Sunday, April 18, 2010

KG and the Celtics - the berserker's edge

Sparked by a conversation with a buddy who hates, hates, HATES the Celtics and all Boston sports teams/fans. Naturally, he looked at the KG situation with venom, comparing his bluster to that of an aging silverback pushed to the edges of the pack but still beating his chest on the sidelines to let them know he's still in charge.

ESPN, the NBA, and probably every bball fan outside of Massachusetts seems to be in agreement: KG the habitual line stepper, and this cobbled together 2008 championship team, needs to go the way of Old Yeller and be put to rest. KG has a particularly bad case of the rabies, getting into Andray Blatche's ear during the regular season (note that I am not a Wizards fan) and sending snarly, stinging elbows to Q Rich (note that in a real fight, I think Q takes KG down at 3-1 odds)

But look at that Game 1 scuffle in a different light. If the Celtics are indeed done, isn't their pugilism, their fight, really their last method of banding together? Not for futility trying to stay relevant, but to survive? It's their rallying cry, for better or worse. Cornered, injured, old, their ubuntu had gone the way of teammates questioning each other's motives as far back as mid-season. It needed to be reignited with a real spark; the spark has been found in reactionary violence as a means to save what little they have left of their championship mettle.

If this is the last ride indeed, and the team is to be blown apart, then I see this team in a different light--not as pathetic bullies, but as marginalized warriors pressed into the corner. KG even sported a band aid over his eye, a badge that covered a physical wound but coupled with his attacks made him appear vulnerable and maybe even a little pitiable. But he's fighting. If you take the elbow seriously, and the barking and glares and trash talk and screams then you know that KG has never lacked passion. He is hurt, by Richardson's disrespect of Pierce, by the media making a joke of his team, and at his teammates and himself and how far they've fallen. He's angry at them all, but especially at Father Time and the inevitable decline of the body that every man must face and learn to deal with. Of course he fights, scrabbles, and scraps. And if you take anything from game 1, it should be Glen Davis's 3 point play, the jubilation, and the return of the Celtics' defense for that quarter and a half to squelch the Heat.

With Boston up on Miami in Game 2, while the grizzled Garnett watches on, Boston has banded together through aggression and passion. I think we ought to be excited to see how long the old band can hold out, and not licking our chops to see their demise.