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What. A. Game.

April 30, 2009
Yup. Thats the Paul Pierce we know and love.

Yup. That's the Paul Pierce we know and love.

What. A. Game.
What a freakin’ game.
Things I’m covering in this post:

1) The Hotness brought by some select Celtics Players
2) The Rondo/Miller Massacre

So to start: the hotness brought by some of the Celtics players.
There are 2 honorable mentions and 1 WHOA Award winner for last night’s performance.

Perk = 48 minutes of awesomeness.

Perk = 48 minutes of awesomeness.

Honorable mention #1: Kendrick Perkins.
Perk. 48 minutes. 16 points on 7-13 shooting. 19 rebounds. 7 blocks. 2 steals. 1 assist. 0 personal fouls. How can we not just bow at his feet for this stunning performance? Perk single-handedly owned the paint on both ends. There were only a handful of moments when he failed to box out the Bulls bigs, but that is because the big guy dropped 48 minutes on the world. His 7 blocks were only half of the story: he caused so many Bulls to miss a FG because of an altered shot (I know teams keep track of this, but it’d be nice to see it accessible somewhere). His intensity was unmatched by the Bulls big and helped to fuel Baby’s defensive efficiency– the two looked like a well oiled machine in the paint. The Beast was everyone last night and helped carry this team on this rather large and broad back.

Rondo = a lovely human being and a standup citizen (and a kick ass baller)

Rondo = a lovely human being and a standup citizen (and a kick ass baller)

Honorable mention #2: Rajon Rondo.
I’ll spare all of you the drool that is covering my keyboard when talking about this All-Universe point guard. His line: 49 minutes, 28 points on 12-22 shooting (2-2 from 3pt), 8 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals.  He’s averaging a triple-double this series (24-10-10 plus 3 steals) and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. This is not a streak. This is not adrenaline. This is Rajon Rondo doing what he does. Danny Ainge and Doc have commented before about how the toughest thing for Rondo is to stay focused for every minute of every game. I think that we are finally seeing the young point guard stay focused for every minute of every game. Rondo was at the helm to keep the team composed while forcing the young Bulls to make mistakes on offense and helping to expose the Bull’s weak defense in the crucial final 6 minutes of regulation. As so many have said eloquently this season: as Rondo goes, so do the Celtics. What’s left for Rondo to do? Continue his stellar performances and help lead this determined and gritty Celtics team to round 2. Can we say enough about him? Let’s not answer that question…

Whoa Award Winner: Paul Pierce.
This isn’t a surprise to anyone. With all the speculation (including many of my own) about injuries, fatigue, age… he comes storming back to shove it in our faces.

Pierce = captured our hearts again last night.

Pierce = captured our hearts again last night.

  • With 9:15 to go in regulation, Pierce converts on a 3-point play after a Joakim foul on a driving layup to make it 69-77 right out of a timeout.
  • With 3:57 to go, Pierce makes 2 free throws to make it 84-86.
  • With 1:13 to go, Pierce makes a layup to tie it up at 91 a piece.
  • With 10 seconds to go in regulation, out of a timeout, on an isolation play at the top of the key, Pierce drains a 15 footer to tie it up at 93 and force an overtime. Keep in mind: they were down 11 points with 9:27 left in the 4th. Down 11… and now OT.
  • With 1:16 left in OT, Pierce fades to the right side, spins, and drops a 16-footer to give the Celts a 102-101 lead.
  • With 36 seconds left in OT, Pierce dribbles, floats to the right side, hesitates, and nails an 18 footer to put the Celts up 104-101.
  • With 3 seconds left in OT, Pierce steps to the right side and drains another 20 footer to give the Celts 106-104 lead and ultimately this bucket becomes the game winning field foal.

The Truth.

To finish, the Rondo/Miller Massacre. At first, I was thinking about how beautiful of a play Vinny drew up in the huddle because the entire population of Suffolk County in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts followed Gordon to the corner away from Brad Miller and his screen. Miller received the ball wide open near the right elbow and made a slow and awkward drive to the hoop. Then I realized that the play wasn’t designed for Miller because he had NO clue what to do with the ball…

Cardinal rule of basketball: don’t foul a guy with the ball when the game is on the line
Cardinal rule of basketball: if you are going to foul someone, make sure they don’t get the shot off

So what do you do? Let Miller hit the easy 2 and hope you get the ball back for one last chance to win? Or do you foul Miller and force him to make 2 free throws?

Rondo made a gamble that paid off: after a terrible defensive breakdown on the part of the Celts, Rondo is quick enough to run over and fake swings for the ball (like, way off) and decks Miller in the face. Literally, decks Miller square in the face so hard that he’s bleeding and who knows if Miller was choking on his teeth after that.

We know what happened after the foul: Miller muffs his first FT and essentially the game is over at that point.

This was a game-winning foul. Rondo made sure Miller wasn’t going to get a look by bitch slapping him. A gamble, but one that paid off.

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