Thursday, December 4, 2008

We The Best! © DJ Khaled

The Celtics were out to avenge their one road loss of the season against the Indiana Pacers. What gave them even more motivation to get the job done was that the previous night the Pacers beat the Lakers 118-117 at the last second in LA. Since they also had the opportunity to unseat the Lakers as the consensus "best team in the NBA", win their 10th straight game and run their league leading record to 18-2. All they had to do was stay aggressive and play their game. They were missing the injured Tony Allen, the leading scorer off the bench (8.8 ppg) so they'd all need to step up tonight. No problem.

The game started out and it was pretty competitive at the beginning and Rajon Rondo was sent to the bench early by an accidental headbutt from T.J. Ford. Indiana started out the game hot thanks to the shooting of Danny Granger and they even took the lead for a fair amount of the second quarter. Boston charged back fueled by Rajon Rondo's aggressiveness and the hot shooting of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics also controlled the boards thanks to the duo of Garnett and Kendrick "The Hulk" Perkins.

Paul Pierce was having a frustrating night shooting the ball and the bench was largely effective without it's catalyst (Tony Allen) so they struggled to score unless it was from the free throw line for much of the contest. Hulk took it upon himself to become a scoring threat and he grabbed offensive boards and established himself as an option on the low block early. Since Kevin Garnett was scorching the nets (and the Pacers defenders) all night, that left him unchecked as KG often drew a double team. Big mistake. When the Pacers went to box out Hulk, Rondo just jetted past them and cut to the hole or hit Garnett with an alley oop.

The Pacers had no one that could guard Ray "Jesus Shuttlesworth" Allen. He ended up going 11-18 from the field including 6-9 from deep to finish with 31 points in 27 minutes. Paul Pierce had trouble finding his range as he spent considerable time trying to hold down Danny Granger and keep him from exploding. Since Granger averages 26 points a game (and close to 32 in his last 3), Pierce did a great job holding him to 20 while scoring 16 himself and grabbing 5 rebounds.

Kevin Garnett (26 pts 14 rebs 4 blks) and The Hulk (16 pts 10 rebs (5 off)) completely dominated the paint that night and the Pacers couldn't establish a presence and get any second chance points. The game in which they beat the Celtics, the green shot less than 35% from the field and scored less than 80 points. It was clearly their worst game of the year and since then the Celtics have settled in and now they're back to blowing out squads and watching Geno on the Jumbotron in the 4th quarter.

The game was completely dominated by Rajon Rondo, who damn near had a triple double at halftime. He defended his position, pushed the tempo and found the open man time and time again. When the Indiana Pacers went on their eventual run and brought the lead all the way down from 24 to 9 in the fourth quarter, all the Celtics did was get back to having Rondo push the tempo and find the open man. After about a minute on the court the lead went right back up to 16. Rondo found Kevin Garnett for four thunderous alley oops that completely embarassed the Pacer defenders.

When it was all said and done, Rajon Rondo finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, 17 assists and 3 steals to make the case for an All Star berth and serious consideration as one of the elite point guards in the NBA (no "young" qualifier necessary). The Celtics physicality and toughness prevented the Pacers from coming back the same way that they did against the Lakers as the Celtics outrebounded the Pacers 54-31 to win 114-96 @ TD Banknorth Garden, the only Garden in the NBA that matters.

The Boston Celtics are now 18-2, the possessors of the best record in the NBA, owners of a 10 game win streak and the undisputed best team in the NBA. Friday night, they host the Portland Trailblazers at home and the player they coveted in the 2007 NBA Draft in Greg Oden. They'll have quite a task on their hands trying to beat this young, loaded squad, hopefully they'll be up to the challenge and Tony Allen will be back to active duty. We the best!



DocZeus said...

The Cavs are taking you guys this year. We've been curb-stomping motherfuckers lately.

Dart Adams said...

@ DocZeus:

Not the Celtics. Never the Celtics.


DocZeus said...

Here's the thing, the Cavs almost took you guys last year and hadn't Paul Pierce played out of his mind or the Cavs had Boobie Gibson in the game, we would've won that game. And THAT Cavs squad was incomplete and just beginning to play up to their potential.

This year's squad is much, much, nuch, much better and while the Celtics are still the Celtics, you aren't significantly better than last year. The Cavs are taking you in six in the playoffs. You aren't stopping Lebron this year.

Dart Adams said...

The Cavs have no answer for Perk and KG. They have no one to stop Ray Allen. Pierce and LeBron cancel each other out and Mo Williams can't shut down Rondo.

Our bench is better than the Cavs bench. Throw last years playoffs out the window. The Cavs aren't beateing the Celtics defense in a 7 game series. The Lakers either. Z AND Ben Wallace will be the end of any Eastern Conference championship hopes the Cavs have.


DocZeus said...

I'm sorry. I believe the Cavs shut down Ray Allen pretty damn fine last year if I'm not mistaken... and I believe that was with Wally Sczerbiak guarding him... Delonte West is a damn good defender is own his right. I'd like to see him go at Rondo.

And an out of shape Varejao and the corpse of Ben Wallace handled KG pretty damn well if I'm remembering correctly...

Illgauskaus has been deadly this year in reduced time so I don't know when Perkins became an All-Star but he's definitely not matching Z...

And your bench is definitely not fucking with the Cavs...

And most importantly, you can't double team Lebron this year with Mo Williams on the court and he's playing a hell of lot more on the block which is making him even deadlier... You are not shutting him down this year... Period.

Plus, you're ignoring the fact that when the Cavs inevitably trade Sczerbiak and Snow....

Dart Adams said...

@ DocZeus:

You'll see, Doc. When have I EVER been wrong about the Celtics?


Sickamore said...

Bynum: The Movie

Coming June 2009

Dart Adams said...

@ Sickamore:

You mean:

The 2008-09 Boston Celtics: Prepare For Total Domination

NBA Championship DVD on sale August 2009.

Bynum is heated at Phil Jackson, his teammates and the franchise right now. The C's are too damn hardbody. Between Hulk and KG ain't no one grabbing a board or getting to the paint. Don't you have DVR, Sick?

We need to do a collaborative basketball playoff blog this year.


S-Diggy said...

cavs aren't taking nothing this year. Ben Wallace also didn't improve over the year, so i don't know why Doc is saying that he'll be able to guard KG.
yall lost because Pierce played out of his mind, and thats what he's supposed to do. so expect him to do it again when yall play us.
Not to mention Rondo is becoming a hell of a Point Guard, and Mo Williams or not, he'll be able to do his thing. just let him get more confidence in his jumper and he'll be even better. And we already know he's one of the best on-ball defenders in the league

Celtics Champs 09!!

DocZeus said...

I still think sports fans are operating under the premise that the Cavs team are the same team they were two years ago. (Sort of the same general delusion that keeps people thinking that Kobe Bryant is the best player on the planet when that hasn't been true since Lebron's third year in the league.)

This team bears almost no resemblance to that team and they are universally improved in all aspects of the game. They're as deep as the Lakers and the Celtics. They play better defense than the Lakers and they score more than the Celtics. Wallace actually looks relatively rejuvenated this season thanks to having to play less minutes. Varajeo is back to playing lights out. Delonte West has been playing fantastic. Z is having a career year. The team is gelling and cohesive and they're only going to get better over the year.

The Celtics are going to find out the hard way what the Pistons found out two seasons ago. You give Lebron James a series to figure a team out... He's beating you the next year.

The league should be REALLY worried.