By Kevin Henkin
The arrival of spring looms in the air, and so too does the inevitableness of a Celtics post-season berth. Let’s be obnoxiously premature and look ahead to the potential match-ups that await Boston. We’ll begin by comparing each potential Eastern Conference playoff opponent and their respective home cities in an attempt to answer some very important questions. For example, do the Celtics stack up well against the other Beasts of the East? Does Boston compare favorably to the other hubs in the hunt? Is this the laziest idea for a column ever conceived? I think you’ll find an emphatic YES answered to all such inquires, as is proven below.
They have riots. We have rolling rallies. They have rampant street crime. We have Dan Shaughnessy. They have Chauncey Billups. We had Chauncey Billups, until Rick Pitino traded him away after 51 games like an impatient short-sighted megalomaniac tyrant. Excuse me. The Pistons are very good and seasoned. The Celtics are very good and inspired. Draw.
They have Mickey Mouse. We have Butch Stearns. They have Hedo Turkolgu. We have Tommy Heinsohn trying to pronounce Hedo Turkoglu. They have gorgeous sunny weather most days of the year. We have a better basketball team. Advantage: Boston.
They have one All-Star (but it’s LeBron James). We have three All-Stars (and one of them is Kevin Garnett). They had a river that caught on fire. We had Ron Borges. They have Wally Szczerbiak, a poor man’s version of Ray Allen. We have the real Ray Allen. They have a new rotation of players learning to play together. So do we, although we’ve had since the beginning of the season to jell. Frankly, though, these guys frighten me a little bit. Draw, until further notice.
Their city has a sophisticated multi-cultural international flavor. We outsource our international flavor requirements to Harvard and Boston University. They have six players from another country. We have Scot Pollard, who is from another planet. They have socialized medicine. We have Dan Shaughnessy. They have Chris Bosh. We have three guys who are still better than Chris Bosh. Advantage: Boston.
They have former UConn standout Caron Butler. We have Ray Allen. They have Agent Zero’s hilarious blog. We have Rajon Rondo’s (I still can’t get over him listing Will & Grace as one of his favorite television shows). They have a middle-of-the-road hockey team. So do we (It’s called Bruins, folks). Their season is on a road to nowhere, with or without Gilbert Arenas. Our team’s season appears booked into the late spring. Advantage: Boston.
They traded away their best player and got worse. We held onto ours and got better. Their remaining best player (Richard Jefferson) sounds like the guy in Beverly Hills Cop who says “We’re not going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe”. Our new best player (Kevin Garnett) sounds like William Wallace heading into battle. The Nets have less soul than Clay Aiken. The Celtics have more soul than James Brown. Advantage: Boston.
They have A.I.’s “Tribute to Practice”. We have Pitino’s “Discourse on Negativity”. They have a .439 winning percentage. We have Dan Shaughnessy. They have Moses Malone as an Assistant Coach. We have Clifford Ray. They claim in commercials to be “like a baby New York”. We’d rather boil ourselves in oil than compare ourselves to New York. Huge Advantage: Boston.
To the other Eastern Conference teams and cities not discussed above, I feel their pain. After all, THEY have teams that are decidedly out of title contention. We? Let’s just say we’re strapping our seatbelts on, ready for a ride that hasn’t come to Celtics-ville in far too long.