Boston Celtics and Paul Pierce: It's Not over Yet
I've stated it before, and I'll say it again, I've only watched basketball for one season, that being said, I may be ignorant at times of the game. However, one thing proves very obvious in the basketball world.
For the Celtics, they need to play every game like it's Game 7. Winning three straight would be wonderful, and it's actually doable. Unlikely? It's actually the Celtics' best shot at winning.
They win Game 4 at home, steal Game 5 on the road and come home for Game 6. They have to defend home court, and steal a game on the road.
For the Celtics, the best game to steal would be Game 5. A Game 7 with the Heat might be too much to overcome.
If the Celtics want any chance to beat the Heat this postseason, here are 5 key factors.
5. Control the Games Pace
Pop quiz! When are the Celtics at their best? Answer: When Rondo is at his best.
As I've stated in the previous slide, when Delonte West was in for Rondo the Celtics looked kind of old. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the Celtics feed off of the energy of the point guard.
Delonte West, not a high energy guy, he's more of a calming influence, and the game takes a slower pace (exception: When Paul got hot, he seemed to speed up the pace a bit, and Ray Allen always has one speed ).
That being said, Rondo may seem like a quiet guy, in fact, he probably is. However, being quiet does make someone any less explosive. He can turn up the tempo at will.
You don't have to score to be dominant in a game, you don't even always need the ball in your hands. Rondo knows this well although, in his case, it's a matter not being a terrific shooter too.
When Rondo controls the game's tempo, the Celtics can hang with any opponent. They are a true championship squad with Rondo playing so dominant.
4. Play Like You Want It
Kevin Garnett used to have a certain look in his eyes whenever he played. After the trade.....Not so much. Still, Kevin is a major player in this series. He's hot, and Chris Bosh is butter. He's cold, and Chris Bosh is his equal(Or better, depending on the situation)
It's not just Kevin, the Celtics as a whole have been struggling to regain that mental toughness and championship form since the trade. Game 3 against the Knicks, and now game 3 against the Heat, they have regained their championship form, at least for now. They have to keep this form if they want to beat the Heat.
And what form am I talking about? Diving for every lose ball, not walking across the floor, boxing out for every rebound, leaving no Heat player with the ball any room to breathe. Playing every moment like it's their last chance at a championship, because it is. Whatever the Celtics do, they can't get sloppy, they can't don't mistake going hard and over doing it,and they definitely can't play lazy at any moment. They don't want to make the series any tougher then it already is, and it's bad enough being down 1 games to two with a squad containing 2 of the best players in the league.
3. The Ray Allen Factor and Kevin Garnett
Ray Allen plus three-pointers equals successful Celtic squad, at least, that's how the formula usually goes.
The Heat have done all they can to stop the ageless three-point king and their defense has done a good job; sometimes it goes in no matter what.
When Ray gets it going, Paul Pierce tends to feed off that energy. When Paul decides to turn back the clock, Rondo decides to speed up the tempo and when Rondo controls the tempo, it's a game that the Celtics control.
Garnett doesn't have that same look on his face, as I've said before. However, that didn't stop his impressive double double in Game 3.
Maybe he's just using Rondo's poker face. Nonetheless, when the going gets rough, It's Garnett I can trust. When he doesn't respond to the toughness, things begin looking downhill.
Game 3 was just a warm up. I don't think Shaq is going for eight minutes for Game 4. Hopefully he can stand 12-15 minutes on the court.
Even though he didn't do much, he adds a strong defensive presence and depth back to the center position (and more importantly, keeps Nenad Krstic on the bench, which holds a lot of promise in itself).
When (and if) Shaq comes back full force, don't be surprised if he goes off for a double-double at least once in the series.
Honestly, I don't care how much Shaq averages, his defensive presence may be enough to influence games, and if his legs hold up, the Celtics still have a shot at winning.
But, if he gets injured again, it may be game over for the Celtics.
Of course this is No. 1. It's how the Celtics got this far, their first title, the finals last year and if they want even a remote chance at a title, they'll have to get it done on the defensive end first.
Games 1 and 2, the Celtics defense was nonexistent against Lebron and Wade. Game 3 was a much needed turnaround.
The Celtics need to nab the next two games to take a 3-2 lead against the Heat and finish out the series at home in Game 6.
You can't beat the Heat in a series with offense alone—maybe one or two games at most, but definitely not a series.
It's not as easy as it sounds. Lebron James and Wade are among the hardest in the league to guard.
This will be a tall task for the Celtics, and even a small lapse in judgement could cost the Celtics a game. Lebron, and the Heat as a whole should never be taken lightly, not even for a moment.
The Celtics know this, and I expect an exciting Game 4.
Writing is something I love doing. Basketball is my favorite sport.
So if anyone has an idea for an article pertaining to basketball, I'd be more than happy to write about it.
I hope you guys liked the slideshow, and thanks for reading.