We are spending some time looking back over the Boston Celtics championship season… in an effort to truly appreciate the efforts of those involved. In the first three installments, we've appreciated Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and the Team Owners. Now, we move on to the players.
"Oh nooooooooo….. yeeaaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"
Millions of you did exactly that on Sunday, May 18th… somewhere around around 6:15 pm.
That's when PJ Brown…. with the Celtics up one point…. with a minute and a half to go in Game 7 against the Cavaliers… teed up a jumper.
In the course of 2 or 3 seconds, our playoff lives flashed before our eyes. We had come so far, and this guy was going to ruin it.
But then the shot went in.
Relief. Elation. Disbelief. We were going to win, and on a night when Paul Pierce was fighting a duel to the death with LeBron James… PJ Brown was going to hit the biggest basket.
There is very little indifference about the Boston Celtics in the world. You are either a rabid, green-can-do-no-wrong type of fan… or you're a flat-out hater. But it seems that almost everyone is still happy for PJ Brown. He among the most respected people in the NBA. He instantly was a mentor to our big guys, teaching them… and reinforcing what coaches like Clifford Ray have been teaching.
And he is the perfect balance to a someone like Kevin Garnett, which is important for someone like Kendrick Perkins to see. Perk used KG's emotion to lift his own… but that can get Perk into trouble (as in "foul"). But to see that steady, unfazed, just-do-your-job, kind of player get the job done will no doubt serve to teach our young center that sometimes, you need to just do your job.
PJ Brown wasn't here for very long, but his influence may be felt well beyond his tenure in Boston. And, quite frankly, who knows how that Cleveland game turns out if PJ misses that jumper and the Cavs were able to take a lead. With 1:00 left and a lead… another Celtics miss would have turned that game into a free throw shooting contest.
So who knows? Maybe without PJ Brown, the Celtics aren't even champions. But they are, because he did hit that shot. And for that, and more PJ Brown, we appreciate the job you've done in helping us achieve the ultimate goal… an NBA title.