ESPN’s headline was ‘What More Can the C’s Do?’.
That’s probably the best way you can put it.
What more can the Boston Celtics do?
Paul Pierce 21 points, 6 rebounds in what was a much more typically aggressive performance.
The broken Ray Allen had 11 points with 6 rebounds, including a huge three late in the game to force overtime.
18 points and 8 rebounds for Kevin Garneet.
And I haven’t even mention the greatest performance of Rajon Rondo’s career.
They showed a brief graphic of Rondo nailing a few jumpers before the game and for some reason I had a slight shiver run down my spine. I thought to myself ‘imagine if Rondo learned how to shoot, we’d be in a bit of trouble’.
Well at least for one game, not only did he learn how to shoot, but I think he’s borrowed Ray Allen’s stroke all together.
I’ve watched thousands of basketball games in my life but I haven’t seen anything that stunned me more than his performance today.
Not just because Rajon Rondo is notoriously a bad shooter, but he is notoriously a terrible shooter. Below 45% from the field and under 60% from the FT line during the regular season, and if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s not at all shocking to see him miss fairly open layups. I’ve seen him miss wide open layups.
Rondo is hugely unorthodox in everything he does. He passes the ball with one hand, his shooting form is robotronic and for whatever reason he chooses to scoop basically every layup he attempts.
Yet yesterday it all came together to the tune of a career high 44 points on 16/24 field goals and 10/12 at the line. So for a below 45% field goal shooter to hit 16 of 25, most of which were jump shots, and a below 60% FT shooter to hit 10/12, there isn’t really an appropriate word to describe it. Outlier doesn’t fit. You need to add at least five adjectives to justify what happened.
Add 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals and you’ve got the best performance of the playoffs thus far, which is saying something given the ridiculousness James and Wade have produced over the past fortnight.
Yet none of that mattered in the end because the Heat won the game.
Trailing through the first half, a huge third quarter saw the Heat begin to pull away as it looked as though the elderly Celtics had run themselves into the ground. But an efficient fourth quarter saw Boston and Miami trading blows down the stretch as one side looked to take the dominant advantage. James, Wade, Haslem and Battier were key for the Heat as Rondo, Allen, Pierce and Garnett were up to their usual antics.
As expected, defense was the name of the game and the key to the Heat win was the stops they were able to achieve.
James narrowly missed a buzzer beating attempt at the end of regulation but helped drive the Heat home as they took a stranglehold on the game in overtime. LeBron finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Wade recovered from a horrible 2 point first half to finish with 23. Mario Chalmers continued his improving play with a hugely important 22 points including 3 threes.
Miami’s bench rarely outscores it’s opponent’s, but the 25-7 count in favour of the Heat was telling, particularly Haslem’s 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The series now moves to Boston where the Celtics must win both if they are going to be any chance of extending the series past 5 games.