Back to the Garden: A lot can change in seven years

Last Friday I went to a Boston Celtics game for the first time in seven years. That game back in 2000 was a pretty dreadful story. The Celtics played Chicago Bulls in the (final) post-Michael Jordan era. The Celtics stunk. The Bulls stunk. The game stunk. The crowd at hand was mostly interested in dancing their way onto the Jumbotron. I spent the whole game talking NFL with a co-worker.

Photograph of game action from the Boston Celtics v. Atlanta Hawks game, November 9, 2007. Hawks with the ball.

It was a very different story last Friday, when the Celtics took on Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics now have a lot of talent, including the towering but athletic Kevin Garnett. The team entered the game with a 3-0 record, including a ridiculous blow out. The crowd was loud and supportive. All aspects of the floor show were excellent, and the Celtics now has a dance team, something it sadly lacked back in 2000. The Celtics are now demanding our attention, as Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan put it last week.

Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett dunks against the Atlanta Hawks.

After a somewhat slow and error-prone start to the game, Celtics took control and more or less cruised to a 106-83 victory.

Paul Pierce is an intriguing piece of the Celtics puzzle. He used to be the team’s only star, heck, at times he might have been the team’s only NBA-level player, but now he’s overshadowed by Garnett. He struggled a bit against the Hawks, but still ended up making bunch of plays and scoring a bunch of points. Not that I really know much about basketball, but perhaps a good portion of the Celtics championship chances hinge on Pierce’s performance throughout the season and in particular the play offs.

Photograph of Boston Celtics plyer Paul Pierce with the ball, Novermber 9, 2007.

A most honorable guest at hand was Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona. The crowd was at its loudest when he was introduced by the announcer. Francona also took part in a down-time floorshow where he held the ball over his head, where Celtics Leprechaun mascot Lucky snagged it after jumping off of a trampoline (I imagine the “Lucky stole ball! Lucky stole the ball!”-joke has been done to death).

Boston Celtics mascot Lucky instructs Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona how to hold the basketball

Lucky leaps off of a trampoline and takes the ball from Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona and dunks it

I also took a few pictures of the Celtics dancers.