I know both Jack and I have written about this change of fate a dozen times, but the fact that a year ago this team had 23 wins and presently has 61 is still beyond belief. Is there any logical circumstance under which you could have seen this coming? No. Everything that had to go perfectly right has - not just the farfetched idea of getting KG and Ray Allen, but also having fantastic coaching, an unbridled defensive intensity, and stellar role players to complement the stars. All these pieces falling in place makes for a historic occasion, and is why Ainge has to be the no-brainer winner of Executive of the Year, although he won't be. And while in earlier months we were saying that big seasonal turnarounds do happen in the NBA, it needs to be acknowledged that nothing like this has ever occurred. This is not Nash to the Suns or Duncan to the Spurs - it is a huge calculated risk by Ainge in giving up nearly his whole roster to acquire the right veteran pieces, and then see it flourish more than he could have ever hoped. So we can quit kidding ourselves that previous teams have had this year's experience. It is wholly unique.
Nothing has been more personally amazing to me than Glenn's deserved ascension into the Coach of the Year talks. As much ribbing as I give him, he's done an excellent job, and if he wins the award it will be deserved. Everything has been different about Glenn this year as a game coach, while his personality has been exactly the same. Last night was a good example. Earlier in the week he was adamant in saying that the Triumvirate would not get games off, no matter what the situation. Last night all three sat - leading to a quintessential Glenn moment where he said that sitting all three was something they had talked about doing for a while. Probably no coach in the NBA prevaricates more than Glenn Rivers. This year when he does, it usually comes up aces, like it did yesterday.
Glenn misleading you is fine because he always seems to find a way to make the team win. Last year was the total opposite. It seemed whenever Glenn contradicted himself last year it led directly to another loss. He seemed like a buffoon, and that was because he was one. Those of you who think I don't give Rivers a fair shake simply don't vividly remember '04-'07. I wish Jack and I were not too traumatized to write about the Celtics in early 2007, because if we did the animosity we have held against Rivers would make sense to outsiders - we would have a written record of the blasphemy witnessed during that cold, cold winter. I stand by my belief - Glenn Rivers was probably the worst coach in the league in '06-'07, and he was almost as bad the previous year. From never being right to always being right is a hell of a transition over the course of one season. Yeah, Glenn now has KG, Ray, and Thibodeau - but it is still unbelievable. Of all the crazy things this year, I have the hardest time making sense of this one. It sure is fucking awesome, though.