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The Celtics failed to win a championship after 2008. All of Boston is left to wonder “what if Kevin Garnett didn’t get hurt in 2009,” or “what if Kendrick Perkins didn’t blow out his knee in game 6 of 2010,” or “what if this team had Avery Bradley and Jeff Green?” The fact is Garnett, Perkins, Bradley, and Green all did get hurt, and we are left with just one championship. People will wonder if this group of players truly reached its potential, and I think it did in more ways than one.
The Celtics’ Big Three did what they set out to do, win a championship. Not only did they win, but they continued to be competitive in the years to follow, and finished just shy of winning a second title in 2010. In the last five years the Celtics have won more playoff series than any other NBA franchise in that same time span. Every game, this team gave you everything they had and more, and we as fans were lucky enough to witness Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Garnett play together for five seasons at the end of their respective primes.
Throughout it all we saw the emergence of the next Boston superstar in Rajon Rondo. Having a trademark for being a hot-head, the veteran leaders of this team took Rondo under their wings. He began to go fearlessly to the hoop, and he made passes that had everyone in the arena ask “How did he get that there?” Boston, you have been treated to the type of Celtic basketball that past generations saw all the time. Boston, you were treated to Celtic basketball that would make the late Red Auerbach proud and with Rondo a major part of the team moving forward we can all continue to take pride in the Celtics.
The future of this team is uncertain. If anything, the 2012 post-season run by this team is going to make it difficult for Ainge to blow this Celtic team up. Allen believes he still has plenty of basketball left in his legs, while Garnett has toyed with the idea of retirement. If Allen and Garnett don’t come back to the Celtic organization they will certainly be missed.
The Big Three’s time in Boston restored the passion of Celtic basketball. They were an intense group that only wanted to win, and they didn’t care how they did it. Whether Garnett and Allen come back or not is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the fact that they were here, and that they won. I hope Boston fans are able to truly appreciate what we have been so lucky to witness these past five seasons. The Big Three brought basketball back to Boston. They brought winning back to the Celtics. But most importantly they helped us find our ‘Celtic Pride’ again. On behalf of Boston sports fans everywhere, thank you for everything Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.