Warner Bros. // 2008 // 600 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // November 15th, 2008
The return of Celtic pride.
The only thing perhaps more memorable than the Boston Celtics' place as one of the dynasties in professional sports is the downfall the Celtics had since their last championship in 1986, and when I say memorable it's for the wrong reasons.
You see, back in 1986, the team was in their full stride and hot on the heels of another championship, and they were in the enviable position of owning the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, and picked Len Bias. Bias was a forward with a load of talent and promise, and he was playing next to the likes of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Danny Aing. The Celtics' dynasty seemed to be continuing without losing stride. However, Bias died of a drug overdose two days after the draft, flooring the organization from top to bottom. The aforementioned stars would eventually wear down from consecutive years of 100 game seasons, and Bird, McHale, and Parish all left the team, starting with Bird's retirement in 1992. Reggie Lewis was talented, but no Bird, and many thought perhaps he would be the one to help keep the Celtics' mast afloat. However Lewis had a heart attack and died, living only 26 years. Considering the nature of all things related to the Red Sox, this tragedy was only added fuel to the fire when it came to the tormented Boston sports fan.
Over the next decade and change, the drama gave way to more conventional disappointments, predominantly those in poor personnel decisions and player performance. Players came and went (hello Eric Montross, goodbye Rick Fox), and highly touted coaches came in to take the reins (like then-Kentucky coach Rick Pitino), only to fall flat and hard. To Pitino's credit though, one of his last personnel moves was to draft Paul Pierce, a forward from Kansas. Pierce's performance gradually improved, though the players around him were continually substandard. Ainge was eventually asked to come back to Boston, this time as the General Manager responsible for personnel decisions, and while he made some poor decisions, based on a behavior model system which he defended as one to get the best possible team chemistry.
However at the beginning of the 2007-08 season, he seemed to eschew this model and focus more on bringing in talented players to complement Pierce. Ainge traded for perennial all-stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (He Got Game), and the team finished with their best record since the championship season. They eventually reunited in the finals with the Los Angeles Lakers, and defeated the Lakers in six games to regain the glory of a trophy and continue restoring Boston's name to athletic prominence.
Warner Bros. has put together this special edition set, which is a slight departure from other boxed sets that the NBA and Warner release. Whereas other compilations release the whole finals, or a couple of games in addition to the finals, in this five disc set, we strictly get nothing but Celtic wins, the four from the finals that win it, and the win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference semifinals that sent Boston back to championship glory. From a Boston revisionist point of view this is a little bit lacking, but if you look at the overall it's pretty much as expected.
Another thing that's a slight annoyance on this set has got to be the video quality of this set. Granted, they are full frame productions and have just two-channel stereo on them, but they look like standard definition broadcasts, and when they're upscaled, they look really poor, kind of like a 480p presentation on a 1080i device would look. A quick note if you're on the fence on this, there is a Blu-ray version that is just being released now as of this writing.
I think that if you really REALLY like the Boston Celtics games on DVD, if you've got a high definition DVR and a DVD burner, you're better off going through that process, as a Celtics fan. You probably already have all the games on the hard drive as it is, and they're in much better quality than what's presented here, and possibly might be better than what's on the Blu-ray set. So I'd recommend taking a pass on this, even if you're a Celtics fan.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Celtics Site