2012 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Proving Us All Wrong
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How foolish were we? How incredibly disrespectful were we to the Boston Celtics?
As it turns out, very.
After winning yet another Game 5 in a 2-2 series (Boston is now 9-0 in such games since the Big 3 was formed) the Celtics are a win away from letting out a collective “We Told You So.”
I was one of those to whom that will be directed if Boston can finish off the Heat tonight on the parquet floor. I said everything all the other so-called experts were saying.
The Heat are too explosive. The Celtics are too old, too banged up. But Rudy Tomjanovich told us all in 1995 never to underestimate the heart of a champion. Did I listen? Nope. I thought the Celtics could manage a game or two against the Heat, but inexplicably had this a five game series.
I underestimated what Kevin Garnett could do in this series. Yes, he had an advantage, but he’s dominating like this 2004 not 2012.
Garnett is the unquestioned leader of this team. Nobody works harder, communicates more on the defensive end, or rallies his troops quite like KG. He is the definition of leaving it all on the floor. He’s done it all postseason and might be the first to outrun father time.
I completely overlooked the Celtics bench. Can you blame me? I didn’t envision the likes of Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling playing pivotal roles. They are not just giving Doc Rivers valuable minutes, but they are hitting big shots. Pietrus hit two of them last night—the first after one of the best plays you’ll ever see by Rajon Rondo just to get him the ball, and the second to give the Celtics a two-point lead late.
Dooling has been a pest on defense, chastising whomever he’s asked to defend. Pietrus has been doing the same thing to both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
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I didn’t think the Celtics had it in them. I didn’t believe Rondo would be this special. He’s been special—a maestro and a conductor. The Heat can’t keep him out of the lane, and even when they dare him to score, he’s done that.
Rondo has put the ball exactly where it has needed to be. He’s been in total command and in total control out on the floor.
The one thing I did foresee is also happening: Doc Rivers is outclassing Erik Spoelstra on the sidelines.
Rivers is a great coach and he’s proving it this series. Last night was no exception. He switched defenses throughout the fourth quarter just to give the Heat a different wrinkle—some man, some zone—and it befuddled the Heat. The Miami offense had a deer-in-headlights look too many times in the fourth quarter.
That goes to Doc Rivers. He’s pushed the right buttons. He’s implemented a brilliant strategy of blitzing Wade with double teams and turned this into LeBron vs. Boston at times.
As much as the public will want to put the blame on the Heat, this isn’t the case. Make no mistake: this is as much about what Boston is doing to the Heat as it is what the Heat has been unable to do.
It doesn’t hurt that the Heat are dealing with their own problems, from personnel to coaching issues and of course the inability to execute down the stretch. But harping on all of those matters would take away from the true determination of the Celtics, and that shouldn’t be the case.
We should have seen this coming. Shame on us.
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