The Boston Celtics just finished off a 131-92 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win their NBA-best 17th championship.
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen scored 26 points, Rajon Rondo emerged as a prominent young point guard and Paul Pierce was named the Finals MVP.
The Celtics were firing on all cylinders and accomplished what was expected when GM Danny Ainge assembled the team during the offseason.
It was a time for celebration in Boston, and the Celtics faithful took to the streets. The sound of people screaming, horns honking and sirens blaring filled the air, as bedlam ensued on Causeway Street and all across the city. Chants of "Beat L.A.!" could be heard among the pandemonium.
Everything else in Boston took a backseat to the Celtics that night, as fans basked in the glory of banner No. 17. Life was good, and the Celtics' victory reassured it.
Much has changed since that night, though, as Boston fans have been reacquainted with their worst fear: heartache.
Boston's history has been filled with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, but the 2000s were heavy on the celebrating. In a decade that brought two World Series titles for the Red Sox and three Super Bowl wins for the Patriots, the Celtics' victory was gravy.
Sure, there were a few bumps in the road, such as the Red Sox' Game 7 loss in the 2003 ALCS to the Yankees or the previously undefeated Patriots losing to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, but it was tough to complain with the city's overall success.
Since the 2008 Celtics cemented themselves in Boston history, however, Beantown has seen better days. The Red Sox were 45-29 and up by two games in the AL East as the confetti fell from the TD Garden rafters following the Celtics' big win in 2008. Even though the Sox entered the playoffs as the wild-card team, they looked poised to do damage in the playoffs.
However, a Game 7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS only four months later had Boston fans wondering, "How could this happen?" A Boston team now was supposed to win these kinds of games en route to hoisting hardware at season's end.
Following that loss, a domino effect of even more anguish started for the Red Sox. In 2009, they got swept in the ALDS by the Angels, whom they routinely dominated in the postseason. This season, they are battling to stay afloat in the AL East as we begin June.
The Patriots also have fallen back to earth. Tom Brady suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Week 1 of the 2008 season, which immediately put to rest any chances of another undefeated regular season. In fact, the Patriots eventually missed out on the playoffs entirely that year.
2010 wasn't much better for the Patriots. Even Brady's return couldn't catapult them back into the league's elite. The Pats won the AFC East title, but were immediately disposed of by the rugged Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs, 33-14.
The Bruins showed some of the most promise of any of the Boston teams over these past two years. Unfortunately, they've also suffered the most.
The B's entered the 2009 playoffs with the best record in the Eastern Conference, and looked poised to make a run at their first Stanley Cup since 1972. A Game 7 overtime goal by series villain Scott Walker on the Bruins' home ice ended that dream, as the underdog Carolina Hurricanes advanced.
This season's campaign didn't go as planned, but the Bruins still managed to make it into the big dance. After going up 3-0 on the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bruins sputtered and lost the next three. In Game 7, the Black and Gold looked as if they were on the rebound, going up 3-0 in the first period. Still, the Bruins found a way to blow the lead, lose the game and send the fans home in anger, disappointment and disgust. The loss still hurts, and probably will for a long time.
The Celtics, however, have an opportunity to alleviate some of the grief that Boston fans have recently felt and end the city's two-year championship drought.
OK, so maybe these two years haven't exactly been the worst times Boston has ever seen, but many fans have still suffered a few sleepless nights and more disappointment than we have become accustomed to.
After about an eight-year celebration, Boston is stuck with a two-year hangover.
Boston fans can only hope that the Celtics can serve as the glass of water and Advil that the city needs to get back out there and start partying once again.
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