Yesterday’s game played out like a good-news/bad-news joke.
Some hot, some not. Two of the big three were a combined 6 of 22 for 14 points . . . while the remaining member plus Rondo were a combined 18 of 32 for 53 points. The Magic Centers were 10 of 14 for 32 points but the rest of the team shot 30%. Vince Carter was a relative bright spot . . . right up until he clanged two free-throws with the Magic down 3 and seconds remaining. On the foul the Celtics leading scorer fouled out and Vince almost made the circus shot he forced up after Paul wrapped him up.
Superman’s teammates missed 40 shots but he was able to corral only two offensive rebounds. The Celtics missed 40 shots but Howard only cornered 6 of those loose balls. This from a man who led the league in rebounding.
Glen Davis continued to draw charges . . . but replays showed that both Reddick and Nelson were in the air when Big Baby got his second foot planted. In keeping with the split personality of referees, twice Rondo slid to the floor on wet spots. One no-call and once he was called for traveling and that time the ball actually got away from him and, flat on his back, he reached out to recover it. Now he was flat on his back so how can he have moved his pivot foot (point, back, whatever)?
Speaking of wet spots, with television timeouts long enough for the ice to be resurfaced by the Zamboni, why can’t the bevy of ball boys keep the court mopped down? Several players fell and some were injured. With payrolls running well into the 10’s of millions, you’d think the owners would shell out a few bucks for an extra mop or two and insist upon their use.
Continuing with the spotty reffing job, Pierce’s last shot attempt drew a foul on Reddick. Now I couldn’t tell from the replay angle whether Reddick actually got the elbow but there was no doubt that Jameer Nelson both made contact with the body and hit the arm, all before Reddick’s hand approached the elbow.
As long as we are on the striped theme, when players throw the ball at someone not during play, they draw a technical, often get ejected, and fine. The ref throws the ball at a fan, when the fan returns it the ref demands the security throw the obliging culprit out of the building. Now that’s just “crezzy,” what a knucklehead!
How odd is it that the point guard that couldn’t shoot straight was the second best jump shooter in the building last night. Only Pierce’s red-hot evening kept Rajon from being the deadliest dead-eye on the floor. As for the more highly reputed opposing quarterback, Jameer clanged his way to a 33% clip, 20% from long range. A career 62% free-throw shooter, last night Rondo hit 5 of 6 and he is making them at a 72% clip over the playoffs.
Going into this series there were three areas of concern. In Jameer Nelson, Rondo would finally be facing a potent offensive force who could also match his speed when defending—not so much it seems. In Lewis, Garnett would be facing a deadly outside shooter keeping KG from combining with Perk to make the paint a no-fly zone, and whose speed and ball-handling would make Kevin vulnerable to the drive—in this case it is huh rather than not so much. I mean really, I see R. Lewis in the box score with 41 minutes--but last night he averaged 1 point, 1 rebound, and 1 assist every 10 minutes. That barely qualifies as playing. Think Orlando had “filled jersey but not stat sheet” in mind when they shelled out well over $100M for his services? And Superman, who would throw down points in bunches, vacuum the boards clean, and sweep the skies clean of offending orbs. After a disastrously frustrating first game Dwight bounced back to score 30 in game two. If it is possible to have a quiet 30, Howard’s night was almost a whisper—single digit rebounds and more turnovers than blocks, assist, and steals combined. Worst of all, he never forced double coverage which allowed the Celtics to clamp down on the rest of the lineup whose contributions have been more of a whimper than a roar. [Discuss on CG Forums!]