Thursday, May 29, 2008

CELTICS - 106, Detroit - 102


A win is a win is a win. However, if there was ever a victory that should bring more fear to a Celtics fan's heart, I can't recall when it may have taken place.

Last night, the Celtics showed their fans why they should have every right to expect this series to be wrapped up in Detroit on Friday night. They also showed us why it shouldn't be tremendously shocking if they have to come back to Boston for a game seven on Sunday, and then lose that game. They were, collectively, basketball's version of Jekyll and Hyde.

GOOD NEWS

Kendrick Perkins was a beast. He had the best game of his career thus far, scoring 18 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. He also blocked shots, made steals, and played tenacious defense.

Kevin Garnett was fairly unstoppable on his way to a 33 point night. The Pistons have nobody who can stop him on anything approaching a regular basis.

Ray Allen broke out of his shooting slump with cold-blooded vengeance, hitting 5 three-pointers in 6 attempts. He was his usual deadly self from the free throw line.

Rajon Rondo played all but two minutes of the game. He dished out 13 assists and committed only ONE turnover.

BAD NEWS

Rajon Rondo played all but two minutes of the game.

I'm as big a Rajon Rondo fan as there is on this planet. I think he's a very special ballplayer. He will be a premier point guard for a long time in this league, and will make plays that show up in NBA highlight reels for years and years afterwards. Last night, however, he made some of the worst passes I've ever seen. He was lucky to come out of this game with 13 assists and only one turnover.

There were four or five times when Rondo softly lobbed a pass and Detroit was only able to get a fingertip on it. Those should mostly have ended up as steals. In addition, he was far too cute with the ball at times. In particular, there was one no-look backwards pass to a double-teamed Garnett that Doc Rivers should play over and over to Rajon while he has his eyelids propped open a la A Clockwork Orange.

Rajon wasn't the only one with failings. With all that the Celtics did right - and they did a lot right - they still had to hang on by their fingernails in the closing minutes. Detroit came roaring back from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit, cutting the lead to ONE with under two minutes to play. The Celtics made poor decisions down the stretch, were lazy with passes, and could not find a way to crack the Pistons defense when Detroit pressured the ball in the backcourt. If I'm Detroit head coach Flip Saunders, I'm seriously considering going all Hubie Brown on the Celtic's asses, pressuring and double-teaming from the opening tap until the final buzzer.

PROPS

Doc Rivers coached a whale of a game. He made the decision early on to keep Perkins in the game longer than he usually does, which was an easy decision considering how monstrous Perk was on the boards, of course. He made a switch to Sam Cassell at point, but when Sam didn't produce within two minutes - and looked fairly horrible overall - he yanked him quick, fast, and in a hurry, going with Rondo for the remainder of the game, sink or swim. He made the right substitutions late when the Celtics were fighting to hang on. I have no major gripes with Doc today.

Having said that, he now has to find a way for his team to handle that Detroit defensive pressure. If he can't, it's not going to be pretty.

BOTTOM LINE

The Celtics should win game six in Detroit. They are the better basketball team.

The Celtics probably won't win game six in Detroit. They have yet to prove that they can operate well from anything other than a big lead in the fourth quarter. If Detroit rattles them in Detroit in the same fashion as they did in Boston during last night's fourth quarter, the Celtics will not win.

I expect they'll have to come back to Boston for a deciding game seven. And anything can happen in a game seven.

The Celtics should win this series, but I'm far from supremely confident that they will.

THE CONTEST

For purposes of our little contest, the Celtics have now scored a total of 460 points. That is an average of exactly 92 per game. Low winning score would now be 644 - if the average holds up - and the high winning score would be 1288. In any case, the prize is still 10 (crummy) CDs, so I don't suppose you're sweating it too much.

EPHEMERA

If somebody murders Jeff Van Gundy between now and game six, I won't be overly disappointed. After listening to his inane commentary for five excruciating nights, I completely understand why he is no longer a coach in this league. The man truly doesn't have a clue.

THIS BLOG

I know that some of you are tiring of basketball talk. Stick with me. I'll have some swell non-basketball stuff following the playoffs. In the meantime, I appreciate your indulgence.

