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October 27, 2008

Celtics Preview: 'You just have to win another'

On Pro Basketball

David Willis

One year ago, the questions were endless.

Could a team built in one offseason really win a title? Could the trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen come through in a big game? Did they have enough depth to contend?

Well, the Celtics answered those questions in fine fashion on their way to downing the Los Angeles Lakers for their first NBA championship since the 1986 season.

Now it's one simple question. Can they win it again?

"When you win one championship it's a craving to win another," said C's guard Sam Cassell, who also won championships with Houston in 1994 and 1995. "Every guy on last year's team can say they had a great summer. You want that again. You just have to win another."

As long as the new Big 3 are still on top of their games, the C's head into the 2008-09 season as one of the favorites to take home the title, and pull off their first back-to-back championships since 1968-69.

Forward

It's hard to do better than the reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.

Still the heart-and-soul of the Celtics, Paul Pierce played the best basketball of his career in the finals, averaging 21.8 points a game while helping slow down L.A. star Kobe Bryant.

For the season, he averaged 19.6 points a game. That was his lowest since his second season (19.5), but it had more to do with the talent surrounding him. Don't be fooled, "The Truth," who recently turned 31, never looked better.

Kevin Garnett provided the Celtics their best low-post presence since Cheers was still in production. The 6-foot-11, 220-pounder tallied 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds a game during the regular season while playing his traditional stellar defense and earning his 11th All-Star appearance.

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