Earlier today, I was playing some pick up basketball with a Celtics team employee and he lamented that when the season started, this matchup tonight was supposed to be a marquee worthy enough for the eight o’clock ESPN time slot. Unfortunately, due to some poor choices and lopsided trades, the Celtics were set to take on a new look Wizards teams that didn’t pose much of a threat at all. To this employee, all I can say is, “all’s well that ends well.” Right?
For three and a half quarters the Celtics seemed set on laying one of the biggest eggs of the season. They shot terribly, got out hustled, and flat out talented by guys with less talent. Al Thornton played like a man on a mission tonight. Flip Saunders is known for being an offensive minded coach, and he seems to be getting every last bit of offensive capability out of the cards he’s been dealt.
In the preview, Brian wrote about how Andray Blatche was a man with which to be reckoned. Well surprise! 23 points and nine rebounds! Blatche showed off his considerable skill in various areas of the game and even displayed a consistent midrange jumper I had yet to see.
The Wizards were aggressive on defense, frustrating the Celtics on drives, contesting shots, playing passing lanes, and Javale McGee was an absolute shot blocking machine tonight. By taking away the passing lanes, this Wizards team took away one of the main things that makes Rondo so great. Rondo only mustered 7 assists in 37 minutes, a pretty pedestrian number for Rondo.
Doc Rivers deserves a lot of credit for this one, although it may not have felt that way during the game. When I reviewed the box score after the game, I was absolutely shocked that no starter played over forty minutes. This almost asssuedly accounts for the energy the Celtics used to climb out of the 13 point hole with a little more than six minutes to go.
So, how did the Celtics come back in this game with no offensive game to speak of? I don’t need an auto-tune (or do I?) to impart to you how important the Celtics defense was and how well they stepped up when it was time to decided to make a run for it or mail it in.
The bottom line for tonight’s win: The Celtics banded together for a solid six minutes, and destroyed a team that has mopped the floor with them all night. This win gives the Celtics something to hang their “mental toughness” (thinking?) hats on.
This win also shows that the Celtics aren’t bored anymore. Kendrick Perkins admitted that this Celtics team had their heads in April instead of in the here and now. This game shows that the Celtics are here right now. They could have mailed it in, hit the showers, and started a new week of basketball fresh.
Now they just get to start it fresher.