On Sunday nights after dinner and before “Arrested Development,” I like to grab a beer, sit down in my recliner, look over at the stain on the floral-print couch across the room and think deep thoughts.
Sometimes I will put on music. Other times, I just close my eyes and let the Harkness Tower bells tiptoe across my eardrums. This past Sunday, it happened that the ringers were playing the same song they had played the week before, so, feeling adventurous, I decided to turn on the radio.
A sports talk show was on and I listened to a stammering caller try to explain why he thought the Celtics would win the NBA Championship. The hosts scoffed at him. “The Celtics have the 12th-best record in the NBA,” one said, as my eye began to twitch in irritation. “They are tied with teams that have Etan Thomas and Dale Davis in their rotations.” I would have called in to defend the Celtics at the time, but I couldn’t find my phone and who calls those shows anyway?
Here then, a few days too late to save the ambushed caller, are my 10 reasons why the Celtics will win their 17th championship this June:
1) Because the Dallas Mavericks will not win the championship. This follows directly from the Keith Van Horn axiom, a simple expression of the fact that Keith is just a little too shifty, too undependable and too prone to weirdly terrible play to ever be a champion. I can imagine him losing his car keys. I have a mental picture of him deliberately applying his hair gel in front of the mirror. But I can’t see him celebrating on the court after a game seven. In a similar vein, consider the Jeff McInnis corollary, the Cuttino Mobley postulate, the Bonzi Wells theorem, the Jared Jeffries dictum, the Stephen Jackson precept and the fact that the Sixers suck.
2) Because Chicago is too young.
3) Because Houston will never beat Boston in anything.
4) Because the Big Aristotle is not the Shaq Attack. While everyone has enjoyed Shaq’s evolution from wannabe rapper to deadpan philosopher who dispenses nicknames like the “Big Hegemony” and calls himself the “Alpo of the NBA,” he is no longer a dominant force. Defensively indifferent, chronically injured and still unable to make a free throw, Shaq can no longer take over a game at will. And even when he does take over a game, it’s only for 35 minutes a night. The first time I played with my black-and-blue, Burger King Shaq Attack basketball, I felt unstoppable. Now, I keep it in the back of my closet underneath a Crime and Punishment course packet and an XL Nautica polo shirt that I wore in seventh grade. To draw a terrible analogy between two terrible movies: While Shaq may still be an imposing figure like the one he played in Steel, he is no longer the superhuman one he played in Kazaam.
5) Because teams like the Suns or Sonics only win video game championships.
6) Because Larry Brown will do everything he can to sabotage the Pistons’ season and martyr himself on his way out.
7) Because even though the Spurs are better at every facet of the game than the Celtics, they won’t win. Some analysts have called mid-season Spurs acquisition Nazr Muhommad the missing cog in their rotation. To me, he’s just another pretty piece. The Spurs have lots of role players like him — Brent Barry, Beno Udrih, Devin Brown, Rasho, even Manu Ginobli. They’re like the pickles that get tucked under the foil of an EB burger. You’re always happy to find them there, and they taste fine, but would you really ever notice if one of them wasn’t there? No, you wouldn’t. (Actually, I guess the Spurs would probably beat the Celtics in a best-of-seven series, but that won’t happen because they’ll lose to the red-hot Nuggets who can’t beat the Celtics …)
8) Because the Nuggets have it too easy right now. They give Eduardo Najera minutes, and he makes shots that aren’t lay-ups. They start Marcus Camby for a month, and he avoids a debilitating, season-ending injury. Kenyon Martin, their best player, has led the team in scoring only twice during their recent run, while rediscovered role-players like Dermarr Johnson score at will. Sometimes, Carmelo Anthony even looks like he cares. A good thing can’t last forever (unless it’s bell music), and a team on which Wesley Person gets 15 minutes a night might not even be that good.
9) Which leaves the Celtics, that enigmatic collection of washed-up veterans (Gary Payton), overmatched rookies (Delonte West), perennial underachievers (Antoine Walker) and crazy people (Ricky Davis). The Celtics don’t play well for more than three minutes at a time. They have remarkably little offensive chemistry. They do not defend. What they do have is a hard-to-pinpoint quality of unpredictability, a touch of Mike Tyson in their play. On any given night, they might lose by 20, win by 10 or eat your children. They’re like that guy in B Hoops who is out of control in the lay-up line and dribbles the ball off his foot on every drive, but still ends up scoring 20 points on an assortment of runners and scoop shots. No one likes to play against that guy.
10) Isn’t it about time the good people of Boston had another championship to celebrate?
Nat Jackson is a senior in Silliman College.