Thursday, March 20, 2008

Look In The Mirror

Tonight's victory makes me say something I would have said anyway: The Celtics are the favorites for the NBA Title. This has nothing to do with me being a homer, and I have oddsmakers to help me attest to that. The C's might not win the championship, but objective analysis brings us to the conclusion that they seem to have a better shot than any other team. The Texas road trip has only reinforced this point, and drilled in how fantastic this squad is.

Why the Green are superior to the other contenders is their great defense and incredible consistency. This Dallas game was case in point: the Celtics just wore the Mavs down and then made key plays down the stretch to win. It wasn't remotely surprising to see them do this. At this juncture it has been established over and over again - no one is tougher defensively than the Celtics, and when you have three stars on offense complementing merciless D you win most of the time.

So Boston has less to stress about than anyone else. Yes, there is reason to be horrified of Glenn, but his coaching this year has been sound. While I will always be fearful of Glenn Rivers, other teams seem to have more worrisome issues. San Antonio is still great but has been plagued by inconsistency. The Lakers are tremendously potent but are relatively young and finding their chemistry. Phoenix could pull it all together and go all the way, but they just as easily could lose in the first round. Dallas looks off-kilter. Detroit is very good but simply doesn't seem quite as robust as the C's. I don't consider anyone else a serious contender.

Meanwhile the train keeps rollin' along. The argument that the C's don't have enough playoff experience seems nitpicky given the team's clutch play throughout the year and the large veteran presence. They beat opponents indiscriminately - now 23-4 vs. the West and 32-9 vs. the East. They have a favorable schedule down the stretch and early in the Playoffs. And they just plain seem to get it. So while any number of things could go wrong, we are no longer dreaming when we say the Celtics are the odds-on favorite.

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