The Celtics playoff run begins tomorrow vs. the Hawks. Although there always seem to be doubters about the Celtics ability to win it all, they were, by far, the most consistent and strongest defensive team in the NBA throughout the year. They have a veteran team and a deep bench. Down the stretch, their reserves played a lot, giving the starters some rest, and they continued to win.
They won't have an easy path to a championship. One of the only teams they struggled against was the Wizards, a potential 2nd round opponent. If they get past them, they will probably face Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals. And, in a potential run to THE Finals, they would have to face whomever comes out of the West, which is so competitive that almost anyone can win.
The most anticipated Finals matchup would be Celtics-Lakers. Not since the Showtime Lakers of the 80s vs. the Celtics Original Big Three of Bird, Parish, and McHale has this rivalry had some juice. I think it would be great for the NBA if this came through. And, if the Celtics managed to win, it would be so satisfying for their New Big Three of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce.
I've loved watching Paul Pierce this year. He is getting the recognition that he has probably deserved for the past few years when he toiled for such a bad team. Now, his defense and all around game is noted throughout the league. And, although knocked for being immature earlier in his career, he was part of the unselfish team chemistry that has keyed the Celtics success this year.
Enjoy this video of Paul Pierce's Top Ten plays from this season.