“This team doesn’t belong on the same floor as us,” Ray Allen.
Ray Allen said it best when he addressed the Celtics right before tipoff. With the Celtics 0-6 in their last 6 games at the Oracle, Ray Allen was preaching to his teammates like he was Jesus Shuttlesworth. Damn Ray, I thought it was Kg’s job to fire up the team during the pregame. If you didn’t see the video clip, Ray Allen said this in the tunnel to the rest of the Celtics before heading onto the floor last night. It is pretty refreshing to see how passionate and dedicated these Celtics are to bringing their 18th championship banner back to Boston. I mean, do you think Ray would have said that if he was playing for the Sonics still? No way!
The Boston Celtics put the Warriors back in their place last night. After a hard fought three quarters, the Boston Celtics showed why they are a championship contender and why the Warriors are struggling to make the playoffs. Here are the reasons why we lost the game.
1. Rajon Rondo
19 PTS, (9-12 FG, 0-1 FT), 15 AST, 6 REB, 2 STL, 5 TO’s, +24
Rajon showed why he is one of the top PG’s in the league last night. CP3, Deron, fast like my man DRose, and Rondo are the elite point guards in the NBA but are better at different facets of the game. Rondo is the best defender and best at controlling the pace of the game out of those 4. Tonight he was simply amazing to watch. He got wherever he wanted to on the court, distributed the ball efficiently to his teammates, and simply dominated the game. His 3pointer at the end of the 3rd quarter put a dagger in the Warriors and gave the Celtics momentum for the rest of the game. Sure Rondo still can’t hit a midrange jumper to save his life, but he takes high percentage shots. Rondo put on a display yesterday when he hit layups that require his skillset. It is a lot easier to hit those shots when your arms touch the ground and your hands are as big as Shaq’s. Whoever says that he’s only good because of the players around him do not know what they are talking about. He set the tone for the Celtics the entire game and showed why he is the BEST player on the Celtics right now.
2. The PF matchup
David Lee 17 PTS, (5-14 FG, 7-7ft) 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -22
vs.Kevin Garnett 24 PTS, (11-16 FG, 2-2FT) 12 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, +24
Kevin Garnett usually scores two different ways nowadays. He hits the open midrange jumper off the pick and pop, and he finishes Rondo’s passes at the rim. Gone are the days where he’s hitting ridiculous fadeaways and crossing people before viciously dunking over the person he just crossed. This was not the case last night. Besides hitting open jumper after open jumper, Garnett was getting fed the rock and delivering in the post. It’s real easy for him to do this when he has Biedrins and DLee guarding him however. Do not be fooled by the stats, David Lee played a terrible game. Just like he does with most Power Forwards, Garnett scared the living shit out of David Lee. KG might be the most ferocious and intense player in the league. Here is one of the many Youtube videos you can find of him saying some crazy shit.
Besides the first quarter, David Lee looked timid and was contained by Garnett the entire game. David Lee had 5 rebounds and played horrific defense on Kevin Garnett. 5 rebounds?! That is pathetic for an $80 million man. On the flipside, KG showed why he is the best help defender in the entire league and shows why he is the anchor of the NBA’s best defense. KG dominated DLee and had one of his best games all season. For a man in his 16th NBA season, KG still gets it done at a high level.
3. Monta Ellis
15 PTS (6-18 FG) (1-7 3PT), 2 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 4 TO, team worst -23
The Warriors simply cannot beat an elite team when Monta has an off-night, plain and simple. The Dubs are not deep enough and do not play good enough defense to offset a bad Monta performance. The Celtics suffocating defense was on display tonight. Anchored by KG, they rotated fast, defended the pick and roll exceptionally well, and handcuffed Monta. Monta did not get a clean layup the entire game, and they forced him to take more outside shots than he would have liked. I was surprised to see such disciplined defense from Ray Allen. Monta knew he could blow by Ray, but Ray played perfect defense knowing he had help behind him. The four turnovers and bad shot selection reminded me of his play last year. I expect a bounce back performance from Monta on Friday against the Hawks.
The Warriors were doing all they could to stay with the Celtics until they ran out of gas during the 4th quarter. The Celtics displayed a signature veteran win last night. They forced the Warriors into unnecessary mistakes, made the Warriors work for every shot, and took quality shots themselves. Big Baby’s 12 points and 10 rebounds provided them the spark off the bench, and the Warriors were outcoached. Steph Curry played a great game but he should have had the ball in his hands more. Coach Smart just does not utilize Curry how Nelson used him last year. He needs to start figuring out more ways for Curry to get the ball, and especially on nights were Ellis is struggling. And don’t even get me started on Andris Biedrins. He’s lost all confidence and is useless. He needs to spike his hair again or do something different. C’mon man, we need the old you!
Every game is important from here on out if the Warriors even want to smell playoffs, so it is going to be important for the Warriors to beat the Hawks on Friday night. Stay tuned for the preview and recap for Friday’s game.