Celts Complete Texas 3-Step

1190922388In between NCAA games (Winthrop really came up big for me) , your Boston Celtics accomplished something that no NBA team has been able to do since the early days of the Bush administration. They beat San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas in successive games in Texas.

The last team to pull it off? Sacramento in 2001. The last Celtic team to do it? The 1986-87 version, or as Charles Barkley noted: Not since Larry Bird was still alive. Yes, he was kidding.

It’s a remarkable accomplishment made even more noteworthy by this simple fact of NBA life: They didn’t have to do it. The win over the Spurs was huge, not only because the C’s were losing 33-11 but because they’re the Spurs. The win over the Rockets was momentous. Houston had won 22 in a row. The Lakers couldn’t end it. New Orleans had two shots at Houston and couldn’t do it. And the Cavs couldn’t beat the Rockets at home, either.

So there was no reason for the Celtics to go all-out against Dallas, a team that, by the way, desperately needed to beat someone good. But when Kevin Garnett dove on the floor for a loose ball five minutes into the game, you knew they had to have it.

Marv Albert mentioned something interesting on the broadcast last night. He noted that Doc Rivers said that this was the year for the Celtics to win it all. Not next year, not the year after that, this year.

There has been this assumption ever since Danny Ainge deftly made over the roster that anything less than a trip to the conference finals would somehow be a disappointment. Those expectations should have gone up with a 2-1 regular-season series win over Detroit, and the absence of any other serious challengers in the East.

But if the Celtics trips to the Western Conference have taught us anything, it’s that there isn’t any team out there significantly better than Boston. Now, Phoenix doesn’t seem like a particularly good matchup, but does anyone think Phoenix will get through the Western gauntlet?

The C’s don’t have to beat everyone out West. They only have to beat the survivor, and any team that can win three straight in Texas over four days is good enough to take it all.