Coolbaugh: In the Finals, Celtics aren’t done yet

Celtics captain Paul Pierce joins in the celebration after Boston defeated Orlando 96-84 to advance to the NBA Finals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on Friday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Celtics captain Paul Pierce joins in the celebration after Boston defeated Orlando 96-84 to advance to the NBA Finals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on Friday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

The reality of the situation is just starting to set in.

The Boston Celtics are the Eastern Conference Champions and are headed back to the NBA Finals.

Has a nice ring to it, no?

But things weren’t always this positive for the Celtics, even as late as, well, yesterday.

Entering Friday night’s Game 6 against the Orlando magic, Boston was taking heat nation wide after dropping two straight to the Magic after taking a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Celtics fans began to stick their heads into the ground, exclaiming that Boston’s season was over and it would lose four straight like the Bruins.

It seemed as if most fans felt like the Magic already had the series in the bag, even though they had only won two games.

Now, if you ask around the streets of Boston, fans have been struck with sudden amnesia about anything that happened to the Celtics before Friday.

What concerns? We didn’t blow a 3-0 lead? We steam-rolled the Magic, right?

You can’t take away the fact that the Celtics are the conference champions and are in the Finals for the second time in three seasons.

But as Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been quick to point out all season long,`their goal was to win a championship, not to be the runner up.

That’s not to take a way from their accomplishments. For a middle-of-the-road team to eliminate the Heat in five games and then send both Cleveland and Orlando home is not small feat. Their success should be celebrated by both players and fans, but remember who we are.

The 17-time World Champions, to be exact.

Last time I checked, the Celtics don’t hang Atlantic Division or Eastern Conference title banners in the rafters. The only thing that hangs in TD Garden is white championship banners.

And the only way to get that coveted 18th banner is to best the Lakers in seven games.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers pumps his fist after the Celtics' win over the Magic in Game 6 on Friday night. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers pumps his fist after the Celtics' win over the Magic in Game 6 on Friday night. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Yes, I just slighted the Suns. Come on, does anyone really think that Los Angeles won’t close out Phoenix in Game 6 or 7? It’s practically a foregone conclusion.

For all the Celtics problems this year, from injuries to lackluster play, it all comes down to one seven game series against archrival Los Angeles.

I’m sure that David Stern and other league officials are licking their chops at a Celtics-Lakers rematch in the Finals. After all, it’s where amazing happens.

Where as teams like Orlando went wild and crazy when they advance to face the Lakers in the 2009 NBA Finals, it’s business as usual for the Celtics.

In fairness, the Magic deserved to celebrate after making the Finals last season. After all, it was only the second time and franchise history.

But it’s different for a team that has been there 21 times. This is a town where second place is met with a disappointed shun.

In the meantime, go ahead and celebrate your Eastern Conference Champions.

Buy the NBA Finals hat and t-shirt, smoke a victory cigar for Red (if you’re old enough, of course) and emulate Paul Pierce’s trademark fadeaway.

Just remember that the job isn’t done until the Celtics win four more games.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

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