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Ryan Waning Ryan Waning
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All aboard the Celtics bandwagon

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All aboard. Everybody make sure your hands and feet are inside the vehicle before we depart. A cursory look to your right and then to your left will reveal that not all the seats are taken here on the Celtics Bandwagon. I'd venture that we are barely over half capacity.

And why is that?

It's not hard to see that after two games, the Boston Celtics have found a first-round dance partner with skills to equal theirs in the Atlanta Hawks. In fact, no matter what the turnout of the series, if you look strictly at the match-ups, the Hawks have the better team in a lot of ways.

Is it a product of the success that the region's sports teams have had over the past decade and a half? The Red Sox, for all of their struggles the last two seasons, have won three world championshipsover the last twelve years. The Bruins have raised Lord Stanley's Cup. The Patriots? They are either in the Super Bowl or the Conference Championship about as often as KFC changes Colonels.

Do you remember when the C's muscled their way to raising that newest of banners into the Garden's heights in 2007? I do. I remember it very well, actually, but you see, I've been separated from that moment long enough to look at it with clearer eyes than through the rose-Red Auerbach-colored glasses I was wearing at the time and realize it just wasn't exciting. The winning? For sure, that's always a blast. But those Celtics teams were no-fun to watch. Slow, ball-dominant offense and such an emphasis on tempo control defense; Claude Julien might as well have sending in the game plan.

This year's Celtics team is fun and freewheeling in a way that East Coast basketball teams rarely are. The ball is always moving, and that keeps everyone interestedincluding me.

I'm curious as to whether the abundance of anniversary coverage for the 86 Celtics, a team filled with all-stars, Hall-of-Famers and one-of-a-kind greats a teamthat is arguably one of the best of all time - has done this team's collection of role players and borderliners a disservice. Having their modest run of success placed alongside the context of what the original Big Three did is a no-win situation, one that is patently unfair.

In any case, whatever your reason for not really being in love with this C's team - now is your chance. Consider this your call to action, because this wagon's not going to be half-empty forever. What's happening right now will be viewed as special in just a couple of seasons. Think about it - add a top-four lottery pick to this group and there's little doubt that one of those high-end free agents that we always hear about but never can quite lure to Boston might have their interest piqued. The right guy could come in, kick the tires a bit and realize he could be the Man and make the difference for this young, hungry, yet starless franchise.

When that happens, the cart will break away from the horse and there will be pink Celtics hats as far as the eye can see. The casual fan invasion will have begun and the funzies that we've been having will slowly begin to erode back into that specialindifference that isa core part of New England sports fandom.

Instead, why not follow the rainbow with me now? There might not be playoff wins at the end, but I like our chances to catch a leprechaun.


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