Ok, given last night's win, this post is a little bit easier to write than my last one expounding on the positives from Game 1. I will try to avoid what has already been discussed (Rondo, House) and zero in on some other great things we can take from this win.
1. Pierce played 16 minutes, 3 points, we still get the win. The C's demonstrated again that they are a multi-faceted team that does not rely on one or two stars to get them a win in a big game. Pierce had an off night so Eddie steps up. It is the stuff of championships.
2. The defense is back for 4 quarters. The 94 points scored by the Magic were not easy points. The C's were agressive and in the Magic faces all night. The lone exception is that Reddick got too many good looks. The Magic did not really have a run all game. When you go back to the middle of the third quarter of Game 1, the C's defense has clamped down and resulted in points at the other end. This is classic Celtic basketball. And without KG. Impressive.
3. Orlando is being exposed for their offensive inconsistency. Unlike the C's, if their shooters miss a bunch, they are done and can get behind quickly. The C's have demonstrated that they can grind it out when the shots do not fall, whereas the Magic live and die by the outside shot. If Lewis and Turk are missing shots, who other than Reddick can they turn to? Howard inside? Let him get his 20/10. Reddick? He is not on the court long enough to make a difference, especially with Lee coming back. And how much will the face mask affect Lee's game? He has already stated he does not like wearing it. The Magic essentially had a good second quarter/early minutes of 3rd quarter of Game 1 and that is it. Being a streaky team will not win them a title.
4. Heart. The C's showed it when they fought back in Game 1 and showed it again last night by putting the pedal to the floor for 48 minutes. Contrast the Magic who showed no heart by blowing the lead in Game 1 and playing too passively in Game 2. The Magic played like they could not wait to get out of Beantown. Too bad for them they have to come back for Game 5.
5. Game Management. Doc did a masterful job last night. Taking BBD out right away after the foul was the right call, as was bringing Steph in rather than TA for Pierce in the first quarter. And then leaving House on the floor for more minutes than usual because he was on fire. Doc had a great feel for the game and for what his players were doing.
6. Van Gundy. He is our 6th man....wow this guy is a heart attack waiting to happen. What a contrast in coaching styles. Doc has remained relatively calm on the sidelines with his team (not necessarily the officials, though) but everytime the Magic falter Van Gundy goes nuts. That has to spill over to the team and affect their psyche. If this series goes back to Boston 2-2 or 3-1 in our favor, he will certainly have a meltdown in Game 5.
7. Steph. Although he missed a few shots last night, he is getting his confidence back and that is a great thing. He made some nice passes last night and some good penetration. He is playing with a fire in his eyes and wants the ring as much as any other Celtic. If he gets it going, is there a better back up point guard in the league?
8. The three guard line up. This seems to be working and may be the thing that keeps this series shorter than 7. Van Gundy basically said that the Magic could not keep up with the Celtics last night. The game was too fast for them. Their small lineup can not match up at all with Steph, Eddie, Rondo and Ray. These are four excellent guards who all have something different to their game. With the exception of Rondo, all can shoot. With the exception of House, all are good penetrators. And all are good passers. How can the Magic guards defend a rotation of any three of them for 48 minutes? They can't.
9. Alston. Hey, if he gets suspended for Game 3, great. But the more important thing about the head slap is that he lost his cool. He is getting outplayed and he cannot handle it. He will not wake up tomorrow with the ability to all of a sudden guard Rondo. It will not happen and Rondo will have his way with him. You cannot have your point guard and floor leader already rattled after 2 games.
10. Perk. My wife asked me during the Bulls series whether he ever smiles. I said no and we like it that way. The guy is just intense and does not give a lick whether he is guarding Howard, Shaq, Wilt, etc...He is all business and his toughness is really rubbing off the rest of the team in the playoffs. He is determined to win and was the only player who admitted after Game 1 that they were too loose and giddy before the game. Do any of you see the same fire when you watch Howard? I realize he is the Defensive Player of the Year but he does not have that same intensity as Perk.
I cannot wait for this weekend. If only the Hawks would give the Cavs some trouble so they are not as rested when we go to Cleveland for games 1 and 2. But we like to do things the hard way so I guess it really does not matter..........have a good weekend my green brothers and sisters.
Be respectful and keep it clean. Thanks.