Then came Game three and the whole Boston Celtics team picked up their instruments and played to the same tune.
Some may look at last night’s game and immediately highlight that it was the first time in this series that Paul Pierce played like we expect him to play.
But that’s not the only difference from Games one and two. Sure, it helped to have Paul Pierce, finally, put in some good numbers. But, for me, it was the fact that the whole team looked focused, poised and determined to win the game that really made the difference.
For the first time in this playoff series, both Pierce and Allen played like they’re normal selves (in the same game), while Rajon Rondo joined them with his steady baton. On the front, Glenn “Big Baby” Davis and Kendrick Perkins continued to meet (or even excel) expectations.
But there were other reasons that explain how the Boston Celtics were able to win back home-court advantage last night in Chicago.
First, there’s experience. On several occasions, it was like an NBA team of veterans playing against a College team of freshmen. Apart from the final two or three minutes, when there was really nothing else to do than running the clock down, each and every one of the Celtics players knew exactly what to do and did it well.
On the other hand, the Bulls never really got into the game and appeared nervous and frightened as early as midway through the second quarter. They committed a lot of turnovers and really failed to execute any kind of offense, for most of the time.
Second, roster depth. Remember, the Boston Celtics are having to “go to the bench” from tip off. But they’re also got fine performances from Stephon Marbury and Mikki Moore. In the case of Marbury, it also adds to experience.
And finally, the third reason, one that every coach that I know will agree: defense. Offense wins games. Defense wins championships. How many times have we heard this before?
It’s not because it’s been repeated for ages that it has become the truth. It’s because it is the truth. And the Celtics showed that they can put +30 against the Bulls by playing great “D”, forcing turnovers and bad shots.
These are the Celtics that I know. These are the Celtics that can be called contenders again. And suddenly, Game four became the new Game two. I am very much looking forward to it.