The Celtics are 7-0 after a 91-69 win at home against the Nets. They started out slow and it looked like playing 40+ minutes last night was taking its toll. At the end of the first quarter it was Nets 23 and Celtics 17. They started picking up in the second and led by 2, 36-34 at the half, taking the lead on a Pierce leaner in the lane at the buzzer. The Celtics held NJ to 36% shooting in the first half and 33% for the game.
At the end of 3, the Celtics led 62-54, making a run at the end of the quarter. To start the 4th, Rondo, Tony, Ray, Posey and Big Baby were on the floor and they theyplayed very well, stretching the lead to 68-54 in the first 2 minutes of the quarter. This was a balanced win with the minutes much more evenly distributed and with balanced play all around with 6 players in double figures. Once again, the defense was the difference. I remember last year when we played the Pistons thinking about how they let us hang with them for awhile and seemed to toy with us but then, they would clamp down and just turn it on and pull away. Now it is the Celtics who have that ability and it seems too good to be true.
KG described the game as "come into a bar, I'm trying to find a seat, you're talking to my girl, barfight." And it did appear that way through the first two quarters, but then they just picked up the defensive intensity and pulled away. And it wasn't the 3 stars who did it, it was the whole team.
Rondo picked up his game and played with great confidence. He hit his jumpers and made them pay for doubling off of him. He finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in 31 minutes and was given the Tommy Award for his play. I thought one of the funniest things in the game was they showed a closeup of Lawrence Frank giving instructions to one of his players and there was Rondo right next to him listening to everything he had to say... just like he was getting the instructions as well. With Eddie House out with the sprained ankle, Tony played back up point guard and did a good job. He seemed to gain confidence as the game went on. He still doesn't have his explosiveness but he is working his way back and gaining more confidence in his knee game by game. He finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Gabe Pruitt saw his first action, playing the final 2 minutes but didn't make the stat sheet.
Perk had his best game of the season. He finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 4 blocks in 30 minutes and his defense inside was crucial to this win. Big Baby played 9 minutes and pulled down 3 rebounds and blocked 1 shot. Powe played the final 3 minutes and as always, made the most of it with 4 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal. Scal finished with 2 rebounds and an assist in 10 minutes. Posey had a very good game also, playing great defense, setting picks and finishing with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Pollard did not play in the game.
As for the Celtics 3 stars, they played a more team oriented game and none of the three had to take over the game. KG finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 1 block in 30 minutes. Paul Pierce finished with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 38 minutes, and Ray Allen finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. All three played all around games and didn't force things but let the game come to them and they trusted their teamates to take up the slack when they were doubled and tripled.
The scoring and play was balanced in this one. They had 21 assists on 33 baskets that shows the unselfishness and ability to find the open man on this team. They also had 15 steals and limited their turnovers to 14. Rebounds were even at 42 for the 2 clubs. Now that we have moved past that 87-88 team and won our 7th in a row, we can set out sights on the 72-73 Celtics team that started out 10-0, the 64-65 Celtics team that started out 11-0 and the 57-58 team that started out 14-0.
It has been a long, long time since we had a Celtics team that was this exciting and had this kind of talent on it. And, most exciting of all, they are doing it with defense. The Celtics lead the league in steals and in FG% allowed. It seems like a dream, but if I'm dreaming, don't wake me up because I sure am enjoying it.