During a late timeout, Kevin Garnett lost his scruples, as they say. Carmelo Anthony had not been himself for the entire game, but rather God disguised as Carmelo Anthony, and when he drilled a fadeaway three-pointer with Paul Pierce inside his jersey Garnett had seen enough. “I’ve got him! I’ve got him!” he screamed.
Doc Rivers quickly approached, telling Garnett something to the affect of, “Umm, you’re a power forward, man. I know you’d rather kill your own child than watch Carmelo win this game, but Carmelo is Pierce’s assignment.” Carmelo’s performance had inspired irrational thoughts, but Garnett only wanted to win. He never did get the chance to shut down Carmelo, but still did enough by himself to lead the Celtics to a 2-0 series lead.
With the Celtics trailing by one and 19.2 seconds left, Doc Rivers didn’t bother with an intricate play. He just told his team to get the ball to Garnett and watch him backhand Jared Jeffries in the post. Jeffries had no chance. When a loose ball (which Garnett caused) on New York’s next possession stood between Boston and the win, Garnett dove on the floor, called timeout, and predictably celebrated by shouting the eff-word repeatedly.
Shifting gears, Rajon Rondo never should have gone unmentioned until the fourth paragraph. He took over, in ways he hadn’t since early in the regular season, attacking the rim, putting New York’s defense on its heels, driving to score rather than to pass, with the mindset of an assassin rather than that of an altar boy. Toney Douglas had no shot to stop him and I’m not sure any point guard would have, not with the way Rondo continued to press the turbo button in transition.
The game never should have been so close. Not with Amare Stoudemire sitting in the locker room receiving treatment for back spasms. Not with Chauncey Billups on the bench wearing a suit. Not with God—I mean, Carmelo—surrounded by four animal crackers. Not with the way Rondo played, the way Ray Allen shot, and the way Paul Pierce came to life.
But it’s playoff time, and a win’s a win. The Celtics will need to play better. They’ll need Jermaine O’Neal’s wrist to be okay. They’ll need more bench production. They’ll need Jeff Green to arrive to the playoffs, and they’ll need to continue executing in crunch time. But 2-0 is 2-0, even if neither of the wins were perfect.
Lastly, I’m still wondering about Mike D’Anoni’s clock management. No, D’Anoni wasn’t a typo. He never has any “T’s” when he needs them.