Championship experience has brought the Celtics a long way. Consensus says championship experience is what gets teams through the Playoffs. But the Celtics started using it long before the Playoffs. Experience is often about the long view, after all. They decided that it was pointless to chase the Cavaliers. Instead, they rested their stars and honed their rotation. They decided to ignore home court as a factor, and be ready to win. It was a plan you could only make if you knew what it took to be the best.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce look mostly healed of their injuries. Rajon Rondo has been a revelation. It also seems that the intense competition of the playoffs has rekindled their commitment to ubuntu (how about that iconic speech from Doc Rivers in game six? “We have to do it TOGETHER.” I’m not sure if he’s a great coach, but he’s a great coach for that team). They look like geniuses. Everything is coming up Milhouse.
Experience is an ally in Los Angeles as well. This team wears more than 20 championship rings when they go out for the LA Lakers Annual Pig Roast & Fireworks Extravaganza (hosted by Casey Kasem). They too are playing near their peak efficiency. The Laker’s size advantage seems less intimidating knowing that Bynum has a serious knee problem. But Pau Gasol has been a monster in the Playoffs. And Kobe was his old devastating self against the Jazz. In contrast to the Celtics, the Lakers relied on their experience to climb over adversity, rather than jog around it. The climb will steel them. Time will tell whether they have enough strength left to reach the summit, or fight the battle at the peak.