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Ball Don't Lie

NBA Playoffs Fan Fiction: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Don Nelson readies to shoot a free throw in the strangest way possible (Getty Images)

In which the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers fight for the future of the nation in Revolutionary America.

When we speak of America's Founding Fathers today, we typically imagine them as a unified body that agree exactly how and why this country's citizens and corporations should be allowed to do things like marry, give money to political candidates and compensate their workers (or slaves). The truth, however, was a little more complicated. In the thick of the Revolutionary War, factions from different cities argued over the country's future.

But which would end up victorious? Join me, if you will, on a trip back in time …

The Philadelphians arrived at Ye Olde TD Banknorth Meeting Hall ready for a fight. After a long and arduous campaign in the Western territories fighting cholera-stricken but resilient redcoats (known as the Bulls for their curious adherence to Catholicism), General Douglas Collins and his troops came to Boston hoping to stake their claim to the future of the United States. Though undermanned and possessing heart beyond their years, the Philadelphians believed in their cause.

The Bostonians, decked in their customary (and quite garish) green coats and trousers, would have none of it. As the Philadelphians entered the hall, Doctor General Glenn Rivers began a rousing cheer of "Ooboontoo!" among his charges to intimidate their guests.

The start of the meeting was no different. Although they had ostensibly gathered to discuss future battle plans and army selection to fight against more redcoats — this lost a particularly cocky battalion — attacking from the south, as well as lay the groundwork for a government following Mister Al Jefferson's penning of the Declaration of Independence. The Bostonians, unfortunately, looked more interested in hooting and hollering for the sake of petty victories.

Lieutenant Kevin Garnett gave the first remarks. "Dear friends, colleagues, and Philadelphians. We gather here at Ye Olde TD Banknorth Meeting Hall to form an army against a uniquely challenging enemy. Many of you have had heard of General Erik Spoelstra's fearsome group of warriors, led by the bald brute Captain James and Captain Wade, who learned his craft with the golden warriors of the Marquess of Milwaukee. There is also a lanky fellow named Christopher Bosh, fond of playful games but nevertheless fearsome in his own right." At this point the young Philadelphians began to shift in their pews, so scary were the tales of General Spoelstra's force. "Dare I say that no force is better fit for the job than our Bostonian army," Lieutenant Garnett continued. "Many years ago we bested the folk of the lakes in the West. "Just this past month we disposed of the wild but aggressive descendants of Atlantis —"

"That is pure hogwash," Lieutenant Andreas Iguodala of the Philadelphians interjected. "Everyone knows that Atlantis is a myth — you might as well have battled the gods of Olympus! And as for General Spoelstra, there are rumors that his forces have met a stern challenge from the quick pacesetters of our Indianan friends. Our last letter from General Vogel is dated as recently as three months ago, and he expressed great confidence about their chances."

Captain Paul Pierce, a stout man with a patchy beard and limping gait, volleyed back: "General Vogel is saddled with youngsters not unlike yourselves. That fight will be over before the leaves turn. We can only fight General Spoelstra with an army that has been there. Does anyone dispute that we are more cut out for the journey than a ragtag bunch of hooligans? Yes, they defeated the redcoats to the west, but reports indicate that they were without their strongest fighter, a perilously quiet guard covered in medals and garlands."

General Collins had heard enough. "Your ears deceive you, Captain Pierce. It is true that the redcoats were without their so-called Captain of the Roses, but we acquitted ourselves well. Did you know, in fact, that our military statisticians note we struck with 44 more free cannons than the redcoats? And that we felled 10 more men overall than they? That, my friends, is an edge that no man can best."

Sergeant Rajon Rondo, a peculiarly visaged man in a curious two-toned topcoat, grumbled from the corner as he chewed on a twig. The Bostonians were well known for their rejection of military statistics in favor of old-fashioned grit and determination.

The Philadelphian Private Spencer Hawes, forgetting his station, spoke up. "Your time has come and gone, Bostonians! This is a fight fit for young men of sound body. I have seen your medics and know that they toil all day and night applying leeches to your aching joints and hacking off limbs of the gangrenous. We need an army of innovation and a government that will fight for low taxation. You know neither. Why, I do say that you live in a veritable Taxachusetts!"

No one in the assembled crowd had ever heard that term and all had a great laugh at the Bostonians' expense. The Marquis Mickael Pietrus, a visiting commander from France allied with the Bostonians, barely managed to stifle a guffaw.

Yet the Philadelphians did not appreciate the outburst from Private Hawes. Corporal Anjrue Holliday, a young soldier of great promise, attempted to steady the ship. "Forgive Private Hawes, he is a man of strong opinions but poor manners. We know that the Bostonians have achieved many great victories in their age. But it might in fact be time for a changing of the guard. I look around and see the great Captain Raymond Allen unable to walk without hearing the scrape of bone against bone. Lieutenant Garnett is as loud a leader as any, but limited in the field. Captain Pierce has always looked in need of a cane, but now he actually employs one. Corporal Rondo is a great military mind with the inability to fire his musket even at close range. I do say, gentleman, that our time has come."

Doctor General Rivers cleared his throat and spoke up. "Good sirs, I do fear that we have reached an impasse in our discussion. Let us reconvene in two days time at Ye Olde TD Banknorth Meeting Hall so that we may continue the fight. We will have time to consider all we have heard and bring to light new arguments. In the meantime, may you sup with your colleagues and perhaps find the time to pen a letter to your loved ones."

The Philadelphians exited Ye Olde TD Banknorth Meeting Hall exhausted from the impassioned talk but no less sure of their cause. They had just won a great fight in the west and knew that the Bostonians would eventually see their way. As they venture out to their camp on the banks of the Charles River, they felt powerful.

When they reached the camp, their faces dropped. While at the meeting, a group of marauding townsmen had ransacked their tents, stolen their muskets, and left droppings all over the grounds. Reinforcements and new supplies could not reach them for several weeks. If they were to win the argument with the Bostonians, they would have to do so in extreme discomfort.

Corporal Louis Williams walked towards the river with his trusty canine and surveyed the campus of Harvard College on the opposite banks. Long ago, he had opted to carry the sword instead of pursuing his studies. He did not regret it one bit. Yet, for at least one second, he wished he could spend a night considering John Locke instead of sleeping on the cold, wet ground of a foreign land.

Prediction: Celtics in 5.

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