After losing to the Cleveland Cavs to start the week, the Boston Celtics have won 4 straight, including two games in a row down in the Lone Star state. Last night, the Celtics battled the hottest team in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks, and came out on top. A huge win for the C’s. Boston showed a lot of grit yesterday. I was worried that they may come out flat after a tough win against Houston Friday night, but Boston started the game with a ton of energy and never let up for four quarters. Though down by 7 points with 8 minutes left in the 4thquarter, the Celtics never panicked. With shots from Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo along with multiple defensive stops, the Celtics were able to take the lead and they never let it go.
I like what I’m seeing from this team lately, specially from Paul Pierce. Pierce has that explosiveness in his legs for the first time in months. Last night against the Mavs, Pierce was going hard to the hoop and looked like a man on a mission. This is the Paul I love. Even though Paul has a great fg% from 3 point land this season, much rather see him driving to the hoop. If he’s driving, good things happen.
The other starters are looking better and better. Ray Allen has been great since the trading deadline. I was getting worried he was starting to show his age but now looking back, he was playing the most minutes than anybody else on the team. With injuries to other starters, Ray was forced to pick up the offense and if Ray is forcing shots, he’s not effective. Rhythm shots are Ray’s game; pull up threes, catch and shoots. And Ray is human. All the trade rumors in February might have been getting to him mentally. Imagine trying to do your job if there are a bunch of rumors that you are being transferred, it would be hard to block it out. The other member of the Big Three, Kevin Garnett, is looking better too. His love and passion have been there all season long, but now his body is no longer betraying him. This is the best KG’s looked in over a year. Let’s hope he can stay healthy and the knee continues to gain strength and mobility.
The two young guys rounding out the starting five, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins, have been magnificent this season. Rajon Rondo has emerged as one of the leaders of the team. He’s averaging just under 10 assists a game, he’s starting to hit jumpers when open, he can drive it to the hoop any time he wants, and he leads the league in steals. Kendrick Perkins is also putting together a great season. He’s shooting over 60% from the field and always seems to make a big shot in the paint every night. When Perk entered the league, he was not a very good offensive player. But his low post play as improved dramatically. Perk is establishing himself as a top notch defender, banging, rebounding and blocking shots. Both players will carry the torch when the Big Three retire.
The bench is contributing as well. All season long, the Celtics had health problems. They have a healthy roster right now, knock on wood, and the timing couldn’t be any more perfect. Now that the starters are back healthy, the bench can fall into their usual roles. Big Baby Davis has given the bench some fire. His energy is the way it was at the end of last year and its starting to rub off on his teammates. On one play last night, Davis took on 4 Mavsin the paint and was still able to get a layup. The additions of Michael Finley and Nate Robinson have given the bench some needed offense. I love that both players can create their own offense and don’t need other players to help them get a shot off. Even Rasheed is shooting better lately. He’s been taking higher percentage shots. I don’t mind him shooting threes if that is the team’s best offensive shot, but earlier in the season he was chucking up threes like Antoine Walker.
Boston is now holding onto the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference and are gaining ground on Orlando. Next game, they travel to Utah to play a very good Utah Jazz team. As the saying goes, in order to be the best you have to beat the best. They beat Dallas, now let’s see if they can take down Utah. Celtics are looking to make it 5 in a row tomorrow night.
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Written by johnw