As you’re undoubtedly aware of by now, the Miami Heat knocked the Celtics out of the playoffs in Saturday night’s Game 7. While in years past, this would have been considered a disappointing season, that’s not the consensus around these parts. As I wrote last week, the Celtics had been an afterthought in the Boston Sports scene due to the tremendous recent success experienced by the Bruins and the Patriots. The last time the Celtics were the leaders of the pack in this town, they were just eight minutes away from their 18th banner in Los Angeles in the summer of 2010.
But the city’s most successful professional sports franchise wouldn’t be held down for long. The Green Team finished a lockout shortened season as the fourth seed in the NBA Playoffs. After duking it out with Atlanta and Philly, the C’s faced the unenviable task of defeating the Miami Heat four times in the span of about a week and a half. And you know what? They damn near did it. What makes this so special, however, is the expectations that people had of this team, or the lack of. Too old. Too slow. Not healthy enough. These can all be considered excuses, and a lot of people in the national and local media accepted them as fact. But this team didn’t. Lead by the ageless Kevin Garnett, captain clutch Paul Pierce, and their fiery young point guard, Rajon Rondo, this team captured the hearts and minds of New England sports fans all over again.
After an epic Game 5 victory in Miami, the C’s were headed home for Game 6, a chance to send the Heat packing, and to punch their tickets to OKC for the NBA Finals. However, the Heat turned it on, behind 45 points from LeBron James, and coasted to a double digit victory. Some fans left the building as the fourth quarter was winding down. But the ones who stayed made sure we knew they were there.
Chants of “Let’s Go Celtics!” dominated the television and radio broadcasts for the last few minutes of the game, with Miami well ahead, in no danger of losing at all. The fans knew, this could be the last time we ever see the Big 3 on the parquet floor. It was there way of saying, “Thank you, Celtics, for a run we will never forget.” Keyon Dooling said “It gave me goosebumps.” It was “Celtic Pride” exemplified. Many other teams would have been booed off the court after getting blown out at home in a close-out game. The fans at the Garden had every right to boo the Celtics that night, but they chose not too. The C’s weren’t supposed to be there, and we knew it. The fact that they didn’t, is what makes this franchise great. This one moment shows what Boston is made of. Not just the teams, but the city and the people who live in and around it. A hard working, blue collar city, filled with “grit and balls”. Look around, we’re everywhere. Celtics jerseys, Red Sox hats, Bruins sweaters, Patriots shirts, they’re everywhere you look. The city of Boston has the best fans in the country, BAR NONE. If you need any proof, see the video below.