With some game recaps, you have to use the second person and get all poetic and weird, because that’s just how the game makes you feel. This game, other than parts of the last minutes that I’ve chosen to ignore/forget, is like that. And because a lot of commenters have been complaining (with reason) about too much criticism of a good team coming from this site, I figured this would be a good opportunity to just tell all the players how great they were against the Spurs.
You were so many different kinds of player tonight, and they were all awesome. At times you were a natural-born shooter, not wasting possessions but saving them with well-chosen looks that barely made a sound going in. Then suddenly you became a slasher, your stubby arms evading defenders in midair. It was like vintage Diaw, only Diaw totally let himself go physically to look pretty much like you do now.
When you’re given some freedom, you’re the NBA’s answer to the Animorphs.
In this one sequence, you started as a pump-faking flamingo, then became a scuttling perimeter D spider-crab, then finally a flying squirrel, soaring laterally through the pines as you lofted a J. You make us all imagine a bizarre utopian future in which the Celtics second unit is a lawless void where positions mean nothing and chaos rules. With you, Nate, Delonte, Marquis, and Pierce/Ray/Wafer on the floor, that lineup could make things deadly confusing like it did for the Spurs tonight. But until then, you are totally starter material.
Oh my god, Ray. You should just paint a little green dot on top of your head after this game.
You found space like thumbs on a keyboard (awesome analogy). You made jogging cool again. You consistently outran George Hill, which many would say you have no business doing because he’s eleven years younger than you are. But you can’t even hear that noise with the wind in your ears.
This play, for example, was over five seconds before you put the shot up. You used a seemingly unaware Glen Davis to get a foot of breathing room, then didn’t give up an inch of it as you ran the entire arc. (It didn’t hurt that Matt Bonner picked off his own teammate in the paint.)
How much do you love having a guy at the point who finds you at the exact right spot on the floor? Tony Parker may have tried to pin all of Rondo’s success on you, but you know better.
Don’t sweat those last two free throws. You wanted to teach us that we’ve been wrong to take your low-90s percentage for granted all these years. That was a valuable lesson and we are better fans for it.
You hit a few impossible threes that made this win happen. But more importantly, when the starting frontcourt duo decided they were going to record three total rebounds for the evening, you filled in as the go-to big. You boxed out for boards, you defended the post, you threw down game-altering dunks.
And when it came down to the last shot, you blocked out the sun.
Now that you’re really back, we recognize our own team again. Which makes us realize that the only thing that really distinguishes the Celtics on offense is how you make them go. Celtics basketball is half a myth, basically, because it doesn’t fully manifest itself without you on the floor.
You were supernaturally aware of where the ball was going to be tonight. Like the moment when you held out your hand and the ball spontaneously appeared in it:
You knew where it was coming off the glass, too, and you were pretty much always there. You also knew where all your teammates were, and where they were going to be in three seconds, and where their defenders were going to be. You are a little scary in this respect.
In the last two games, you’ve also completely manipulated the offensive flow by subtly coaxing the entire defense off of you for three quarters so that, should the need arise, you can basically score at will.
You were an absolute killer in those small lineups tonight. Obviously you took advantage of the increased off-ball movement, that was no surprise. But with the bigs having to step out to take care of the shooting threat, you really got the chance to show that your ankle is fine.
Everyone was wondering if you’d be better than Tony Parker tonight. But you were better than the Spurs.
You solved the problems presented to you by Gregg Popovich, but he couldn’t do the same for yours. He was your mentor, and you straight up outcoached him tonight, both with your plays and your rotations. Dang.
Shaq: You only had one rebound tonight, bringing your total to 14 over the last 7 games. That’s pretty gross. But you did defend the pick-and-roll very seriously. You didn’t just show, you presented yourself with flair, much like you did on Letterman. Both were appreciated.
Bill Kennedy: Get over it.