Flashback to the 1984 NBA Finals – the Lakers have just embarrassed our Boston Celtics, blowing us out and threatening to walk away with the NBA Championship. Larry Bird talks to press and, in blunt language, calls the Celtics soft. The next game Kevin McHale clotheslines Kurt Rambis and the game is as physical as any you’ll ever see. Bird & Co. win the game, reestablish their identity and go on to win the team’s 14th NBA banner.
Flashback to Wednesday night – Kris Humphries delivers a shot to Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo takes exception, a scrum breaks out and Rondo gets tossed. The Celtics go on to lose the game, and Doc Rivers calls his team soft in the post-game presser.
We won’t know how this story ends until sometime next spring, but this game could very well be the turning point for this fragile group of Celtics. Will it pull them together? Will it light a fuse underneath them? Will it propel them to play harder and to battle harder and to ball harder?
Only time will tell. I just can’t get a read on this group, and I can’t tell whether a mean streak is in their collective DNA. I sure hope our C’s get a case of the nasties, because they’re going to need it if they expect to contend this season. There are plenty of good teams in the East, including the Nets, and there is a good chance that these teams could collide come playoff time.