You never thought this would be a pretty picture, did you?
In rapid fire, here are my observations from game 5 at the Garden:
- Doc continues to run Sam Cassell out there despite his failure to mesh or contribute on either end of the court. Eddie House inexplicably sits when the offense falters due to poor spacing and slow ball movement; Eddie’s handle is mediocre, thus he shoots quickly or passes quicker–he’s a walking antidote to Boston’s problems.
- Doc’s substitutions in the second half were better than they have been since the regular season. While it’s strange that he went to Big Baby Davis in the second half after not playing him at all in the first two quarters, the portly pivot played the role of sparkplug and Rivers kept his vertically challenged big man in the game until just the right moment.
- The Celtics executed poorly inbounding the ball and getting the ball over half during the waning moments of the fourth quarter; should they continue to falter in key situations at such remedial tasks they will not advance past the Pistons or whatever beast comes out of the Western Conference, should they be lucky enough to escape with a win either Friday or Sunday against LeBrontorage.
- Paul Pierce finally showed up offensively, pacing his squad with 29 points. Pierce played great most of the night, using his strength and length to shoot over Delonte West in several different matchups, consistently getting good looks from inside the painted rectangle.
- Ray Allen was mostly outplayed by Wally Sczcerbiak, ironically the very many he was traded for along with Delonte West, this summer.
- Rajon Rondo was a revelation, dominating the game. Doc recognized his youthful point man’s play and left him in the entire third and fourth quarters, thankfully. Rondo, along with Kevin Garnett, carried the Celtics with clutch shooting, preventing the long droughts that have plagued the Green.
- KG owned the glass with 16 boards and did his typical efficiency thing on the offensive end with 26 points and 4 assists.
- The passing that made Boston so overwhelming in the regular season returned in the final 24 minutes, powering the Parquet Posse to a 21 point swing from down 14 in the first half to a 96-89 victory.
- Rajon Rondo made a nice play after the opposing big man buzzed on a pick-and-roll with KG. Instead of dribbling around the buzzing defender, as the Celtics have done 95% of the time this series, Rondo reversed his pivot foot and broke through the teeth of the defense to create space, which in turn helped open up future moves for the Kentucky product.
- Rondo also hit two clutch threes that energized the Garden and started the Celtic comback. When he consistently becomes a threat to make open shots and pull up off the dribble he’ll become an All Star. Rondo’s ETA at the halfway fame game is 2011.