Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!

It’s been a strange week around these parts.? We’ll be back to some regularity next week.? As for last night, I went out in downtown Portland to catch the first Celtics NBA Finals appearance in 21 years.? I was but a wee little boy the last time Larry Bird and co. were in the Finals and still remember choking up at basketball camp when Reggie Lewis died and then wanting to throw up through the ML Carr era and felt the crushing disappointment of Rick Pitino and the excitement when it looked like Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker might restore the franchise back to respectability, but soon that was erased by a likable group of youngsters that couldn’t for the life of them figure out how to win a basketball game.

Being a Celtics fan the past decade and a half has been a difficult thing and one which tests your loyalties.? And last night made it all worth it, watching the C’s take down The Lakers 98-88 in game one of the NBA Finals.

I don’t have cable and do most of my television watching through the internet (contrary to what people assume by this, I love television but don’t see the value in paying for cable, especially when all the shows I want to watch are available for free online).? It was almost overwhelming watching the game last night in a hugely crowded sports bar; loyalties divided down the line.? But far preferred to watching both The Super Bowl and World Series at home (holy crap it’s been a good year for Boston sports).? It doesn’t get any better than high-fiving random strangers you’ll never see again.

As for the game, one wonders how long or quickly Paul Pierce’s name will be mentioned alongside that of Willis Reed.

I’m no sports expert, one who’ll break down the series and coaching match-ups, etc., but several things struck me about that game last night.? Doc Rivers continues to use his rotation nilly willy (which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series), when Pierce and Perk got hurt the team rallied effectively (I thought that was when the Lakers needed to pull away), Kevin Garnett all but disappeared in the fourth quarter (supercompetitve yes, but he doesn’t have that assassin’s instinct like MJ, Kobe or the truly great players) missing nine straight shots but had the key play in the game when he saved an errant pass from being a back court violation.? Plus his follow up dunk on a missed shot was the exclamation point play.

Where does the series go from here?? Well, if it gets any better than game one then the NBA and basketball fans are in for a real treat.? I say the outcome depends upon Paul Pierce.? If The Truth’s leg is okay enough, and he can play efficient hoops than the Celtics have a chance. Garnett’s inability to take over a game, especially one in which he needed to take over, frightens me, as does Doc’s game management abilities.

Still, that was a helluva game last night and when Pierce came back out from the tunnel there was that same feeling you get.? It was the feeling that something special was about to happen.? The same feeling about these NBA finals.

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