Argue all you want about the MVP of the Boston Celtics turnaround season and crushing Game 6 over the Los Angles Lakers, 131-92, last night in the NBA championship clincher.
Last night, clearly Kevin Garnett was the biggest of the Celts' Big Three that includes Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Garnett tied Allen with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting an added 14 rebounds. When Boston was running away from the Lakers in the second quarter, he seemed to be the hammer nailing down the title. Pierce, of course, was the Finals MVP averaging 22 points, six assists and 4.5 rebounds.
But I'm going to cast a vote for general manager Danny Ainge as Boston's MVP. Ainge -- the pesky, whiny, seemingly chronically angry point guard who played on the Larry Bird championship teams of 1984 and '86 -- presided over 24 wins last season and then wheeled and dealed (and, truth be told, gambled his team's future) in the off-season to assemble this powerhouse that won 66 regular-season games. And although observers wondered down the stretch whether the veteran Celtics would have enough steam left for the grueling playoffs, Boston proved conclusively it had both the energy enough fill-in pieces to mount a series-altering comeback in Game 4 on the road in L.A. and then last night's demolition at home.
In retrospect, the deals that Ainge worked with Minnesota and Seattle for Garnett and Allen respectively look like no-brainers (meaning that the franchises on the other side of the deal were robbed witless). But at the time, putting together a team whose nucleus would be in its early 30s and chemistry was an unknown was a huge risk -- especially since Ainge had to ship off a boatload of tomorrows in the form of draft picks to get this done. And on the chemistry side, give Boston coach Doc Rivers for getting that talent to blend.
Well, the Big Three played like guys who have a few more miles of tread on them and the chemistry was magical. Even if there are no more championships (and who bet against that?), Ainge's gamble has already brought Boston a jackpot.