The word on the street is this most recent economic downturn is jealous of the damage Rajon Rondo did to Cleveland this afternoon. The former may have shuttered some auto parts factories and slashed the market cap of KeyBank but the latter torpedoed the beloved Cavs and set up the possibility that this might not be the year Cleveland breaks its championship drought.
Rajon Rando simply had a monster game and one that probably gets on the list of “great” Celtic playoff performances. Yeah, I know it didn’t come in an NBA final and it may not have come in a conference final against a bitter rival, but that is about all a historian can hold against Rando’s performance. Quite simply, the guy was everywhere and doing everything. Twenty-Nine points. Eighteen Rebounds. Thirteen Assists. I mean, if he had sunk two more buckets, Rondo would have had a line that a combination of Karl Malone and John Stockton would have taken on many a night.
Quite frankly, Rondo was the best player on the court for the second time this series, but the supporting cast was excellent as well. You can accuse these Celts of many things, but the one thing they can’t be prosecuted for is being gutless. This group may be old and it was certainly complacent throughout the season, but when backed into a corner they fight. They fought throughout 2008. They fought Chicago in a death-match last year. And it now looks like they are not going down quietly in 2010.
Ray Allen certainly isn’t. He came up big today, both offensively and defensively. Glen Davis and Kevin Garnett certainly aren’t surrendering. And frigging Tony Allen may have played his best game as a Celtic today. Clearly, he isn’t ready for the off-season. This team may not be good enough to pull the upset but if they go down, I don’ think it will be because of effort or guts.
About the only blemish on today’s win comes courtesy of Paul Pierce who ghastly on both ends of the court. It is almost like he is now aging in reverse dog-years, and by that logic, he is fourteen months older than he was in March. Unfortunately, the “older” Pierce has lost his shot, is vulnerable to the turnover, and can’t move well enough to be a good ball defender or team defender. At this point, I don’t think the Celts can expect much from Pierce other than maybe some streaky shooting.
So the series now moves back to Cleveland tied and I am heartened by the fact that the Celts took a big punch in game three and yet they are still standing. I don’t know if they will win this fight but I now think it will go the distance. And if it does, I think the Celts can come out on top. I didn’t think that a week ago and I didn’t even think it after game two. But the Celts have shown me something. And that something is this team can scrap.