In 1987, when the injured and aging Boston Celtics were defending their title in the Eastern Conference Finals, Kevin McHale would tell reporters, "You all know what they say—a wounded bear is the most dangerous."
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McHale's 22-year-old analogy can definitely be applied to this year's Defending Champion Boston Celtics.
They are certainly not scared of adversity. These Celtics always seem to rise to the challenge when their pride is threatened.
In the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Celtics have treated fans to their share of overtimes and buzzer beaters. However, last night's onw-point victory over the Orlando Magic had the most unlikely of endings.
We have all seen the play before. The first option is Ray Allen off a fade. Option two would have been Paul Pierce isolated at the top of the key. Option three was always Kevin Garnett fading for an 18-footer.
Last night, it wasn't the "Big Ticket" coming thru with 1.2 seconds left. It was the self-proclaimed "Ticket Stub"—Glenn "Big Baby" Davis.
From the second quarter until Big Baby's game-winning basket, the Boston Celtics vaunted Defense returned. Boston forced Orlando into 39-percent shooting and 18-percent three-point shooting. Hedu Turkoglu, Rafer Alston and Redick were non factors as the Celtics defense hounded their every move.
The offense was another story. Though the Celtics shot 52.8 percent from the field, led by Paul Pierce with 27 point on 9 of 15 shooting, the team only handed out 16 assists.
Rajon Rondo scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds but only dished out four assists. Rondo is averaging 11.3 assists per game in the playoffs.
Boston shot a horrid 10 percent from three-point range. Ray Allen went 0-5 from three point land, finishing with 12 points in 46 minutes.
Even with a filthy offense, missed free throw and three pointers, the Celtics still managed to pull out the victory. Boston now has home-court advantage, back playing two of the next three games at the TD Banknorth Garden.
I have not seen Coach Doc Rivers display that much emotion since last year's championship-clinching Game Six. It seemed as if Doc finally exhaled after holding his breath since losing game one of the first-round series against Chicago.
Notes: Kendrick Perkins re-injured his shoulder with four minutes remaining in the game. His status for Game Five has not been determined.
Legendary Celtics guard Sam Jones was in attendance. Paul Pierce, in foul trouble, only played 32 minutes.