|Miami Heat||90||FinalRecap | Box Score||94||Boston Celtics|
|Paul Pierce, SF 43 MIN | 6-19 FG | 5-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 19 PTS | 0
A slow start is more than made up for by one of the sweetest shots of Paul Pierce’s career. With LeBron James’ outstretched finger tips tickling his chin, Pierce rose up and nailed an absolutely gorgeous three-pointer to extend Boston’s lead to four with less than a minute remaining. The numbers aren’t pretty, but pretty much everybody who saw the floor for a majority of this basketball game posted an unattractive stat line. The Celtics are defined by how they rise after getting knocked down, and this incredible shot is a perfect example. Pierce also set his teammates up with a few fantastic passes off penetration late in the fourth quarter. Despite the wretched shooting percentage, he remained aggressive. It was the difference.
|Brandon Bass, PF 30 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | 0
Bass was Bass tonight. He hit some shots, missed some shots, and wasn’t on the floor due to matchup issues in key situations. He also had one of the dumbest plays of the game, traveling 40 feet from the basket, then slamming the ball to the ground and picking up a technical. But like I said, this is who he is. If you want that gorgeous jump shot and broad-shouldered presence down low, you must also accept the slowest perimeter defender in the world.
|Kevin Garnett, PF 35 MIN | 11-20 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 26 PTS | +4
Through this entire series, Garnett remains an unanswerable question keeping Miami’s coaches up at night. Front him in the post and there’s a lob over your head. Leave him on the pick and roll and he’s rattling in a dunk or knocking down a 20-foot jump shot. After the game Garnett said beating this team is not easy, but whenever he rises above the Heat’s small lineup for an alley-oop, he sure makes it seem so. His back line defense on Wade and James, two of the most devastating penetrators in league history, has been the difference in this series, and in the bigger picture, serves as the back bone of what’s made this era so successful. Even when the shots don’t fall, Garnett’s defense WILL be there on the other end. The emotional/physical toll his mere presence on the court takes on the collective psyche of his opponent was once again too much tonight. God bless this man and his unrelenting fire.
|Ray Allen, SG 43 MIN | 2-9 FG | 8-8 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +1
Ray Allen was like radon gas in this game: a silent killer. In the first half he had six rebounds and eight points on a single shot. He played more minutes in the entire game than Dwyane Wade and was solid on defense throughout. The stats aren’t there, but the respect was. Watching him run through screens and ice close basketball games with cold-blooded free-throws sure is a sight for sore eyes.
|Rajon Rondo, PG 44 MIN | 3-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 13 AST | 7 PTS | +11
An impossible game to evaluate. He was passive for three quarters, then radiant in the fourth. He made one of the most inane backcourt violations you’ll ever see on one play, then maestro’d the offense to near flawless play for the entire final quarter. There’s no use trying to measure who Rondo is and what makes him tick. All I know is he’s doing things on the court right now that have never been done before, by anyone. He’s simply the best point guard in basketball.
|Keyon Dooling, PG 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +1
He knocked in a HUGE three-pointer to end the third quarter, capping a humongous 15-1 Celtics run, and was as positive a ball of energy as we’ve seen in just nine minutes of action. I absolutely love his full court ball pressure when it’s needed, too. Looking forward to what he has in store on Thursday night.
|Marquis Daniels, SG 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3
Daniels wasn’t really a factor. He played just three minutes of situational basketball, but was…solid…in doing so.
|Mickael Pietrus, SF 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +5
Regardless of his unreliable shot, and a tendency to leap from his couch whenever he sees someone pump fake on television, I’ve come to accept Mickael Pietrus for who he is and what he brings to the Boston Celtics. He played the entire fourth quarter tonight, and nailed two clutch three-pointers that kept Boston in it when things looked to be turning south. There are so many tiny positive things he does during a game (count his drawing of a technical foul on Chalmers in tonight’s contest as one of them) that you know his hearts in the right place even when it appears his head is elsewhere.
|Greg Stiemsma, C 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +1
Stiemsma had zero fouls in eight minutes. Progress. He also finished a pretty pick and roll with Rondo that was a lot harder than it looked. Any offense you get from Stiemsma is a fantastic thing.