Just a few thoughts on last night's game. It was an incredible game with all kinds of twists and turns through it. Saying that the Spurs got off to a fast start is an understatement. The Spurs led 28-11 at the end of the first quarter. The Celtics shot only 24% while allowing the Spurs to shoot 57%. The Celtics were also outbrebounded 12-8 in the first. But, in the second quarter, the Celtics came out and chipped away at what at one time was a 22 point the lead a little at a time. They tightened up their defense and their shots started to fall.
By half time, the Celtics had made it a bit more acceptable. They had cut the lead to 53-43 by the half and were shooting 43% from the floor and bringing the Spurs down to 51% for the half. The Celtics also ramped up their effort on the glass to hold a 22-17 edge at halftime.
The Celtics came out strong in the third and went on a 9-2 run to start the quarter. They took their first lead at 56-55 with 7:36 left in the third and kept it tight the rest of the way. The Spurs did pull up by 9 in the 4th quarter, but as they had done the whole game, the Celtics kept their composure and chipped away to once again take the lead. In the end, the Celtics shot 47% and held the Spurs to 44%. The Celtics also kept their rebounding edge to finish with 40 to only 34 for the Spurs.
The stars of this game were the Celtics two point guards. Rondo had 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 28 minutes. Rondo came through in the clutch by flying in and stealing a big rebound and then making 2 very clutch free throws. Sam Cassell is paying big dividends already as he hit a huge 3 to put the Celtics up 2 with 46 seconds left in the game. He finished with 17 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes.
Paul Pierce and KG also came up big but played big minutes and that may have consequences as the Celtics face the red hot Rockets tonight. Pierce finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in 44 minutes. KG had 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in 39 minutes.
It was a physical game and Bowen got a shot in on Rondo who came up limping at one point but returned to the game afterwards. He also said that he would be fine for tonight's game against the Rockets. There was a lot of pushing and shoving in the game throughout as could be expected.
I don't want to hear anything from Spurs fans about Tommy being a homer as their announcers are even worse. When the Celtics took the lead in the third, it sounded as if they were ready to just give up and go home. I expected them to bow down and kiss Ginobili's ring with the way they gushed over everything he did. And every call against the Spurs was bad. There was one in particular that cracked me up. Bowen and KG were going at it for position and there was a whistle. The announcers were going on about how KG was holding Bowen's jersey and how could the refs call the foul against Bowen? At the same time, the replay showed clearly that Bowen was grabbing KG's jersey and he went to the line with his jersy still half out.
There was some drama at the end of the game with the Luck of the Irish winning out in this one. With the Celtics up 4, Ginobili drove to the hoop and was fouled. His layup went in and came back out and rolled around the rim twice before falling out. Then with 4 seconds left, Parker got a layup to cut the lead to 2. KG was inbounding the ball on the baseline and it went right to Bowen who dished to Horry who was wide open behind the 3 point line. His shot bounced off the rim to preserve the Celtics 2 point win. It was a good win and gave the Celtics their first sweep of the Spurs since the 1988-89 season. It is also important to note that in this game, Doc was the better coach than Greg Popovich. Doc did a great job of substituting and calling time outs and out coached Pop in this one. The final shot on NBA-TV Daily was of Doc and Sam giving each other a high five. Kind of says it all.