Saturday, May 31, 2008
BEASTS OF THE EAST
In the spring of 1987, Rajon Rondo had just turned 1 year old, and the Boston Celtics were in the NBA Finals. Now, 21 years later, Rondo and his teammates are going back to The Promised Land.
What's ironic about the Celtics 6 game triumph over Detroit in the Conference Finals is that they clinched on the road, where they had yet to win a playoff game before this series. The so-called experts predicted that the Celtics would struggle mightily in Auburn Hills. After all, if they couldn't win in Atlanta or Cleveland, how on Earth could they win in one of the toughest arenas for a visiting team to play in?
Paul Pierce once again came up huge. He had 27 points, and 8 rebounds. He led the team in both categories. Kevin Garnett started slow, with only 4 points in the 1st half. But he was clutch down the stretch, going 5 for his last 6, and winding up with 16 points. Ray Allen cooled off a bit toward the end, but still had 17 points. Rondo finished with 11. James Posey had a great night off the bench, with 4 big rebounds, a huge 3 pointer, and a pair of steals.
But the Celtics won with defense. They held Detroit to 13 points in the 4th quarter. 13 points! KG kept Rasheed in check, holding him to 4 points and 2 of 12 shooting. The Pistons shot 42.0%, and if it weren't for the obscene amount of foul shots they had early on, the game wouldn't have been as close.
And now, it's a date with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. How fitting.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
AP Photo/Paul Sancya