Under Doc Rivers, the Celtics were 8-0 in Game 5s when the series had been tied 2-2. They're now 9-0 in such games. They've won in South Beach, and now all the pressure is on LeBron and the Heat. And as we know, LeBron is allergic to pressure.
Outside of Boston and the Celtics' locker room, not many people thought the Celtics could win this game. But they did. Top to bottom, they played better than the Heat. And late in the game, they didn't make mistakes, and the Heat didn't make big plays. The Heat were never able to shake the Celtics in this game and the C's ended up on top.
The Celtics won this game despite a struggling Rajon Rondo. He only scored 7, shot 3 for 15, turned the ball over 5 times. His teammates picked him up. He managed 13 assists. Even though he struggled and he made some unwise fouls, late in the game he didn't screw up. He had a poor game, didn't do much to help the Celtics win, but he didn't let himself cause them to lose.
Garnett was the rock for the Celtics during most of the game. He finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds. His 14th double-double of this postseason.
Ray Allen didn't do much from the field, but he sank all 8 of his free throws. Brandon Bass scored 10. Off the bench, Mikael Pietrus was huge. He scored 13. 6 of which came from a pair of big three-pointers in the 4th.
The most clutch performer of the game was Paul Pierce. He's always been recognized as a premier player in the NBA, but now he's being recognized (nationally) as one of the best big moment players in recent memory. He made the shots in the 4th quarter, made the passes, made the smart plays. You rarely see him look out of control or out of his element. He's ice.
And as a sidenote, the refs called a pretty fair game. The Celtics shot more free throws (27 of them, hitting 22), than the Heat, and each team had the same number of personal fouls (21).
The Celtics bring the series back to Boston with a lead. You have to like their chances. Bosh doesn't look healthy. James and Wade had very good games last night, but the Heat still lost. If Rondo shows up, KG gets another double-double, and Pierce is clutch, then it's difficult to imagine this series returning to Florida.
Game 6 Thursday night in Boston.