HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Paul Pierce‘s late night Tweet said it all.
“It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis.”
After taking apart for a second straight time the team that is supposed to be your biggest rival, what else would you expect Pierce or any of his Boston Celtics teammates to say?
They’ve exposed the Heat twice in the season’s first three weeks. Like we mentioned the other day, the Heat have problems at point guard … and apparently in a few other places when it comes to dealing with some of the league’s other elite teams, particularly those with elite point guards.
You thought we were making this stuff up after the Utah Jazz rallied from a huge deficit for a stunning overtime win over the Heat Tuesday night. And then last night happened and the Celtics’ Big 3+1 showed us all how it’s done.
Rajon Rondo shredded the Heat’s league-best defense yet again, doing whatever he felt like doing (literally), whenever he felt like doing it, as the Heat watched in amazement as the Celtics cohesive machine the Heat hope to be some day.
“They simply out-executed us and carved us up and exploited us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after yet another humbling defeat. “And it paralyzed us.”
That’s what we all saw:
Pierce (25 points), Ray Allen (35 points) and Kevin Garnett (16 points and 13 rebounds) thrived against a Heat defense that is simply ill-equipped to stop them. While the Heat scrambled to keep up with Rondo (16 assists), both Pierce and Allen were busy destroying them on the perimeter.
Garnett, meanwhile, (with a nice assist from Big Baby Davis and Shaquille O’Neal) owned the paint against a Heat frontline rotation led by Chris Bosh that is in need of a lift.
Maybe next time the Heat will realize that committing either James or Dwyane Wade to guard Rondo is exactly what the Celtics want them to do. Once they do it, the door opens for Rondo to play his role as the ultimate set-up man for his Hall of Fame teammates.
The Heat keeping talking about the process and how they should have it all figured out in time for the playoffs, and that’s a noble approach when you realize that their greatest obstacle on the way to the championship parade they had planned for the summer has already figured them out.
ANTHONY, NUGGETS LUMP LAKERS
The Celtics weren’t the only ones delivering messages last night.
Carmelo Anthony told TNT’s David Aldridge that he was happy in Denver (“happy right now” were his exact words). Maybe we should all start listening to him now. The Nuggets pulled the upset at the Pepsi Center, handing the Lakers their first loss (118-112) of the season behind Anthony’s 32 points and 13 rebounds and a monster effort off the bench from J.R. Smith and Ty Lawson.
The Nuggets outscored the Lakers 33-19 in the fourth quarter, showing the sort of finishing kick that big time teams show against a superior foe. George Karl is still touting his team as a contender in the Western Conference, we’re just not sure if Anthony is buying it or even interested in a purchase in Denver.
One sliver of hope remains.
There are clearly more organizational change on the horizon in Denver.
That much is clear now that Josh Kroenke has taken over for his father as the team’s president and Masai Ujiri has cleaned out the last of the old guard, Bret Bearup, earlier this week.
According to the Denver Post, Bearup was the in-house member of the staff stirring the pot on some of ‘Melo trade rumors. So his departure is seen by some, including Anthony, as a good sign for Nuggets in their pursuit to change Anthony’s mind about fleeing the scene in free agency:
“That’s a step. I think that was a big step, not just for Josh (Kroenke) and Masai (Ujiri) but for the whole organization – for the whole league to know what they’re doing here, to make progress,” Anthony said. “Positive (step). They made some changes obviously for the better of the organization. That’s their decision.”
Anthony is still speaking in a distant tone about the Nuggets, which has to be troubling for Nuggets fans. But a win over the Lakers without Chris “The Birdman” Andersen and Kenyon Martin is a huge statement about what type of team the Nuggets could be when those two stalwarts return to the lineup.
The only lingering question is whether or not Anthony will be around when everyone gets healthy. A question Anthony answered in classic fashion.
“TNT loves drama, don’t it?”
WORN OUT WARRIORS NO MATCH FOR BULLS
There’s no sense in pounding on the Warriors this morning.
The Bulls did enough of that in their 120-90 rout of the worn out Warriors at the United Center. The Warriors were playing their fourth game in five nights (and they didn’t have David Lee).
We’ll spare you any more of the gory details and get back to the matter at hand, courtesy of the TNT crew: