The Celtics caught a pretty good team on a bad shooting day as they extend their winning streak to 13 games. On the surface, this game was pretty unremarkable. The Celtics have grinded out another win despite Rajon Rondo being sidelined.
Paul Pierce was nothing less than spectacular. His triple double was sorely needed with Rondo’s absence and Nate Robinson‘s inability to run the offense. Pierce could have been easily outplayed by the younger Danny Granger, an explosive player who can score in bunches. Instead, Pierce quietly displayed what (still) makes him an elite player in this league. Pierce smothered Granger by keeping his arms up and staying in front of him. Granger was also goaded into taking terrible shot after terrible shot. While the Knicks are dying to get Carmelo Anthony, I would check on Granger’s availability if I were them. He was made for a Mike D’Antoni offense.
Like I said, there was not a whole lot to this game. However, one particular aspect to take note of is the return of the Celtics’ defense. It’s pretty clear that the Celtics will play their smothering, sharply rotating, and ball deflecting defense when their opponents allow them to. Today, the Pacers definitely allowed them to. The Pacers finished the game shooting 35% from the field and 22% from distance. Many of the Pacers easy points came at the expense of Nate Robinson, which should make Celtics’ fans feel pretty anxious excited for Rajon Rondo’s return.
More analysis and some video on the way…