The Boston Celtics have completed the greatest single season turnaround in NBA history by finishing the regular season at 66-16, a full 7 games ahead of their closest competitors (Detroit Pistons) for a 42 game improvement over last season (24-58). This is a post that I wrote last year right after the Draft Lottery. I had hope but I had no idea that this could ever happen this season. None whatsoever.
The Celtics won their final two games in grand style and beat two of their biggest rivals, the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets by using mostly the bench players. How bad was the Knicks game? Let's just say that a picture is worth a thousand words:
The Knicks were up by double digits until the Celtics bench lead by Sam Cassell stormed all the way back with Rajon Rondo to beat the Knicks in Madison Square Garden going away. Zeke was mobbed by reporters who smell blood after the recent moves made by the Knicks organization.
The Boston Celtics only played their starters in the 1st and 3rd quarters of their final home game and all of them played less than 20 minutes. Rajon Rondo got the day off and received the 2008 6th Star Award from the fans for exceeding expectations with his stellar play in his sophomore season.
Boston ended up winning the game 105-94 behind a career high in points from Leon Powe (27 points, 11 rebounds) and a solid contribution from Tony Allen (18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists). Sam Cassell started at point guard and scored 9 points while dishing out 4 assists in short minutes.
The Boston Celtics finished the season by winning 11 of their last 12 contests (and 25 of their last 28 to end the season) and finishing 1st in every single major team defensive category in the NBA. The Celtics only lost two games by double digits all season and they swept the season series against 17 of the 29 teams that they faced this year. They also finished the season with a double digit point deficit and a 25-5 record against Western Conference opponents. That all spells total domination.
The 2008 NBA Playoffs open at 8:30 pm on April 20th @ TD Banknorth Garden. The (1) Boston Celtics (66-16) take the court for Game 1 against the (8) Atlanta Hawks (37-45 ). Say word!