Depending on how you view it, it’s either a rallying cry or a painful blast of the good ole days. It’s a motto to lead the charge, or a meaningless cry for the wounded and unable. It’s what you want to believe, what you do believe, or something you gave up hope in a long time ago. Either way, it’s nostalgic.
“ANYYTHIIINNGGG ISSSS POSSSSIIIBBBLLLEEE.”
I know you recognize those words. They bring you back to June 17, 2008, the last time Kevin Garnett participated in a playoff game. Garnett, holding his new hat in one hand and the entire world in his other. An NBA championship, after years of heart-breaking failures, was finally his. Confetti rained down. An outburst of emotions poured out. For that moment, as Garnett somehow made a botched Adidas motto seem like the most heartfelt words ever spoken, there was exaltation in Boston.
But, two years later, do his words ring true? Is anything really possible?
The Boston Celtics better hope so.
The regular season struggles persisted right to the very end. The C’s lost seven of their final ten games. They allowed their last seven opponents to score in triple digits. They won only 50 games, after preseason chatter that they’d win 72. Funny, almost, how quick they fell from wanting to challenge for the all-time wins record to fourth place in their own conference.
There have been reports of a splintered locker room. Reports that Doc Rivers is on his last legs. Injuries. Dissension. Poor play. Lack of effort. Oh, the goddamn lack of effort. At times, bad defense, bad offense. Almost always, bad rebounding.
All will be forgotten if the 2010 Celtics win 16 more games.
“We have all the qualities we need to win a championship,” Paul Pierce said, even after seeing his team struggle to its fourth-place finish.
Unfortunately for Pierce and the Celtics, championships are about more than possessing pieces. Rings aren’t won on paper, and banners aren’t raised because of talented rosters. Skill gets you only so far. Reputations carry you for only so long.
If you’re judging by the regular season, the Celtics have no chance. They’re screwed. Done. Finished. See ya next year, Celts. Sayonara, suckers. Thanks for playing.
But championships aren’t won in the regular season.
Have we seen the Celtics’ best?
They don’t think so. To them, they’re as viable a contender as any other team in the Association.
“I think each guy still feels like we can win it, ” said Kendrick Perkins. Beaten down by a long and challenging season, but undeterred. Bashed, batter and bruised, but still confident.
“I like our depth,” Kevin Garnett explained where the confidence is based. “I like our veteran leadership. We have multiple guys who’ve been in the playoffs, won rings, been successful in this league.”
“I never really look at the negative perspective,” said Paul Pierce. “That’s not even in my mindset. I think it’s a championship team that we’ve got in this locker room.”
Can they back up their words?
No matter what the Celtics say, doubts remain. Does the regular season mean nothing? Can a team that had such blatant disregard for the regular season be counted on when the lights are blinding?
“It’s a little bit concerning,” admitted Pierce of his team’s regular season, “but I know that we’re capable of [winning the championship]. And I think, now that it’s playoff time, that we’re going to be a little bit more focused, a little bit more detailed about the things we do.”
He continued, “We feel like we’ve got a team right here that can win a championship. That’s always going to be the goal.”
If that goal is reached, if the Celtics defy all odds and expectations, if they can somehow bond together and exceed everything they’ve done to this point, everyone will have amnesia. The regular season will be forgotten.
If they somehow win a championship, Kevin Garnett will be proven a prophet.
“Anything is possible.”