Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recap: Victorrryyyyyy

I'm looking back at the notes I took on the game and realizing that they're bordering on being incoherent... I was a little excited, so you'll have to excuse me. The Celtics looked like a completely different team than the one we saw in Portland and in Phoenix. They maintained focus, played with discipline, and executed this game to a tee. Every time that the Celtics needed a big play, they got one. And they got them from a variety of people: just off the top of my head, Paul Pierce, KG, Ray, Glen Davis and Nate Robinson all came through in the clutch. Part of the reason this win was so great is due to the fact that this was a true team victory. Everyone contributed. For the Lakers, Kobe seemed like he was the only one invested in winning. He had a great game, but nobody else on LA was there with him. He decided to stop passing in the fourth quarter... Sometimes that works out for LA. Not today.

Keys of the game

The Celtics big people wore the Lakers down in the paint: Bynum was kept to 28 minutes and 11 points. Gasol played 39 minutes and had 12 points. They were semi-effective on the boards- Gasol had 4 offensive rebounds and Bynum had 3, but for the most part, the Celtics were able to limit their impact. They did this by playing them physically, and by rotating different people on to them, so that they could never get comfortable.

A VICTORY in the battle of the boards: In a reversal of current trends, the Celtics won the battle of the boards in a BIG way. The Celtics had 43 team rebounds, 9 of them on the offensive glass. The Lakers had 30 team rebounds, 10 of them on the glass. Part of the Celtics success on the boards came from stellar play from the big men. Glen Davis did a great job of playing physical in the paint and never giving up on a potential rebound. Perk also did a good job of that. Another factor was the Celtics effort topped that of the Lakers. The Green fought hard on every possession and moved quicker than the Lakers. There were several instances where the Lakers stood around watching while the Celtics grabbed a rebound- and when the Celtics were running down the court, Lakers big men were walking.

More after the jump

Rondo: He is an absolute master of a floor general. He had 15 assists, pacing the game to the advantage of the Celtics, while keeping the ball moving and getting everyone in Green involved. I actually thought he had a kind of slow second half, and lamented to my dad that we haven't seen a "Rondo" game in awhile, but he came out in the 2nd half and shut me all the way up. He takes over, and maybe it doesn't make sense- but it's so subtle and still so completely in your face, probably because he's orchestrating and getting everyone involved, as opposed to trying to do everything by himself.

Bench play: Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis combined to score 28 points, but their impact went far beyond scoring. All of them did an excellent job on the defensive end, applying pressure and playing in control. I was really happy to see Glen Davis attacking the rim instead of settling for jump shots. I was REALLY happy that Nate had somewhat of a breakthrough game offensively, shooting 4-7 from the floor (3-5 from downtown). It's a real luxury to have Shaq come off and Perk come on, especially in games like this, when Shaq isn't in stride.

Player of the game: This was a great team win. Shout out to everyone in Green, for playing at such a high level- and to KG for playing a monster of a game after taking a hit to the face that required 5 stitches... But my player of the game has to be Paul Pierce (32 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block). The Captain is playing with the energy of a 25 year old, but with the grace, knowledge and discipline of the seasoned veteran he is. I feel lucky to be able to watch him this year.

This is a great victory for the Celtics, and they have to feel good about coming in to LA and winning in the building where they lost Game 7.... But let's not forget that the season just keeps rolling on from here, and that the Celtics need to show up to play every game, not just the big ones. We'll see the Lakers again, in less than 2 weeks. 

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