When we're out of it, I'm rooting for the Celtics. The only time I ever root against them is when we're playing against them. They're very talented. They've got a lot of great parts. It'll be interesting to see how the young guys play as they get deeper into the playoffs, but they've done a great job all year. I think they're awesome to watch. Obviously their defense is very impressive. They're physical, they're on the ball and they make things happen. They've got a legitimate chance to win the whole thing. No question about it.
They've got a nice mix. They've got James Posey coming in off a championship, and seeing what happened down there with some of the chemistry issues and stuff like that. They've got Eddie House coming in saying, `I make shots. This is what I do.' They've got Rajon Rondo trying to prove himself. They've got KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen hungry and wanting to win. They've got guys that all fit in together. I think they got their veterans at good times in their careers. That's a nice, positive combination. But in basketball it's how healthy you are and how you're rolling in May that makes all the difference. The year after Portland won the title in '77, they were like 56-6, something utterly ridiculous. Then Bill Walton gets hurt and some things happen, and it all goes away.
They play hard and they play together. They look like they've been on a mission all year, and that's going to benefit them when the tough times come in the playoffs.I think whoever wins the East is going to have an advantage. There's so much of a dogfight in the West that whoever wins out here probably won't have much left in the Finals.
When KG and Ray came in, it just perked up the rest of the players on the team - more particularly Pierce. All of a sudden Pierce is playing a whole different game than he was before. Then that just goes right down the line. But KG . . . his energy and his effort have been impressed on everyone else. I like that KG is great on offense and he also plays hard on the defensive end. That's where the money is at. And defense is what's made this team really good. It all comes from the coaches and then to the captains and the rest of the players. When people respect each other, that's when you have unity.
They've got a lot of weapons, but they've got a couple of weapons, Garnett is a big weapon. But I think the thing that's different from 1986 is our front line was so good. That Parish-McHale-Bird front line is, you know, a pretty damn good front line. So it's hard to compare that team to this team, but I still give the old team the slight edge because of Larry Legend.
My unbiased opinion is that the 1986 Celtics team is still the best team in the history of the game. This team has to win before it even deserves to be in the discussion.