The Sports Guy marvels at a certain seven-footer’s intensity:
you can’t exaggerate the impact of veterans here, something that surfaced in Game 2 as a central theme — the Celtics were furious about a hard foul that briefly sent Pierce to the locker room in the first half, so they spent the second half banging bodies, doling out retaliatory clotheslines, talking trash and intimidating the young Hawks in every way possible. TCIKG (The Completely Insane Kevin Garnett) was leading the way, as always, and other than Al Horford (a tough cookie who’s going to be great), none of the young Hawks seemed interested in escalating things, getting each other’s backs, sticking up for themselves, responding or even making eye contact with TCIKG.
I don’t know if the Celts can get past the Spurs or the Lakers this year, but it would sure be fun to see them do it. Especially if they do so with KG finally coming up big in crunch time.
There are few things more confidence-inspiring than knowing your teammates have your back. I’ve played for more successful teams, championship-winning teams, up to the NCAA D1 conference level, but the best team I ever played on was my high school soccer team. The team’s competitive ethic and pride was intense; I think we’re still the only soccer team in Minnesota to win a state tournament game and have the post-game brawl make the TV news as well as the front page of the next day’s newspapers.
On an unrelated note, as a Vikings fan, I don’t quite get the elevation of Barry Sanders to the MJ “never bet against him” pantheon. I’d have to look it up, but I don’t recall him ever having a big game against the Vikes. He may have been the only back we ever shut down; the sweetest thing about Adrian Peterson claiming the single-game rushing record is that it helps lighten the burden of those horrific memories of Walter Payton running around, over, and through white Vikings jerseys for 275 yards that are burned into every Vikings fan’s brain.