AN OUTRIGHT LIE

Soon, with more better stuff.

14 comments:

Sandra Ree said...

Usually I don't listen to a whole lot of sports babbling. (forgive me) However... you make it interesting enough so that when I read each word I'm in anticipation of the next word. (if that makes sense)

eileen said...

I love the Celtics talk- keep it up! I was at the game last night and it was an exciting one, to say the least.

lime said...

i think somehow you've sent out some weird gamma rays via the blog becasue my son has declared himself a celtics fan and has started watching( and i haven't mentioned this contest to anyone). like i said i can respect the celtics.

word veri: soxdvn
sox divine? more subliminal messaging.

David Sullivan said...

1104 if each series goes 6 games meaning....Sully Sweep in the contests!! I guessed 1099...nice!

Rooster said...

I'm still in - having gone on the high side! I'm on the edge of my seat!

I think Allen was a key difference last night - hope he keeps it up. I'd love to see them win in 6 and get a little rest - but that might take me out fo the contest, oh no!

Sul, I figured out why the Sox can't hit out in Seattle - stop by for a laugh!

Buck said...

I know that some of you are tiring of basketball talk. Stick with me.

Tiring? Not me, even though I'm not a basketball fan. Besides, if you put up with my Red Wings posts (and you DO), I can certainly live with your Celtics posts. As noted by the others... these posts are very well-done, Jim. I'm enjoying them.

John-Michael said...

SulDog You could discuss the probabilities of mold propagating unseen behind a plaster wall, and it would be entertaining and fun stuff. That bees a fack!

(And I'm working on the final draft of the formal invitations to the inaugural Crummy CD concert.)

Love Ya Jim.

Happy Lo-Mein said...

@ lime: it's not the blog, lots of celtics "fans" seem to be coming out of the woodwork this week -- message boards that have been dead for months are exploding with activity! Non-profits like the boys and girls club are selling Gino shirts at wewantgino.com and probably making funds.

Then there are idiots like me who only used to live in Boston and now live in New York. No, you can't have my address and put that tire iron away.

Personally I think it'll go to game 7, but this is the first time I've cared about basketball play-offs in a while, I'll say that much...

the blue state blogger said...

"I know that some of you are tiring of basketball talk."

Never.

Janet said...

I personally am thoroughly enjoying the basketball talk, although like you I get exceptionally bored with the idiots who get paid to do the commentary. Can we recommend they hire you?

Suldog said...

Sandra Ree - I write each word in anticipation of the next word, so it should all work out. Thank you!

Eileen - I will be at game seven, should it come to that. I hope it doesn't.

Lime - Your son has seen the light (and absorbed the gamma rays, which is better than absorbing the Devil Rays, to tie it in with your word verification.)

Cuz - Shhhhhh!

Rooster - As some wag on a talk show said, Ray Allen should tell the Sox where he found his jumper, as perhaps their bats are there, too.

Buck - With any luck, your Wings will wrap it up by the time the Celts begin The Finals. Here's hoping.

John-Michael - If you invite me to that concert, you're a dead man.

Happy Lo-Mein - Damn! I just like your name. You can live anywhere you want.

The Blue State Blogger - You won't be saying that next week when I publish my 27 page treatise comparing Curtis Rowe's play in 1979 to Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

Janet - You can certainly recommend me, but they won't hire me. And, personally, I can't say that I blame them.

Chucka Stone Designs said...

Tired of b-ball talk or not, it is nice to not have to watch the games to get the full on recap from someone who does have a clue. That would be you. Can't wait to see who wins (your contest, it is way more exciting than the games)

Minnesotablue said...

When Garnet left us, he said he left for one reason only. He wanted a ring. Looks like he'll finally get it.
When he was asked if he missed the Tmberwolves he statement was " who are they". He's a great player and he was the biggest star here other than Kirby Puckett. However it takes more than a great talent to be a true star and he showed by that quote that he doesn't yet have what it takes.

Chris Stone said...

yeah... I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see who wins... your contest!

you should interview the winner... see what use the cd's will be put to.