By Gethin Coolbaugh
It’s a go Celtics fans. Your team is going to the NBA Finals.
Boston’s convincing 95-92 win over the Orlando magic in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amway Arena on Tuesday night that gave the Celtics a 2-0 series lead and opened the door for a return to the NBA Finals.
What’s even more impressive is that the Celtics have a chance to sweep the Eastern Conference’s second-seeded Magic, a team that was riding a 14-game winning streak entering the conference finals.
At least that’s the thought put forth by Celtics’ captain Paul Pierce, who tweeted the following after Tuesday’s win:
“Anybody got a BROOM?”
Unfortunately, the Tweet didn’t actual come from the hands of Pierce, who was at the podium addressing the media when the aforementioned message made it’s way to the public eye.
But the confidence is still there, no doubt.
Pierce put the team on his back in Game 2, scoring 22 points in the first half and finishing with a team-high 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting, five rebounds and five assists.
For the series, pierce has amassed 50 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists on 14-of-24 shooting (58.3%). He has also made an impressive 17-of-21 free throws in the series.
In his on-court television interview immediately after Boston’s win, Pierce looked Celtics fans right in the eye (through a camera lens, of course) and told them not to let down when the series shifts back to TD Garden for Games 3 and 4.
He told Celtics fans that he was going to do his best to close out the series in Boston. And then he gave a reassuring wink as he made his way to the locker room.
Magic center Dwight Howard took issue with the Tweet when it wasw brought to his attention during his postgame press conference.
“Pride comes before a fall,” Howard said.
Howard, who was visibly frustrated with his team’s performance, as he should be, was trying to keep the mood positive in the Magic locker room with his comment.
But it sounds like he’s more scared than confident.
There is one significant message behind Paul Pierce’s postgame comments that became apparent after Boston’s victory.
But first, I must disclose myself as a Paul Pierce fanatic.
I’ve never been one who’s particularly obsessed with particular athletes in general, but it’s a different story for Pierce.
The only other athlete I feel the same way for is Jason bay, but that’s a story for another time.
Find me in person and I could tell you that Paul Pierce was born on October 13, 1977 and went to Inglewood High School and many other fun facts about him and his career.
As a lifelong Celtics fan, I have loved Pierce for his leadership and play. And being only 18, the majority of my life has been spent seeing him play on average teams.
Pierce brings a certain candor into the locker room and the press conference. He is the last player you would expect to snub the media or give misleading or false remarks.
As an athlete, and a captain more importantly, he knows it’s his job to always be available and forth-right with the media and fans. And his embraces that job.
But I could go all day about why I love Pierce, and probably will in a later story or book.
Pierce’s postgame remarks make know the point that the Celtics are hungry for one last championship in this run. And when the Big Three are all hungry, there’s absolutely no stopping them.
I have been a big doubter all postseason. I was sure that the Celtics would get past the Miami Heat, but when it came to the Cavaliers, magic and Lakers, I wasn’t so optimistic.
My prediction was that the Cavaliers would defeat the Celtics in seven games. Boston certainly impressed me by downing Cleveland in six, but I still wasn’t convinced.
When the conference finals rolled around, I still went the other way and picked the Magic in six.
But after Boston came out and asserted their dominance in Game 1, I began to think otherwise. And as I sat down to watch Game 2 on Tuesday night, I thought that this was the convincing game.
If Boston won Game 2, I would be wholeheartedly convinced that they were for real and not riding a Butler-like run.
That was much more than a win we whitnessed on Tuesday night. It was a mission statement.
These Celtics want to win, and when they want to win, they’re going to do it.
And as 2008 as an example, there’s no stopping this club when it’s wants something.
Mark my words. If Boston doesn’t close out the series at the Garden, they’ll win it in five games. Next stop, Game 1 at the Staples Center against the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.