Grantland: Rebirth of the Celtics
We'll remember it as one of the single most meaningful victories of the Three-Year Plan That Lasted Five Years: the night Boston officially threw its hat into the 2012 title race. It doesn't totally make sense, but then again, none of this makes sense. Rondo could be playing for the Hornets. Pierce could be stuck on the Nets. Doc could be announcing games with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. Bradley could still be buried on the bench. Danny could have panicked right before the deadline and had a fire sale for Garnett and Allen. It's a swollen list of "what ifs," and just about every one of them went Boston's way. At least for now. You never know with those creaky but lovable basketball contenders. We've reached this specific point six other times in Celtics history. Russell's last two squads ('68 and '69) won consecutive titles while running on fumes. The same thing happened with the last good Havlicek-Cowens team ('76). The last two Bird-McHale-Parish efforts ('91 and '92, two severely underrated teams) fell short because the Legend just couldn't stay healthy. More recently, the 2010 squad came within Perkins's knee injury and Artest's improbable no-no-yes 3 from stealing a championship. Now, the fellas from 2012 are making a run. Nobody saw this coming. And really, that's the single best thing about it.
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