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Last year, the Celtics were 16th in the league in defense; this year, they’re first. Rondo can gamble on open-court steal attempts, largely because he’s backed by a hyper-nimble, 6-foot-11 shot blocker who makes everything less of a gamble. Part of Garnett’s allure is the sheer amount of energy he surrenders on almost every possession: some guys make the game look easy, but Garnett makes it look hard. He plays with the face of a man in pain. There is no ceiling to his emotion (during a TNT interview with John Thompson, he once started crying on camera). He is also, by all accounts, an ideal teammate. He’s uninterested in media opportunities and goes out of his way to distract self-adulation. Though Garnett is clearly the club’s highest-profile commodity, Pierce, the team captain, remains the last player announced over the P.A. when the Boston starters are introduced; this is the kind of gesture that has no practical application, but it symbolizes a lot within the insular society of the team. It’s especially significant to someone like Pierce, an all-star who seems destined to forever exist inside mildly depressing coincidences. At the University of Kansas, he majored in crime and delinquency studies; as a pro in the year 2000, he was stabbed 11 times in a Boston dance club. Last year, Pierce stoically carried the Celtics on his back while nobody noticed; this year, he remains the leading scorer but still gets less attention (and less credit) than the passionate newcomer who commands a different context of respect. In so many ways, the N.B.A. is still the playground. Leaders create themselves, and no one can really argue.
I’m pretty sure that was the night i was bonging like 12 beers at zach’s grandparent’s place in north carolina while watching the game on a tv where the top and bottom was all blurry so you could only see the player shoot and had no idea whether the ball went in or not. That was agonizing watching scalabrine sink 3’s like he was kenny in 6th grade.