I honestly don’t know what it would take at this point.
This was the first game in which both Shaq and Rondo were out. But despite those major injuries, back-to-back exhaustion and Nate Robinson trying to see how many different kinds of mistakes he could make, the Celtics won tonight. And it wasn’t close. I predicted this, but I’m still amazed.
Tonight was enough to make me believe the claims that this team won’t give away the regular season like they say they did last year. Actually, I’ve always been inclined to believe that the “veterans wait for the playoffs” defense from last season was A) a defense mechanism in reaction to genuine bad play and B) led by Rasheed Wallace, whose face should be on a poster in Celtics security headquarters this season so he can be forcefully ejected from the building if they see him coming near this team. But I don’t think we have to worry about that coming up this year. This team is really good, and they really want to win.
Garnett was running hot tonight. Ray was Ray. Paul Pierce ran the point like it was his natural position after Nate Robinson made clear his intentions for the evening. And Glen Davis played among those guys like their equal.
That was the thing about tonight: each of those four stars of this game looked exactly as good as any of the other three. The system gave them each their shot, they all got great looks because the Hawks D couldn’t focus on any of the four of them, and they all made good use of their time with the ball.
More on those good basketball players and Nate Robinson in a little while. Oh, and this: