Gotta Give it Up for the Old Guys! Celtics Make History

Ap/Terrill

Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat, Celtics “Let the air out of the building.”

Ray Allen (8 time NBA All star; one of the all time NBA career 3 point shooters) played every minute of the game. Every minute. He played each one like it was worth more than 60 seconds. People will focus on one or two plays where he embarrassed Vujacic or made some insane and beautiful baseline play. But the fact is that he was in there every minute because his skill and experience mattered. And it did, every minute of it did.

With Rondo out, Allen immediately adjusted his game. No one else can get the pass in transition that he needs for his 3 point plays. Instead, he became a point guard, shooting guard, rebounder, he was everywhere. He took Vujacic out not in one or two possessions that will show on the highlight films, but by planting doubt and making Sasha tentative or making him hesitate. Setting the table, possession by possession. Even to the end of the game, so any time Sasha is one on one with Ray, he’s going to hesitate because, as Vujacic admitted in the post-game interview, he “was afraid to foul him.”

These are the kinds of contributions that don’t necessarily show up on the stat lines. The poise, the composure, the skill to continually take it to the other guy. Spread the defense, drive into the paint and challenge them to foul, to bait the defender (right in front of the ref, while shaking off the screen) these things will stay in the head of a younger player.

Someone like Allen (19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block) or Garnett (led with 11 rebounds and his numbers don’t show his contribution. I still want him to dominate the paint more, please? They both labored for years in the Western Conference racking up insane stats but going unnoticed by most of us and never getting the chance to play with a team that could be a contender…you don’t think these guys want this? As Kobe reminds us, it’s not just about wanting, it’s about executing. You’d have to give it to the Celtics on that score, too.

Going from a record-setting 1st quarter deficit to record-setting comeback in the last minutes of the game. That doesn’t happen because Paul Pierce wants to guard Kobe and gets the assignment. It’s because he can do the job. Because shooters can spread the defenders. Even with limited minutes and a bad ankle, Rondo was going into the paint and making the Lakers account for him when he was on the floor. When his limitations showed, he sat and was okay with it. Powe, Posey, House (his long jumper gave the Celitcs their first lead with 4:07 left in the game), Brown….each player made a contribution without which this historic win would not have been possible.

PJ Brown had his first Finals game in his 15 year career in game one and remains calm, ready and understated. Except when he’s emphatically dunking over a stunned Laker. “Just” ready to do “what the team needs me to do.” How many NBA veterans are in Finals game shape, while contemplating retirement, then get this call? He is faster to set up his feet to draw a charge than half the younger guys on the floor. He’s rebounding. Doing whatever it takes. Huge. Should have gotten a couple of foul calls he didn’t get.

House misses two of this first four – keeps shooting. Posey, 18 points tonight. One of the only guys on the team with a ring. He knows what it means to be in the Finals.

Numbers to look at: (and what they mean, or don’t):

  • Celtics are 22-0 all time in playoff series when leading 3-1 (6-0 in finals) (but these numbers were not by these Celtics)
  • Celtics began the game by setting a record low first quarter in NBA finals history (that WAS this Celtics team)
  • Lakers blew a 24 point lead; still held 50-48 lead at halftime
  • Celtics outscored the Lakers 31-15 in the fourth quarter
  • 24-15 Celtics out rebounded Lakers in second half
  • C’s were still down by double digits with two minutes left in the third quarter (I can’t believe it and I watched it happen!)
  • First lead for Celtics came with only 4:07 left in the game (no quit in THIS Celtics team)

You just can’t deny these guys. Not even the Lakers can. We can all taste it, KG. You guys are earning it every day. When they take the floor in practice, when they take the floor at game time.

Kobe can have his shots (as in drinks) we’ll give him those. The ones on the court, not so much.

Jamele Hill said today, Kobe’s legacy as a leader is what remains to be seen. That’s what his team needs.

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~ by jacqueline1230 on June 14, 2008.

One Response to “Gotta Give it Up for the Old Guys! Celtics Make History”

  1. […] Here I am a few weeks back from the Cooking for Solutions event and trying to stay focused on my follow up writing from that event, from the subsequent New Orleans Food and Wine Experience. Of course, I’ve also been watching as the Celtics remind us they not only want to win, but that they can also execute. […]

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