Link to Part I: Click Here
By the beginning of the 2016 season, the Boston Celtics are in the midst of something special.
Giannis has come into his own nicely and has shifted the power of the Eastern Conference, as he recruited Deandre Jordan away from the Los Angeles Clippers with visions of a big contract and a title run.
With a great two headed monster in Boston, the Celtics jump out to a fantastic 17-3 start, and look like a future powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. The league begins to take notice, but teams have little to no answers when it comes to the pick and roll with Giannis and Jordan. This, combined with the fact that Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley haunt some of the top guards in the NBA, dub the Celtics the title “Super-team”.
“I wouldn’t say we’re a super-team necessarily,” head coach Brad Stevens had said to the media. “We need to stay focused on the playoffs and growing, because none of this matters if we don’t win.”
Giannis continues to tear up the league, until an unfateful injury during the second half of the season sidelines him for the first round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks, with much playoff experience under their belt, jump out to an early 3-2 lead, giving the Celtics some major criticism for relying so heavily on just one player for their offensive productivity.
Jordan, taking this as an insult to his talents, goes off and powers the Celtics through the final two games in dramatic fashion, averaging a fantastic 25 ppg and 13 rbg, while showing off his defensive presence against proven veteran Al Horford. This resurgence energizes the young Boston squad, but the Celtics end up falling against a Raptors team that shocked the Celtics in an upset during the second round.
After this heavy defeat, Giannis secludes himself from friends and family, looking instead to come back with a hunger during the following year’s regular season. Having added 10 pounds of muscle, Giannis dominates in his 2017 debut against the Lakers, dropping a historic 66 points and 9 rebounds.
“Anyone can be good for a game or two,” Giannis had said during a short press conference after the win. “But it takes a real one to consistently show off his presence. I want to be that guy.”
The Celtics, once again, look like an X factor heading into the playoffs, getting their first 50 win season since The Big Three Era. Antetokounmpo is drawing votes for MVP and Deandre Jordan is getting consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. Meanwhile, LeBron James has began to lose a step, although he still dominates most nights, putting up modest post-prime numbers.
The Celtics end up with the third seed in the Eastern Conference, and they look to take on an inspired Washington squad that has grown under the leadership of John Wall and Bradley Beal. It’s a heated exchange between the two teams in the first game, and the physicality of the playoffs shines through heavily, as both Giannis and Wall receive technical fouls after a shoving match at half-court, prompting Celtics fans to love their beloved superstar even more.
The series reaches a pivotal Game Six, and the Celtics are one game away from facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. Giannis includes his teammates from the initial buzzer to the third quarter, and then takes over scoring 21 points in the fourth to push the Celtics into the second round.
This is it. The matchup the world has been waiting for. The Greek Freak vs The King from Cleveland.
To be continued