A Lot Has Changed Since The Last Time The Celtics Were The 1st Seed
On the last night of the NBA regular season, the Boston Celtics thumped the Milwaukee Bucks 112–94 to secure a 53–29 win-loss record. As the final seconds dwindled, Forward Jaylen Brown quietly dribbled out the clock to the tune of 18,624 Bostonians effervescently rising to their feet and essentially drowning out the final horn at TD Garden. Before Brown and his teammates humbly walked off the court, their starving fans expressed their appreciation through thunderous cheers and chants. Can you blame them? Aside for the 18 point massacre, they were cheering for something else.
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Boston Celtics clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference.
The last time the Boston Celtics clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference was in 2008 when the real Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett led the Celtics to its 17th NBA championship. Since that ’08 run, Copley Square has witnessed four championship parades (the 2011 Boston Bruins, ’13 Red Sox, ’15 and ’17 Pats) that were decked out in every gaudy color other than green.
The current Celtics roster bares zero resemblance to the ’08 team. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have retired and will soon be joined by the third amigo once the Los Angeles Clippers are eliminated from contention. In fact, aside from Rajon Rondo of the Chicago Bulls and Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies, every member of the ’08 team is either not currently playing or has retirement plans. The Celtics, and the rest of the NBA, have significantly changed since that 2008 season.
Just how different was the basketball world nine years ago?
Back in 2008, the Golden State Warriors — who, last season, set an NBA record of 73 wins- only won 48 games and missed the playoffs. Their coach and MVP were both in polar opposite situations than their current one . Coach, Steve Kerr, was the General Manger of the San Antonio Spurs and two time MVP, Steph Curry, was celebrating his first (of two) Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player Of The Year as a junior in Davidson College. Four time All Star, Kyrie Irving, was also a junior…in St. Patrick High School. Last year’s number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft was still in middle school. 11 year old Ben Simmons was probably just a confused child. Outside of sports, the world seemed like a distant memory eight years ago.
Recalling the year 2008 will undoubtedly jog nostalgic memories. Beijing was conquered by Michael Phelps during the 2008 Summer Olympics and three months later the United States of America was taken control by Barack Obama, who was elected the nation’s 44th President. The movies industry introduced us to the Dark Knight and Kung Fu Panda in theaters and we said good bye to Heath Ledger.
As black and white as these two years appear, there are a few consistent factors that remind us the world has not changed. The 2008 NBA All Star Game was hosted by the wacky city of New Orleans and nine years later they opened their lavish doors to NBA for the 2017 All Star Game. LeBron James finished fourth in the 2008 NBA MVP voting and, according to basketball-reference.com, he is projected to place fourth in the award’s voting again.
The Boston Celtics are trying to retain one important constant factor and add an 18th ring to the historic franchise.