“General, the news from the front is not good. The enemy has completely smashed our right flank and they are moving to encircle us as we speak. We thought we had an edge going in but the enemy brought more spirit and energy to the fight and we couldn’t stand up to that barrage. Our best divisions proved ineffective and our reserves have not been able to plug the holes. They have exploited all of our weaknesses and we have no option left but to surrender.”
In a nutshell, that is the redacted intelligence report given to Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy this morning. Folks, the Celtics have simply crushed Van Gundy’s army.
Pardon the expression, but game three of the Eastern Conference Finals was basketball’s version of a bitch slap. There really isn’t a whole lot more to say. Boston came out bursting with energy and urgency while Orlando took one punch and cried No Mas! Simply put, Boston outworked Orlando, Boston outhustled Orlando and Boston out-executed Orlando. And by the end of the first quarter, the game and series were over. The End
The theme of the night is “Boston broke Orlando’s will,” but there are a few things noting ……
* Rajon Rondo may have had the best 4-14 night in NBA history. I don’t think he made a shot after the eighteen minute mark ( maybe one) but he played a central role in the demolition. His runner over Howard at the end of the first quarter sent a strong message that this was Boston’s night. And his ridiculous effort to track down a loose ball, dive on the floor, scoop it away from Jason Williams, and turn it into two points, was the equivalent of a devastating over-hand right cross. Throw in twelve assists, a couple of big rebounds and a complete wipeout of Jameer Nelson and Rondo moved another inch closer to the “top point guard” throne. It is actually frightening to think what he will do to Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmer. Frightening.
* Paul Pierce’s effort in this series makes me think about a scene from Forrest Gump when Lt. Dan comes to Forest’s wedding walking upright. “Lt Dan, you have new legs ….. “ It looks like Pierce has new legs as well and he used them last night to collect plenty of rebounds and loose balls. Rondo is getting all the attention but Pierce has played awfully well during this six game winning streak.
* And so has Big Baby. He was a monster last night and it seems like Orlando just doesn’t have any answer for Baby’s energy. I’m curious how Baby will do against LA’s length. That doesn’t look like a good match for Davis but he works a lot harder than those guys and that could come in handy against a guy as soft as Odom.
* It is amazing how difficult it is proving for ESPN’s John Hollinger to buy into this Celtic streak. As I tweeted last night, I haven’t seen an analyst fail this badly since Jack Grubman was upside down on the popping of the 2000 Telco bubble. It’s not just that Hollinger called this one wrong, it’s that he is so resistant to acknowledge his mistake. And last night, perhaps to make himself feel better, Hollinger was docking Boston for style points, pointing out that Rando travelled or double dribbled on THE play. That is like deducting points from Shaun White after the snowboarder wobbles following a twisting 1440.
* Bill Simmons points this out …… this Celtic reversal has some precedent. The 1978 Bullets finished their season by losing 24 of 45 and the 95 Rockets were 18-19 in their final 37. Little difference here …. The 78 Bullets beat a 52-30 Spurs team in the Eastern Semis ….. that isn’t exactly a 66-win team with Lebron.
* I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: when Boston doesn’t turn the ball over, they win. Period. Last night, they coughed it up just seven times and that left them with a 99.6 percent chance of winning. I’ll say this …. If the Celts can have four games with less than 12 turnovers versus LA, they will win their 18th NBA Championship.
* I have had it with Kendrick Perkins. The scowl and the complaining and the whinning are too much to take. He has become the Michelle Malkin of the NBA.
* It wasn’t too long ago that Jameer Nelson made an all-star game and was held up as a top-8 point guard. Well, Nelson is getting absolutely crushed this series and there are probably a few Magic fans who wished Rafer Alston was still out there.
* Is Rashard Lewis still using the flu as an excuse? Four days off evidently didn’t help Shard recover his 2009 form.
* I’ve said it all along, Boston’s best defense against Dwight Howard is to let him put the ball on the floor. No need doubling or fouling as his poor touch is as good as a turnover.
* Vince Carter …. Why bother? I’ve always thought VC was a waste. In retrospect, I think I was being too generous.