MIAMI, FL - JUNE 05: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics makes a 3-point basket in the final minute of the fourth quarter against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
One thing that's been said about the Boston Celtics as they look to close out on the Miami Heat and now find themselves within one game of making it to the the NBA Finals: It's not pretty, but it's working.
Similar to how you would describe the best Grizzlies performance from this or any of the past two seasons, they haven't played pretty basketball, but they've grinded their way into playing winning basketball. Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not trying to drop a few hundred words comparing the Grizzlies to the Boston Celtics, but there's definitely something there in terms of style and culture. We're not quite the devilish team that the Celtics are, nor are we celebrated as such or draped in championship banners and accolades, but we're similar in that we don't pretend to be prettier than our reflection in the mirror.
There are plenty of ways in which the Celtics lap us in both game and results: They have arguably the best jump shooter in the history of the game in Ray Allen; we have
arguably the worst jump shooting team in NBA - They have an all-time great closer in Paul Pierce, who doesn't "see" pressure; we couldn't close out a 4th quarter game against the Clippers if our lives depended on it - Kevin Garnett is fierce; Rudy Gay is afraid of the moment - and on, and on.
But, that doesn't mean we don't have our similarities. We are, without a doubt, one of the toughest, most physical teams in the league. And while some may refer to the Celtics as "fake tough guys," they do bring the grit and the grind when the moment calls for it -- right, LeBron James?
I can't sit here and say we're the "Celtics: West" or "Celtics-lite," but I do believe that our culture and style does have some similarities to that of the Celtics -- we're on the scale to the Celtics than we are to any other team in the NBA. Which in turn makes us the anti-Heat. And as it turns out, I'm fine with that. I would much rather the Grizzlies look to mirror the efforts of the Boston Celtics, and fortunately for us, they've already made the effort to do just that. We have the right attitude, the culture, but we just need the pieces to be put in place. I mean, I could argue that we're a deeper team than the Celtics, but we don't have a completeness that they do. We don't have shooters, we don't have a backup point guard, and we don't have a franchise player who recognizes his place (see: Rudy).
Those things will come, and/or change will befall this team, so I'm hopeful that we can finally put a run together that does mirror that of this 2012 Celtics team. While they've been sent upstate to live at your uncle's farm a number of times this season, it hasn't once phased them. And that's a winner's mentality. And that's what we need. We need...
Hey, where can we get one of those?