While the Celtics have a growing reputation for trash talking their opponents, they had an internal battle going against the Lakers. Following an Allen turnover on a wild pass intended for Rajon Rondo with 7:47 left in the third quarter, the two Boston guards got into a heated discussion. With the Lakers coming back on offense, Paul Pierce pulled Allen away and pushed him toward his defensive assignment to end the verbal dispute. Rondo said the Celtics had a spirited debate during a second-half timeout, too. "We are so competitive, we want to win," said Rondo, who had 6 points and a game-high 12 assists. "We've got to get past that because it's not like us. It's not like the usual Celtics." Said Kevin Garnett, "We argue every night. That's why I think we're so good and that's why we've been able to mesh so early. We do voice our opinion. Tonight's no different just because it was Christmas or an ABC game. Our communication is our strength, whether it's arguing or a small quarrel. But the fact that we are all talkative and do voice our opinions is the strength of this team."
They can downplay all they want, but I think this is a case where they finally understood the magnitude of the game while it was slipping away from them and they got frustrated at each other. It happens, and it is a valuable lesson for down the road.