat line that hasn’t been seen by him in years. Now granted, this was done in 50+ minutes of play, but the fact that they can still play at this level is encouraging.
It’s not just Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who have stepped up, Jeff Green, Jason Terry, and Leandro Barbosa have been major contributors off the bench. Last night, as much as Pierce will get the credit for the victory, it was a complete team effort. From Garnett to Jason Collins, everyone did what had to be done to get the win. Never has it been more apparent than now that even though injuries have taken a toll, the team has unified to achieve a common goal. The Celtics are now a team who are playing for each other instead of playing for themselves. Boston looks for the open man, they don’t take the first shot that comes to them, and the help defense is tremendous. For the first time this season, the Celtics are playing with the “we not me” concept.
Last night, Celtics fans witnessed the return of Celtics Pride. This team is not going to go away quietly. Pierce and Garnett are not ready to retire, or get traded, and in the last seven games they’ve sent a message to Danny Ainge that Boston isn’t done yet.
For the first time in maybe two decades, a Celtics team is literally pouring out every ounce of heart, energy, and will, to find ways to win. As a fan of the game, nothing is more inspiring to watch than a team coming together and succeeding as a unit instead of individuals. When stars like Garnett and Pierce lay everything out on the floor, the rest of the team follows suit, and that’s what we’re seeing with the bench.
There was once a time Celtics teams from the Bill Russell to the Larry Bird eras played with the heart, will, and determination that not many teams could match. This group has found it, and if they grab hold of it, they’ll prevail as a team, and possibly raise one more banner into the rafters.