Kevin Garnett, PF37 MIN | 4-11 FG | 8-8 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +15
KG may have had the double-double tonight but he missed a wide open 13 footer and a point blank layup with under two minutes to play. He also looked completely over-matched by Dirk Nowitzki at times. Lots of players do but not everyone has the defensive reputation that KG does.
Paul Pierce, SF30 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -7
Mickael Pietrus ended up eating up a lot of Pierce’s minutes in the third and fourth quarters. Was Pierce’s heel acting up? Did Doc just want to give Pietrus some extra run because he was playing well? We’ll find out soon enough. Weirdly enough, Pierce only attempted five shots all game.
Jermaine O’Neal, C22 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -5
The effort was there as JO looked pretty good on two blocks but he could only stay on the court for 22 minutes. Not what you want or need from your starting center.
Ray Allen, SG33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -7
Ray Allen was there when the Celtics needed a three but wasn’t really heard from when they didn’t.
Rajon Rondo, PG38 MIN | 8-16 FG | 8-12 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 24 PTS | -6
The Celtics needed Rondo to step up in the worst way tonight. Even though he definitely did that but because the rest of the starters didn’t have it offensively, Rondo still had to force the action more than anyone should be comfortable with.
Mickael Pietrus, SF18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +2
A three, a steal, and a transition dunk. Not to mention really tough perimeter D and holding his own on Lamar Odom in the post. This is the Mickael Pietrus the Celtics were banking on.
Brandon Bass, PF31 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -6
Played 33 big minutes tonight and made his customary open shots.
Five Things We Saw
Lineups. The Celtics had some interesting lineups tonight. At one point they trotted out Rajon Rondo, Keyon Dooling, Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox. At another time they had JO, Pierce, Dooling, Rondo, and Bass sharing the court. It’s still early but it’s going to reach a point where Doc Rivers should really be settling in on a rotation and only utilizing some guys in injury situations.
Fans. The 16th man was in full force tonight. Whenever the Celtics tied it up the TDGarden crowd got incredibly loud. There was even a point in the fourth quarter where the Celtics may have induced a shot clock violation but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear the buzzer. Luckily the C’s got the rebound, so no harm no foul.
Foul! I tweeted during the first half that no one on either team was in foul trouble thus a player fouling out would be highly unlikely. The officiating in the second half was so wildly inconsistent that Ian Mahinmi fouled out and Mickael Pietrus had four.
The Shot Clock is Real. The Celtics pressured the wings tonight so well that it forced the Mavs to violate the shot clock a handful of times. Seriously, I lost count at five. It may have been a byproduct of a lack of ball movement from the Mavericks but it was impressive nonetheless.
Dirk is Dirk. I was just thinking right after the Pierce three to tie the game that the Celtics have kept Dirk Nowitzki really quiet tonight (4-10, 13 points till that point). Then the last play happened and well, you know, you don’t really get to be the Finals MVP by being lucky or just okay.