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February 12, 2008

Celtics deserve our undivided attention


They have walked the walk and now it's time for fans — and media — to talk the talk.

As difficult as it still is to believe, the New England Patriots are not walking through that door with the Lombardi Trophy.

Other than a Coco Crisp trade or a catastrophic injury, the Red Sox are, at the very least, a month away from anything of note occurring.

And the Bruins, well, we will get to them at a later date.

From the looks of it, the best news that came out of the pro basketball game at the Garden on Sunday was that the Celtics officially clinched a playoff berth.

That's right, on Feb. 10, the Celtics made the playoffs with their win over the Spurs. The New Jersey Nets, the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed as of today, would have to go 17-14 over their final 31 games (they are 22-29) and the Celts would have lose them all.

As for the Celtics' 39 wins thus far, that already has surpassed win totals of 11 of the last 14 seasons.

As for the win over the San Antonio Spurs, don't get too excited. Their point guard, the straw that stirs their offense, Tony Parker, was missing. Though they had won four straight before their plane touched down at Logan Airport early Saturday morning, new acquisition Damon Stoudamire is no Parker.

But the fact that the Celtics did show up for this nationally televised Sunday afternoon game without Garnett speaks volumes.

We've come to realize this Celtics team, now 39-9, is as good as any Celtics team over the last two decades. But the most comforting change is that Celtics Pride — yes, with a capital "P" — may be back in vogue a lot quicker than we realized.

And Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said it starts and ends, apparently, with the guy who wasn't even dressed for the game.

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