Oh my. The amazingness continues. There is a ton to say, but for now let's be brief and try to enjoy the moment. The Celtics made the Finals tonight by doing exactly as we would have hoped - by playing their way, and not backing down an inch. It was how they played the entire regular season, a terrific display of defense, toughness, and resolve. Now if we only knew what to make of it. Beating Detroit in six seems like a hell of an accomplishment. But if you read Simmons today you would think it's all for naught. And he's got a point. But everything is deeper than what Simmons wrote about, and it's impossible not to start thinking about what the Celtics are as we savor the afterglow of this wonderful victory.
What was so gratifying about tonight is that the Celtics shouldn't have won this game. The officiating in the third quarter was atrociously biased against Boston, so despite playing better than the Pistons they found themselves in a ten point hole. If they played how they usually did in the postseason they would have just faded away. But instead Boston battled back as only superior teams can. And therein lies the great paradox of this club - no team this year has more talent than the Celtics, including the Lakers. It's just we no longer have any idea how much of it will be on display.
It was all there tonight, however. And I truly believe that the Celtics are better than a Bynum-less Lakers. I know Gasol adds a whole new (and brilliant) dimension to LA, but the Celtics whooped the Lakers both times they played them, and seemed to match up very favorably to the purple and gold. Now, apparently, everything has changed - the Lakers have exceeded expectations, while the Celtics have struggled mightily. But the Finals don't start till Thursday. The Celtics will have more than one day off for the first time in over a month. In many ways they are actually more of a veteran team than the Lakers. And maybe, just maybe, things are only gonna get better for the Green.