Celtic Pride, Size Dominate Big Time
It wasn't even close. The team finished the tournament 10 – 0 and its closest game occurred during the second day of play. I watched this team with a great amount of awe at first. Their rim rattlers were incredible. They dunked with power, grace and an ability that left their human-sized opponents simply shrugging their shoulders – what were they supposed to do?(P) This awe quickly mutated though – to an even greater degree of pity for the teams that had to match up against the Celtics. It was much like David vs. Goliath, with Goliath using a bazooka. Let's be honest, there are Division One College teams – like say Arizona, North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Kansas… (fill in the rest here), that would've had a difficult time matching up against this team with two of these guys, let alone all three.(P) Am I angry about this advantage? No. They got the players they needed for the team and came into Vegas and destroyed the competition. Atlanta deserves the championship trophy because they were the best team at Big Time. I just couldn't help but roll my eyes whenever I heard the ooohs and aaaahs, laughter and taunts that came from Atlanta's bench each time one of these giants came close to ripping a rim down on top of an opponent. We get it. They can dunk and have very impressive games. I think the way they were able to get up and down the court deserved more applause than anything else. But when you're as tall as they are, you should be slamming the ball down every time. This isn't a major feat. You get the ball inside, turn around on some poor, skinny, 6'8" center and throw it down on them.(P) Two of the Celtic players, Dwight Howard II and Josh Smith split the outstanding player award for the open division. In the 10 games, Smith averaged 17.5 points per game, while Howard scored just under 19. Not surprisingly, as a team, the Celtics led the tournament in field goals made with 344, and total points scored, 895.(P) In the Championship bracket Atlanta's opponents weren't too shabby. The Celtics began Saturday with a game against Connecticut Select. The Select, led by All Tournament team members Kelvin Davis and Jon Lucky, were quite an enigma. They lost all three of their games in Pool G, but came out of no where to win their bracket, defeating Indiana Red and THEIR seven-foot center, Greg Oden, 82 – 77. This failed to prepare them for what came next and Connecticut really couldn't keep up with Atlanta, losing 93-68.(P) The Celtics' second game was the one chance I thought they had of losing, against Rotary Select I from Seattle. Rotary's roster of Marvin Williams, Josh Heytvelt, and C.J. Giles. That's a lot of talent, and with Heytvelt and Giles each listed at 6'10" I believed they could match up pretty well with Atlanta. Both teams were up for this game and though it was a close battle for a brief time, the Celtics pulled away and won 87 – 73.(p) This led to the championship game against Michigan and another victory, meaning the Atlanta Celtics come away as this year's Open Division top dog.(p)
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