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Here they come again. The Boston Celtics are back in the NBA Finals for the 2nd time in 3 years.

Friday night they defeated the Orlando Magic 96-84 to win the Eastern Conference Finals 4 games to 2.

A lot of b-ball observers and pundits had counted them out because of the collective age of the team. However, the team’s coach, Doc Rivers, wasn’t buying it.

“The first thing we said when we got in the locker room is this is where we thought we would be,” Rivers said. “So don’t be surprised. This is what we talked about before the season started.”

The point was made that in December, injuries to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce took their toll, but the Celtics were content to give them and others time to heal even if it meant risking losing games late in the season.

The strategy paid off and now Boston will play Los Angeles or Phoenix with a chance for its second championship in three years and 18th overall, an NBA record.

Speaking of which, game 6 of the Western Conference Finals is tonight in Phoenix between the Lakers and the Suns. If Phoenix wins, it’s back to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles for a deciding game 7. If LA wins, they meet the Celtics in game one of the NBA Finals on June 3.

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