By Jake Appleman

Call me a masochist, but I loved watching the Celtics on League Pass last year. Part of it had to do with the fact that I saw them play three times in three different arenas in the span of a little over 2 months. I had been able to build with a few guys in the locker room and, aside from the reality that most of the younger C’s ate chicken fingers and fries before games, I really liked the vibe that the team had.

Brian Scalabrine and Ryan Gomes are down to earth; Kendrick Perkins seems to float around in his own world (and is a beast); you can’t help but like Paul Pierce; Delonte West, now a Sonic, appeared to be nothing short of a nuts; And call me different, but I’ve always had a soft spot (relatively speaking) for Doc Rivers after he worked a mini-miracle with the 2000 Orlando Magic.

The other part of it was that they epitomized the woeful Eastern Conference. Due to unfortunate work-related circumstances, last season I had to be in bed by midnight most nights. This forced me to, for the most part, maintain my east coast watching bias. When I needed a respite from Jersey’s disappointing regular season and the ups and downs of the circus at MSG, I only had a few options. My vested interest in LeBron remained from my collegiate experiences in Ohio. LeBron’s senioritis had people ready to commit multiple homicides and that was cute but also overblown. More to the point, the Cavs, like their entire division, were about as interesting as Drew Barrymore.

(Sidenote: Does anyone else find it weird that Drew Barrymore has two male names, isn’t attractive, isn’t talented yet some people still deify her? For the record, there’s a part of me that would rather eat paint chips than get with Drew Barrymore, but that’s just me. If paste was a female actress that got too much credit, it would be Drew Barrymore.)

Anyway…that left three Eastern teams that were aesthetically pleasing and half decent. I watched the Magic early and they were fun while they were winning—Trevor Ariza (!)—but they fell off. Toronto was fun, too. That left only Gilbert’s antics in the Capital, and I preferred to watch Gilbert in quarters. Actually, watching Gilbert in quarters—a necessary staple of any east coaster with league pass and an itchy remote trigger—is almost as cheerfully stupor-inducing as playing quarters.

Back to my original point. I needed a yin for my yang. A bottom of the barrel team to complement my “winners” and make my nightly League Pass experience whole. What other team could suck consistently without boring the crap out of me? The only possibility was the Boston Celtics. Plus, they made me feel better about going to so many Knicks games.

And now the Celtics are Eastern conference title contenders. I honestly can’t fathom how you can be against what the C’s have done here. Even without KG, the Ray Allen trade made sense from a respectability standpoint, which was really the only standpoint that mattered for a team so poorly constructed. (By the way, anyone who says Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are essentially the same player doesn’t watch basketball.)

Sure, Boston’s defense won’t be better than average; they’ll be extremely susceptible to penetration from the opposition’s wings and their help defense often won’t always be up to snuff because of a lack of depth and poor lateral movement from old legs. Even so, if they space themselves consistently well on offense–I’m suggesting that the three stars always form a well-spaced triangle to limit the opposition’s double-teaming capabilities–and pick each others’ games up quickly, this is (health-permitting) a team that every night will make its opponent play pick your poison.

Poison available by ordering league pass. To order league pass, contact your local cable provider.