What was most noticeable to me about the Cs last nights near blowout win over the Miami Heat was the obvious total team effort, both on offense and almost always on defense. Rajon Rondo has become the driving force behind the team effort, and makes it look easy. He has become the floor commander, and directs the defense with precision along with Garnett, as well as the offense, and this has become a very well oiled machine, with all of the players knowing their roles and carrying them out to perfection, give or take the occasional misstep.
The first half left the Heat scorched, as their individual style of play was no match for the Cs team effort. It reached the point that the Cs briefly had a 22 point advantage, but were unable to sustain the momentum, as a number of dubious fouls were called against them, and slowly allowed Miami to creep back into the game. One, in particular, of several, was so ludicrous, that I had to laugh out loud, when Shaq, who stood his ground, with arms wide, unmoving, was called for a shooting foul, instead of James being called for a charge. There were several calls, that were, to be very charitable, would be considered poorly judged, but that seems to be the cross that the Cs will have to bear all season, as they play an aggressive defense.
Ray Allen ran rings around Dwyanne Wade, having one of his best games of this early season, while Wade's game went in the other direction. It's obvious that Wades and James style don't complement each other, but rather is a cause of conflict at this point in time. For Miami to succeed, one of them will have to change his style of play, if that will be possible at this stage in their careers. Chris Bosh seems to be a fifth wheel so far, and while he is a scorer [ or has been in the past ], he has never been a two way player, and offers no defense [ posterized by Rondo's dunk would be one example ].
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had an exemplary game, both offensively and defensively, and when Rondo dishes 16 assists and the Big Three knock down 76 points between them, it'll be hard for any team to match them.
As I've already mentioned the officiating, I won't bother with a 4th quarter breakdown, which at times looked like a circus [ or the theater of the absurd ] but the Cs prevailed. More power to them, although a number of defensive lapses did take place as well, or the game wouldn't have been nearly as close as it seemed to become.
Solid team play wil overcome great individual efforts almost every time. Go Celtics.
Lionel Gaffen/ Fotomix