At this point the Orlando Magic should do us all a favor and act like Rashard Lewis when Big Baby Davis came barreling in for a layup in the second quarter last night -- simply get out of the way.
The Parishioners of the Parquet voiced their desire clearly. With 10 minutes and 23 seconds left in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals -- it had long since been over -- the TD Garden crowd delivered a boisterous "Beat LA" chant.
They were merely parroting their West Coast counterparts who filled Staples Center with a chorus of "We want Boston" during the Lakers' victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, with Lakers center Andrew Bynum joining in the chrous.
Everybody wants these two teams to meet, and the sooner the better.
The three-leaf clovers should be Game 4 closers, and you don't need to read Paul Pierce's Twitter account to know that. The Celtics, up 3-0 after last night's 94-71 demolition of Dwight Howard and the disappearing Magic, won't need a broom to usher in Orlando's offseason. They can finish these guys tomorrow night with a feather-duster, so disjointed and dispirited are the defending Eastern Conference champion Magic.
The game's two most decorated franchises -- and the last two NBA champions -- are clearly the two best teams in basketball right now, and their Finals meeting could be what the NBA playoffs have not been -- scintillating. The Lakers and Celtics can only be measured and tested by each other. They're the varsity. Everyone else is JV.
What the Celtics did last night was impressive. They obliterated Orlando with indomitable will, impeccable execution, and undeniable effort. Rajon Rondo, who played the most memorable 4 of 14 shooting game in playoff history, outhustled Jason Williams in the second quarter, hurling himself to the floor to get a loose ball and then scrambling up to score on J-Will.
it is now a part of Celtic lore.
The Celtics won their sixth straight playoff game last night and did so by putting six players in double figures, led by Davis, who had 17.
What the Celtics are doing in the playoffs is impressive. Showing balance worthy of the Cirque du Soleil, the Celtics have not had a player lead the team in scoring in consecutive games in the playoffs. They have four players: Paul Pierce (17.4 points per game), Rondo (17.3), Ray Allen (16.7) and Kevin Garnett (15.7) averaging in double-figures. Their defense has been 2008-esque, as Orlando is shooting 39.4 percent in this series and the Green have held opponents to a 43.2 percent field goal percentage in the postseason.
But not to be outdone, the Lakers, who face the Phoenix Suns today in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, have won eight consecutive playoff games. Their last playoff defeat came nearly a month ago when they lost to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder by 21 points on April 24. The Lakers have five players averaging in double-figures,
In Game 2 of the Phoenix series, Kobe Bryant and his supporting cast put on a clinic with the triangle offense, and the Suns couldn't have defended them with help from the Pentagon. The Lakers also put six players in double figures and shot an incredible 57.7 percent from the floor.
His Kobeness and Co. are the best shooting team in the playoffs at 48.1 percent. But defense wins championships, you and Celtics coach Doc Rivers say. That's A-OK with LA. The Lakers are holding teams to 42.6 percent from the field in the playoffs.
Celtics guard Ray Allen said last night when asked about the current Celtics compared to the 2008 title team: "I believe this team is deeper." The defending NBA champion Lakers can say they're a better team than the version that lost to the Celtics in six games two years ago.
That should translate to a better series, hopefully a seven-game slugfest with the Ali and Frazier of the NBA.
A rejuvenated Garnett vs. an in-his-prime Pau Gasol, who was bullied, intimidated and abused by KG in the '08 series. The courteous and cerebral Spaniard still recoils in annoyance when asked about his toughness. Kobe aiming for revenge on Paul Pierce, who outplayed him when the Celtics won Banner No. 17 and then made sure he told the whole world about it.
Or if Pierce is matched up with long-time nemesis Ron Artest, then it's Kobe vs. Ray Allen. You can be sure Allen didn't take too kindly to Kobe's comments about his elevator going to the 12th floor and Allen's only going to the seventh after Bryant elevated over Allen for the game-winner during the team's meeting at the Garden on Jan. 31.
How about the poor officials who are going to have to try to contain the argumentative Artest and recalcitrant Rasheed Wallace in the same series on the same floor at the same time? If Joey Crawford works this series then the games might get a mature audiences only rating.
Kendrick Perkins battles Shaq and Dwight Howard and then gets Bynum, whom many forget was out with a knee injury when the teams played back in 2008. Of course the perpetually-banged up Bynum is dealing with a knee injury now too, but he is a 7-foot factor.
You also know that if master motivator/manipulator Phil Jackson is going to take shots at Steve Nash then he's going to try to get inside the head of Rondo. It's Jackson's best defense, since Derek Fisher and Jordan Famar have no shot to contain Rondo, who is 10 times the player he was two years ago and whom Magic Johnson anointed as the best Celtics player on this team.
The mere thought of a 12th Celtics-Lakers Finals matchup is enough to get any hardcore hoops reaching for the oxygen like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
What? The Celtics still have to play Orlando tomorrow. Too bad. The Magic are a four-gone conclusion. Bring on the Lakers.
...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.