Celtics reach deep for win

BOSTON — Who knew the Celtics, who labored for two rounds in the playoffs, then came up empty this week in Miami, still had some swag in them?

Who knew they could reach eight-deep in the lineup and not suffer, could briefly buckle in the fourth quarter after nearly blowing a 24-point lead and live to tell, could do all the necessary stuff that winners do and leave the court chest-first? What you saw Friday night in Game 3 was Celtic Basketball, a team effort led by defense, the kind of ball the TD Garden crowd feared was lost like Ray Allen‘s jumper. And now, after Celtics 101, Heat 91, here comes the question everyone wants answered:

Can the Celtics make this a series? Really?

“We’re not satisfied with just one win,” Rajon Rondo said.

Well, if that means extending the Heat to six games, then yeah, they can make it a series. Of course. That’s possible. They’ll have to turn Dwyane Wade into a zombie a few more times before anyone will believe they can reach the NBA Finals. But for now, let’s just say the Eastern Conference finals received a smidgen of suspense, all because coach Doc Rivers rolled the dice on his thin bench and the Celtics led by Kevin Garnett showed up collectively to finally draw blood from Miami.

KG, Paul Pierce and Rondo combined for 68 points. They all took their turns doing damage at various stages of the game. And the bench, the same crew that combined for nine points and four rebounds in Game 2 (that’s four quarters plus a five-minute overtime) was massive Friday, getting 19 and 14, with Marquis Daniels looking large.

“Everyone who came off the bench contributed for us,” said Rivers. “Our bench played tonight.”

That’s how the Celtics can extend this best-of-seven, by collecting bits and pieces from several sources, not just Rondo with a little Pierce and KG tossed in. They need rebounds (they took 44 to Miami’s 32), they need defense and they need depth. They lack the legs to get into a sprint with LeBron and Wade and, if the game is close, Miami has more closers and three-point shooters.

Of course, the Celtics do have Rondo, who wasn’t 44-point Rondo but sure looked as tough in the final five minutes when the Celtics began to wobble. Rondo took control, scored eight of his 21 points (he added 10 assists and six rebounds) and the entire building exhaled.

“He stabilized us,” said Rivers.

It was a game the Celtics had to have, much like the Thunder had to beat the Spurs when the West shifted to Oklahoma City. The notion of the Celtics possibly getting swept was nonsense anyway; that’s not showing the proper respect for a veteran team and a solid coach. Besides, Miami isn’t that good. The Heat can’t go a best-of-seven without laying an egg. They did against Indiana, and the Pacers don’t have Boston’s enormous pride.

And yet, pride will only take the Celtics so far. Like, six games, tops. Unless you think their bench has a few more games like this.

19 Comments

  1. charron says:

    ayyyy go boston

  2. BlaqDan says:

    “…came up empty this week in Miami…”? Seriously? You can tell Shaun Powell is a big Heat fan. Not that it’s bad to be a heat fan, but aren’t these writers supposed to be less biased? Or at least not biased to the point that they sound like the average fan. Pushing the game to overtime and loosing only because of two mis-calls is not coming up short. Celtics were leading more than half of game 2. Which game was he watching?

  3. Good luck for the celtics from a bulls fan!

  4. Me says:

    Honestly Shaun pls stop writing anything pertaining to celtics, you are the most biased writer on this site. Once I read the article I just knew it had to be you. And are you trying to appeal to the celtics fans as well as the heat fans with that last paragraph and the one before it; cos you diss Heat at first talkin about they are not all that (although, I actually agree with that) and then insinuating that celtics and their ”pride” wouldn’t be enough (this, I totally disagree with)?

  5. 18 says:

    Let us know how these words taste after you eat them Shaun.

  6. spelkey55 says:

    As usual these blogs are bogus! Even the tv guys on ESPN acknowledged the refs stealing the game from the C’s and handing it to Miami on a silver platter! Game 3 was an example of what happens when a game is called almost right the C’s will win. You bloggers crack me up! LOL

  7. Belizeboy says:

    So can Miami fans complain about the refs now like most the Celtic fans have been doing? lol. I won’t complain and make excuses like they did. Our offense got started way to late and we lost. I doubt the Celtics win the next game though.

  8. Arwin the Loser says:

    Lets go Celtics!

  9. Mike C says:

    Where are all the Miami trash talkers today? There the first ones to post how great they are when the homecourt refs are blatantly rigging the game in the heats favor. Telling all Celtics fans to stop whining about how ridiculous NBA officiating has become. Then when the officials actually (amazingly) call a fair game, their team gets blown out of the gym. The Heat cannot beat this team without the refs help, thats a FACT. But dont worry Miami fans, Stern wants your team in the finals, so I’m sure he’ll have his lacky’s back to their cheating ways very soon. Heaven forbid Bron, Bron & Wade dont get to the foul line 30 times a game. Its the only way they can get wins.

  10. Vrapz says:

    Powell did stern paid u?Are u watchin the game?

    • Me says:

      he doesn’t need Stern’s money, haters don’t need money to go on with their job…

  11. MrBigShot says:

    NIce article, but you just had to ruin the moment by reminding Celtics fans that the Celtics still have no chance to win this series! Quack!

  12. EastFinals34 says:

    Shaun Powell really doesn’t like Boston\s chance to win this series. I thought journalists are supposed to be fair?

    • Me says:

      Indeed, he is very biased and not just in this article, but in every single article HE WRITES about this series or Celtics in general….maybe we could boycott him or something, and get Sekou to take over or better yet for every shady article he writes about Celtics, someone else could write one up to override it.

  13. Go celtics let’s go all the way yeah!!!! Celtics in 7. Yeah!!!!!!

  14. bu says:

    Celtics in Games 2 & 3 clearly showed that they know & have been able to slow down 1 of the Big 2 & make them a jump shooting team. The issue is they hv to sustain this intensity for 46.5 mins / game in order to beat the Heat. Both games 2 & 3 saw lapses & carelessness by a number of Celtics’ players & thus, lost game 2 which they should’ve won (despite the 4 bad calls in a row towards the end against the Celtics).

    I guess they are humans afterall, so we cannot expect every player to sustain 48 min intensity & do everything right. Like the bad defensive plays from Stiesma on pick & roll leaving too much space, Pietrus fouling unnecessary & far away from basket, mental lapses on long outlet & transition D (Ray Allen a few times)

    but the game 2 49 vs 29 free throws disparity & the touch fouls & 4 technicals in game 1 on the Celtics made many of us think conspiracy. that was bad refereeing. hope they get it right, & both team battle it out on even terms & the more willing team with best efforts & smarts wins.

    • BlaqDan says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Those technical foul calls made no sense and the missed foul call when Rondo got smacked in the head won the game for the Heat. I know they can’t get all the calls, but you can’t miss such an obvious call at such a crucial point of the game. There’s no excuse for that. Game 3′s calls were a lot more even and the Heat couldn’t capitalize on free throw points. I didn’t see any missed call at a crucial moment that handed the Celtics the win (not that it would’ve mattered; the lead was too large at the end and neither LBJ nor DWade could have been relied on to win a close game like game 3).

  15. Paulo says:

    C’mon, saying the Celtics came off empty in Miami is a little too strong. True for Game 1, but in Game 2 they put up a tremendous fight, falling only in OT. Yes, they blew a strong lead, but Miami and the refs gotta have some credit too… Let’s say the Celtics win next Sunday and make it 2-2. Don’t you think they can make another “Game 2-like” performance and this time get to WIN? This series is far from over…

    • Me says:

      Exactly. Do not listen to Shaun, he is very one-sided on anything pertaining to the Celtics