, Newburyport, MA


June 16, 2008

What has the Celtics season meant to us?

Editor's note: With Game 6 of the NBA finals between the Celtics and Lakers lurking this evening, members of The Daily News sports staff share their thoughts on the NBA season.

Dan Guttenplan

Sports Editor

I'm not a Celtics fan, but I am a fan of what the Celtics have done this season. Growing up in Wilmington, Del., I supported all things Philadelphia. So I preferred Dr. J and Moses to Bird and McHale.

So when the Celtics acquired Ray Allen last summer, I greeted the news with a certain skepticism I reserved for Danny Ainge's personnel moves. The Celtics certainly didn't need another overpriced shooting guard who had never played for a championship team when they already had Paul Pierce. But when Ainge used the Allen acquisition to gain Kevin Garnett's approval for the biggest trade of the season, then I became sold on the Celtics being a potential 50-win team.

Still, in October, no one could've prepared me for what has transpired over the last nine months.

Give credit to Ainge for his foresight in acquiring Allen — a move that led to the Garnett acquisition, which, in turn, led to the development of so many young players like Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe. Give Doc Rivers credit for making the transition from a coach who pushed all the wrong buttons for a losing team to a coach who has outworked Phil Jackson in an NBA Finals. Give Paul Pierce credit for never reaching his breaking point and demanding a trade when the Celtics may or may not have tanked games at the end of the last season. And give Garnett credit for changing the face of a franchise and inspiring countless New England basketball fans in the process.

Congratulations, Boston sports fans. Your Celtics can now share the spotlight with the Patriots and Red Sox.

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