The Celtics started this one out flat and the Heat jumped out to an early 6 point lead. The Celtics took their first lead with 4:30 to go in the first but it was tied at 24 at the end of the first quarter. The Celtics seemed to play with more energy in the second quarter and finished the half up 52-46. The lead grew to as many as 15 in the third quarter and at the end of 3 it was Celtics 76 and Heat 65.
In the 4th quarter, they seemed to lose their defensive intensity and were holding the ball too long before setting up the offense. There were way too many turnovers and the Celtics let the Heat get right back in it, and with 32 seconds left, the Heat had a 91-90 lead. Pierce got the ball on the baseline and rolled to the basket for a layup and put the Celtics up 92-91. Wade held the ball at the top of the key against Posey, holding for the last shot. He missed a tough jumper over Posey at the buzzer and the Celtics escaped with a 92-91 win.
The passing and ball movement was there for the most part. The Celtics had 29 assists on 35 baskets, which is great. But, the turnovers killed us. We had only 6 turnovers in the first half but then finished the game with 18, with a lot of them coming in that critical 4th quarter. Defense wasn't there like it has been in past games and that is what allowed the Heat to come back and almost beat us. We allowed them to shoot 47% while only shooting 49% ourselves and we only had 5 steals. We did out rebound the Heat 40-33.
In the post game interview, Pierce revealed that he strained his back in the last game and didn't practice yesterday and almost didn't play. It was a game time decision for him to give it a go. He said it was feeling a little better. He struggled somewhat in the game finishing with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal in 30 minutes, but he came through when it counted and hit the game winner.
Ray Allen once again played big minutes. He played a game high 45 minutes and finished with 19 points, 2 rebounds, and 7 assists. We need House and Tony Allen to get healthy so that Doc doesn't wear out Ray Ray before the end of the season. House played almost 10 minutes and had 1 rebound and 1 steal but didn't score. Tony played only 3 minutes and had only 1 steal to show for it.
Rondo had a terrific game. He finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. There were two plays there were especially notable. On one play, he swooped in from nowhere to grab the rebound and lay it in with a crowd of defenders all around him. The other play, it was late in a close game and Ray Allen drove into the lane and when Rondo's defender came in to double, he kicked the ball to Rondo on the baseline who knocked down a clutch jumper. James Posey also had a big game against his former team with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. He played terrific defense on Wade on the last shot and hit a couple of big baskets down the stretch and won the Tommy Award for his efforts.
KG had a double double and filled up the stat sheet with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 40 minutes of play. Perk had another very good game, staying out of foul trouble and finishing with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block along with playing some good defense on Shaq. Scal played 6 minutes and shot an airball, pulled down 1 rebound and turned the ball over twice. Pollard finished with 3 points and 5 rebounds in 7 minutes of play.
Ricky Davis continued his vendetta against the Celtics with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Mark Blount came into the game to a chorus of boos and played only 5 minutes, pulling down 3 rebounds in that time. I didn't see him skipping down the court after this game.
The Celtics were fortunate to get out of this game with a win. They started off slow but seemed to put it together in the second and third quarters pulling away from the Heat but then collapsed in the fourth letting them come all the way back from a 15 point deficit to take the lead. But, the difference between last year and this year in a close game like this is that they executed the play to get the lead and then played defense to preserve the win. Those things are huge in that we lost so many close games last season because we couldn't execute plays at the end and we couldn't get stops when we needed them. 8-0... sure does sound nice. But, if they don't play better against the Magic than they did tonight, we won't make it to 9-0.
Something about one of best player ever, an ex-Celtic and his relationship with coaches:
The topic of coaches seems as good a place as any to start off this GP career retrospective.
"If I had to rate 'em, George [Karl], Phil [Jackson] and then Doc [Rivers]," Payton said.
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GP isn't officially retired, but he's certainly enjoying his time off. Noticeably absent: Pat Riley, his coach for two years in Miami, one of the all-time greats. Riley, after all, was the coach when Payton won his long-awaited championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.
"Well, ohhh-kay, that don't mean nothing," Payton said. "It just so happened we won a ring with him. He ain't my favorite. [It's] a lot of things. I really wouldn't want to go into it. I put the relationship before everything. As far as a relationship, George was the best. Doc was next."