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Why this was no ordinary division championship for the Celtics


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The Celtics [1] have won the Atlantic Division in all five years of the new “Big 3″.

And it’s a well known fact that they don’t commemorate division titles with banners up above.

But when the Celtics clinched the division Wednesday with a 102-98 win over the Magic, there was reason to step back and take a bow.

It was how they got there that was impressive, especially to their coach Doc Rivers [2]. He acknowledged the significance of the turnaround by the team, which played without the injured Rajon Rondo [3], Ray Allen [4] and Mickael Pietrus [5].

‘€œYeah, it does, I mean [something],” Rivers said. “It’€™s funny we were kidding in the locker room because I really ‘€“ I usually, honestly, don’€™t say much about it ‘€“ I don’€™t know if I’€™ve ever congratulated the team for winning one,” But I did tell them, I said, ‘€˜Guys, I know it’€™s not a big deal to us ‘€“ and it isn’€™t because we’€™re not in this to win divisions ‘€“ but, we were two games under .500 at All-Star break and the fact that you did it and did it this early I think is very impressive.’€™ And it was.’€

Captain Paul Pierce [6] led the Celtics Wednesday with 29 points and a career-high 14 assists. Pierce reminded everyone afterward of what the final goal is for the team, a team that was two games under .500 at the All-Star break.

“I’m not about to go pop champagne bottles or anything like that,” Pierce said. “I know they do in baseball. I mean, it is a good accomplishment. The guys should recognize where we came from to what we are today. It’s a good accomplishment I guess. But all we care about around here is a championship banner. I guess it’s just a step towards the journey we are trying to go towards.”

But Kevin Garnett [7] took the chance to take a swipe at the naysayers who wrote the team off, giving them no chance of winning another division, let alone championship.

‘€œYou guys called us old, over,” Garnett said. “I heard some of your pathetic articles and some of your lousy announcers [predictions]. It’€™s a pity. Obviously you don’€™t know what drives us. We thank y’all for those articles, appreciate it because it lit a fire under. One of the hardest things I’€™ve always said in this league is to create chemistry.”