|Paul Pierce, SF 40 MIN | 8-18 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 23 PTS | -1
Tonight was LeBron’s first foulout since April 2009 and Pierce’s third in five games. It’s difficult to pin that entire disparity on Bill Kennedy. Pierce gets whistled because he’s forced to guard players who are much faster, more athletic, and jump-highery than he is. It’s going to keep happening. But as long as he’s scoring like he did tonight, 40 minutes is plenty. He was the guy behind the scoring burst at the opening tip.
|Brandon Bass, PF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +2
Brandon Bass has a chronic stutter of the hands. Every time Rondo finds him in position under the basket with a bounce pass, Bass either fumbles it completely or needs a split second to collect the ball, losing the opportunity. It is unpleasant to behold. But he hit some very big shots and got to the line in a game where that was important.
|Kevin Garnett, PF 43 MIN | 8-20 FG | 1-1 FT | 14 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +7
Along with Ray’s cold snap, the story of the second-half decline was KG missing 11 of his 13 shots. But the story of the survival in overtime was him punishing the rim for three urgent defensive rebounds (in a small lineup) and holding the Heat to two points in five minutes. Even with their biggest first half in recent memory, this was a defensive win, so it has KG’s name on it.
|Ray Allen, SG 46 MIN | 6-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +2
Ray hit three of his five threes in the first half. He got free in every possible way. He looked poised to shoot 60% from three for the remaining nine years of his career. Odds were good that he was going to actually lap Reggie Miller’s record. Then he shot 1-6 in the second. Still a solid game from Ray. I like the idea to stash him on Battier and just make him responsible for closing out.
|Rajon Rondo, PG 47 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 15 AST | 15 PTS | +8
After six years of being begged to stop shooting anywhere outside the paint, Rondo finally develops unlimited range and kills the Heat with his jumper in Games 2 and 3. But only now, NOW after SIX years of being BEGGED TO, he abandons his jump shot in a dumpster behind the Family Dollar and attacks the rim twelve times. What a mysterious dude.Rondo was +8 in 47 minutes, meaning Boston was -6 in the six minutes he didn’t play. It showed.
|Keyon Dooling, PG 16 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -1
A great night for Keyon’s scrambly defense and his show-offy jumper. He flares out that left elbow like he’s firing a bow and arrow. He’s on that Katniss grind. A veritable Geena Davis. Other archers…Hawkeye. Legolas. That feels like enough.
|Marquis Daniels, SG 15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | -4
What do you want? You want Marquis to turn zero meaningful minutes all season into 10 points and 5 boards per game off the bench? You want him to be James Harden now? Is that what you want? Shame on you. He played defense.
|Mickael Pietrus, SF 24 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1
If ever in the future I find myself falling from some extremely high altitude, I’m going to expect Mickael Pietrus to soar in and catch me before I hit the ground. Those were my two favorite offensive rebounds of all time.