These Celtics Are Much More Than Just the “Big Three”
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Who would have thought that the Boston Celtics could win an NBA Finals game with two of the “Big 3” having awful offensive performances? That’s what happened Sunday night in LA. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce went a combined 4-16 from the field for a grand total of 16 points, yet Boston beat LA to even the NBA Finals at one game a piece.
That Boston could win a game like that speaks volumes about a few different aspects of this team:
First, Ray Allen. What a night it was for the soon to be 35-year old Allen. He scored 27 points in the first half alone while going a perfect 7-7 from three point range. He would finish the game with an NBA Finals single game record 8 threes and 32 points. This man is clearly one of the best shooters in NBA history.
Second, the emergence of Rajon Rondo. Two years ago the Celtics did not need Rondo to do much of anything from an offensive standpoint other than to facilitate for Pierce, Allen and Garnett. That is no longer the case. With Garnett’s production having dropped off dramatically in the Finals due to age, injury or a combination of both, Rondo has had to pick up the scoring slack.
Pierce has also been neutralized by the stifling defense of Ron Artest making it doubly important for Rondo to be a major offensive contributor. He has certainly embraced that role this postseason. While Allen was the story in the first half, it was Rondo who put the Lakers away with a sensational fourth quarter scoring 10 of his 19 points in the final 6 minutes. He turned a 3-point deficit into a 9-point victory.
Rondo finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with his 19 points for yet another triple-double. And that doesn’t even take into account his contributions on the defensive end of the floor.
Third, the Boston bench. Glen “Big Baby” Davis continues to produce with 8 points and 7 rebounds in 18 minutes of work. Five of his eight rebounds were offensive.
Rasheed Wallace appears to be the Celtics best answer defensively for the Lakers Pau Gasol who has had a fabulous two games thus far. He also had 7 points and 7 rebounds in 18 minutes of work.
And then there’s Nate Robinson. The diminutive point guard played only six minutes Sunday night, but they were extremely productive. With Rondo totally gassed and in need of a blow, Robinson cam off the bench and went 2-2 from the field, 1-1 from “3” and 2-2 from the FT line for a perfect shooting line and 7 important points. He kept the Celtics in it for Rondo’s return which put Boston over the top.
Maybe Paul Pierce will figure out a way to solve Ron Artest if only for one game this series. And maybe Kevin Garnett will discover the fountain of youth or at least feel good enough to produce at the level he did early in the playoffs against Miami and Cleveland. But the Celtics proved Sunday night that even if those two things don’t happen, they are still capable of winning. Now that’s impressive.
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