The Boston Celtics were once a very good team, if never quite one that deserved the heroic narrative they received in the early years of the Big Three. Now, with the end of the road seemingly rushing up for Pierce and Garnett, are we allowed to acknowledge that they've always been too small for their narrative?
Paul Pierce has been toying with opponents and the game for nearly a decade and a half. It's strange how easy it is not to notice by this point, at least until you remember that getting you not to notice sets up everything else Pierce does.
It's not just that Rajon Rondo finds passing lanes where there are not apparently passing lanes, or regularly reaches seemingly unreachable spaces on the floor. That's remarkable enough, but how he gets there is what makes him great. What Rondo offers on a nightly basis is the possibility contained in the unknown. He is the deviant in a league that thrives on ritual and repetition.
After 44 years with the Boston Globe, Bob Ryan is retiring from the sports column business. He's leaving in good health and good shape; the job itself, though, is kind of hurting, and will miss him mightily.
Avery Bradley didn't come out of nowhere: he was a McDonald's All-American, a blue-chip recruit, and a big-time college player. But his sudden and surprising emergence as one of the most important and exciting players on the Celtics—and one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA—has been the happiest of surprises.