There aren’t a lot of rivalries left in the NBA.
Celtics and Lakers isn’t what it used to be, and that is a sign of the times. Sure, you have the Warriors and Clippers, the Knicks and the Nets, but there aren’t rivalries that spew hate and respect at the same time. For the last 3 years, the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics was a real rivalry. LeBron James couldn’t get past the Heat when he was in Cleveland, much like Jordan’s struggles with the Bad Boy Pistons. When he went to Miami, the Celtics big 3 still loomed large over James’ path to a championship.
It was the new big 3 against the old(ish) big 3. It was the historic Celtics against the new school Heat. You had Paul Pierce and LeBron James. This was a fun series of games to watch. When the NBA schedule was released every year, you circled this one on your calender. There was no way that this was going to be on League Pass, either.
That brings us to tonight, where the Boston Celtics will face off against the Miami Heat in Miami at 7:30 ET–on League Pass. That’s right, this once great rivalry has now been silenced due to extenuating circumstances. The Boston Celtics traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets on draft night, thus propelling them to a time of rebuilding. No one cares that Ray Allen left the Celtics for Miami anymore, all his comrades are elsewhere. Rajon Rondo sits on the bench while he rehabs his ACL, and the talent level is about as close as Kobe Bryant and I are in wealth.
When I opened up the schedule for tonight’s game I saw the leprechaun and the flaming ball pinned against each other, and my heart skipped a beat by natural reaction. I then realized what it truly is and scanned for further match ups. Both of these teams share a similar fate in the fact that they don’t know what the future holds, but that won’t translate to a must-see game.
For three years NBA fans gathered around to watch LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh take on Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. Allen would leave the Celtics to join enemy lines, and that only added to the drama last season. I couldn’t help but think of the rivalry’s finale last season, when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce sat out, and it only foreshadowed the events to come. Doc River did some leaving of his own, and his Clippers lead the game of the night against the Rockets.
The Celtics and Heat will face off tonight, but this is different. I shed a tear for a rivalry that was heated, yet shortlived.