All of you who are sick and tired of seeing the Celtics and/or the Lakers in the NBA Finals seemingly every stinking year, raise your hand.
Yeah, me too.
Boston, which beat the Lakers for the title two years ago, has taken home the NBA's top prize 17 times. Yes, that's right, the boys from Beantown have won a whopping 17 championships — the most by any team in league history.
In the league's marquee matchup, the Celtics and Lakers have met in the Finals 11 times in all. And, thanks primarily to those powerhouse Bill Russell-led teams of the 1960s, the Celtics own a commanding 9-2 championship showdown advantage over the Lakers.
With Friday night's victory over Orlando, the Celtics earned the right to shoot for an 18th NBA title when this year's Finals get under way Thursday.
It's no wonder that, with all they've accomplished, often beating the odds, there's this fierce feeling called "Celtic Pride."
And, somewhat sadly, Jazz fans can only marvel at the way those guys in green repeatedly find a way to get things done in the postseason, a place where Utah's hopes continually end in frustration.
Amazingly, Boston — which was only the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference entering this year's postseason play — has now knocked off the top two teams in the East, Cleveland and Orlando, in consecutive series. And Boston did so despite not having the home-court advantage in either series.
Both times, the Celtics took away that advantage by winning a road game (or two) early in the series, putting pressure on the Cavaliers and Magic and ultimately paving the way to wrap up both series with a victory at Boston in Game 6.
"They've beaten two very good teams and made us both look like we weren't very good," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters following Friday night's series-clincher.
It definitely didn't look like the Celtics' year, though, after they went just 27-27 in the last 54 regular-season games, fading to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference, They were forced to take a backseat to LeBron James and the Cavs, and Dwight Howard and the Magic — until it counted most, that is.
Now, it's the Celtics and their cast of supposedly beat up, worn down superstars — Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen — and their rising superstar point guard, Rajon Rondo, who are still standing in the East.
"Those guys played like they wanted to win the championship the whole series," Howard told the Associated Press. "That's why they're in the position they're in now."
And, I mean, really, is there any other way for "those guys" — or any guys — to play? Of course not. When a team gets this far, hey, it'd better be in it to win it — all.
Indeed, there's something to be said for the ability to shrewdly rest your stars during the regular season to help keep them fresh for the playoffs.
It certainly paid off for Boston coach Doc Rivers, who now has just one more team standing in his way of a second NBA title in three years' time.
"This starting five has never lost a series — ever," Rivers told the AP.
"We believed that coming into the season, and we just kept believing."
However, if there's one team to grow even more weary of seeing in the NBA Finals than the Celtics, it's the Lakers.
When it comes to winning NBA championships, they're a close second behind Boston with 15 titles, including five that were won when the franchise was located in Minneapolis — where, by the way, there actually ARE several lakes.
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