Hats off to the Celtics for a record-breaking year, the best turnaround in NBA history and a stunning victory over the Lakers to win their 17th NBA championship. Which actually happened two years earlier than I predicted after the Garnett trade.
Of course there have been a fair share of hungry teams to win a championship, only to fall short the following year (Detroit and Miami both come to mind), so I pose the question to you-- do the Celtics do it again in 2009? What do the Celtics need to do to ensure they don't lose the fire in their hearts? And what does the rest of the league do to try and stop them?
"It, uh... it was not supposed to be a fight to the death." "Trust me, they're better off now." "Yeah, you're probably right."
Do the Celtics retain Posey? Does Perkins continue to develop into a solid center and does Rondo's 18 foot jumper become consistent (anyone know when Dick Vitale retracts his 2006 Draft comments about Rondo)? If so, and the Celtics stay healthy, they can contend. On other teams, what does Dumars do to shake up the Pistons? Do the Cavs find something that resembles offense to go along with their defense and LeBron. Can the Magic find a banger to along with Howard inside and the 3 point bombers? Was this past season a disaster to write off and the Bulls rebound with the top pick? As for the West, do the Lakers develop toughness? Are the Spurs old or do they just do their annual win a title, lose, win a title routine? Can Utah win on the road? Can the Hornets continue to improve? Can the Rockets ever stay healthy for a year? Does Portland make the jump up? Can the Nuggets figure out that playing defense is actually allowed under league rules? Right now, I'd pick a Celtics/Jazz Final.
And just because he can't keep his fat mouth shut, Shaq has weighed in...at a New York Nightclub last night. He decided to pick up a mic and rap (NOO!!!) about how Kobe couldn't win without him...among other things.
Shaquille O'Neal took the mic at a NYC club last night, unleashing a freestyle verbal assault directed at his arch-enemy Kobe Bryant -- blaming his former teammate for ruining his marriage and imploring him to "Tell me how my ass tastes."
After spending several verses shredding Kobe apart for losing in the NBA playoffs, Shaq drops the line, "I'm a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced."
This is about as funny as an over-the-hill, seven foot sloth single-handedly derailing a title-bound Phoenix Suns team. Or as funny as knowing that if that trade hadn't happened, Shaq would have led the Heat to the Eastern Conference cellar. HIGH-larious!
The Thunder have nothing to be ashamed of after that series. Considering the Lakers are a veteran ball club and are the defending NBA champions, Oklahoma City gave the Lakers a fight and made LA work pretty hard to advance to the 2nd round.