As a fan of the Detroit Pistons, I hate the Boston Celtics.
But as a fan of the NBA, I love the team in green and white. They’ve won more world championships than any other team in NBA history (16)…including three during the era I became a fan of the game of basketball and the Pistons/Celtics formed a bitter rivalry– the 1980s.
But that’s the thing – the Celtics haven’t won a title (or even been competitive for one) since the 80s. But this year they’re back and their rivalry with the Pistons may just be renewed.
The playoffs just began and they have been picked by many to win another title. And because of their rich heritage of winning, you don’t have to be a fan of basketball to appreciate the Celtics’ recent return to championship contention– you just have to appreciate the rebirth of an old dynasty.
To put this in cultural perspective for you non-sports fans, people in the Detroit area, can you imagine the “big 3” automakers actually being the “big 3” again? The Celtics being great again seems just as improbable. Anyone who’s been alive on this planet at anytime in the last 40 years, can you imagine Michael Jackson being cool again?…without also being fodder for the late-night talk show monologues?
If you can imagine this happening, you can relate to what it’s like for the Celtics to actually be great again.
Okay, hyperbole out of the way, recently I checked in with two of my favorite basketball bloggers: Matt Watson, veteran freelance writer and webmaster of DetroitBadBoys.com and Natalie Sitto, Pistons fanatic and founding blogstress of Need4Sheed.com, about the Celtics return to prominence and The DIFF it makes to them as Pistons fans. FYI – a while ago I wrote a post about about Need4Sheed.com, check it out if you like. Anyway, here’s what Matt and Natalie had to say:
PJP (that’s me, Paul Pickett)- As a fan of the game, tell me how you think this benefits the league to have the Celtics be a dominant team again.
NS (Natalie Sitto) – This is huge for not only the league, but a storied franchise. What could be better than a team like Boston to go from worst to first? The NBA loves a story line and the better Boston does the bigger the story becomes. This just doesn’t affect the current fans of the game it brings in the casual fan. A Lakers – Celtics Finals would be a dream come true.
MW (Matt Watson)- I think the NBA is ecstatic to have the Celtics back on top again. For one, it’s allowed the league to capitalize on the recent success of the Red Sox and Patriots. The Celtics led the NBA in road attendance this year. Just to put that in perspective, they ranked 15th last year. That’s not just because of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen; it’s also because of Tom Brady, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Secondly, there are so many teams in this league that have had a rivalry with the Celtics at some point or another — whether it’s Lakers-Celtics, Pistons-Celtics, Sixers-Celtics — and I think fans enjoy remembering those matchups every time they face off again today.
PJP – As a Pistons fan, talk a little bit about how you feel concerning the Celts playing as an upper-tier team again…do they concern you or do you look forward to possibly a renewed rivalry with the Pistons?
NS – As a fan I never want another team to be more dominating than my team. As a true fan of the Pistons can you have anything but hate for Boston? You just can’t look past the agony they caused Detroit in the past. It was nice to see them down and out. Boston has played phenomenal all year and if I said that they didn’t scare me, I would be lying. They are playing with fire, grit and determination and would be a tough team to get past. Kevin Garnett looks like he wants it most of all and when a guy like that finally has a chance to win it all it will take something special to stop him.
MW- The Celtics were by far the most dominant team in the league this year, and they had their way with the Pistons in two out of three games. That said, the Pistons have never fared well as a front-runner and seem to embrace the role of the underdog. So as a fan, this rivalry both concerns and excites me.
PJP- And the big question…assuming they both make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, who wins…Boston or Detroit?
NS – As a Pistons fan, and the person that I am, no matter what you ask I’m picking Detroit. That said, with the way Detroit’s been playing against the Sixers (first round playoff opponent) I am not looking past round one. So without actually saying it, I am worried that Detroit won’t make it as far as we would like. But I have to believe they will.
MW- You’d like to think that playoff experience counts for something, right? Unfortunately, I think the Pistons have proven that theory wrong so far. That said, if the Pistons do advance to the Conference Finals, that will mean they’ve snapped out of whatever funk they’ve been in so far against Philly and gotten back to how they played for most of the regular season. If that happens, I like Detroit’s chances, even if it means playing Game 7 in Boston. As a fan of basketball, no matter what team you’re rooting for, these are the types of games you hope for. It wouldn’t be the easiest path to the NBA Finals for the Pistons, but it’d be the most exciting.