Friday, September 7, 2012

Absolution for Celtics in thrilling OT win over Miami

This was the last chance in the regular season for Boston to slay their nemesis, the sizzling Miami Heat, who had won the previous 3 meetings before tonight's turnaround for Boston.

Rajon Rondo played wisely, never hoisting up any poorly devised jump shots and instead being patient when it came to crafting plays against Miami's pesky defensive line. He finished with 13 assists and a healthy 19 points (6-13 shooting), supplying a passionate team effort by the likes of Josh Howard (who caught fire to end a cold spell as of late), "The Truth" (27 points) and Kevin Garnett (25 points, 15 rebounds). KG stayed out of foul trouble, only committing 1 the entire game, as Kenyon Martin (13 points) and newcomer Charlie Villanueva (10 points, including a huge dagger of a shot in Overtime) devoted their time to playing hard and frustrating their adversaries tonight.

After a huge roster change, the Celtics struggled at first finding the common ground as a new collection of players took to the floor. Roy Hibbert (scoreless, with 7 rebounds) struggled to warm to his new surroundings. These things take time, but it has to feel good starting the adaptation process with a win against the #1 team in the Eastern Conference, who also happens to be the defending NBA Champions.

All night, Boston stayed competitive, refusing to be put out of their misery. The inconsistent play that doomed their last outing against Miami was nowhere to be found tonight. Everyone committed to defense, only allowing some lucky offensive rebounds on occasion, but efficiently locking down the Garden as they battled back from a deficit in the 2nd half to ultimately best their foes from South Beach.

Miami's pesky defense kept Paul Pierce from getting a good shot off in time to end the 4th quarter, a potential game-winning attempt, but in Overtime, "The Truth" was able to break free from his defender and give himself just enough room to hit his trademark fade-away jumper to seal Boston's lead.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (combining for 62 points in a stars-dominated effort) missed some crucial shots down the stretch, including a wide open wing 3 by the reigning MVP that would have kept Miami in the game. Chris Bosh had 19 & 19, a nice double-double in the losing effort. While Ray Allen, the former Celtic, continued to rub his old team the wrong way with 3 long ball shots, he was off (3/14 from the field) tonight when it mattered most. The most satisfying moments for Boston tonight must've been blocking LeBron James more than once on would-be rim killing dunks and rocking out with their ecstatic fans in the TD Garden.

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