Paul Pierce: ’We ain’t coming back to L.A.’
Last night’s game was epic in so many ways. The Celtics, one loss away from giving the Lakers a commanding series lead - one that would likely end up allowing them to win in six games - woke up and decided to try to win. So, they did. But, the refs did their part to make sure it wasn’t so simple as one team outperforming the other. They took Kobe out of the game by handing him five fouls, and yet simultaneously allowed him to not foul on a play late in the game that would have been called a foul on any other player on the court and sent the Lakers to the free throw line 15 more times than Boston despite the fact that the Celtics took 19 more two-point field goal attempts. That makes sense ... (pause) not.
Those numbers were skewed a little by the typical end-of-game nonsense too once the victor has been decided or once the team behind has to start jacking up threes. At the end of three quarters, the Lakers had taken 37 free throws compared to just 14 for Boston, despite the C’s having taken taken 12 more shots total and and 10 more twos. It’s head-scratching stuff, expect for when you realize NBA refs are the worst professional officials around and are possibly involved with the mafia. It might seem amazing that if you look at the total fouls that each team ended up with 29 at closing time, but the savvy NBA fan knows the refs even things out to make it seem like it’s not their fault that one team wins over the other, when, in fact, it sometimes is. Fortunately it wasn’t on Sunday night.
On top of the refs, Shelden Williams produced one of the worst playoff sabotage performance I’ve ever seen. Ever. The guy had two turnovers, two fouls, a rebound, and a missed shot in four minutes of burn. I’m not sure that even tells the story. He was as bad as any player I’ve ever seen in a big game. He literally cost the Celtics all the momentum they had built up while Ray Allen was busy scorching the net in the first half. Don’t be surprised to see Brian "Shoot it, Scal!" Scalabrine dress over Williams the rest of the series after that performance. Shelden is actually the team’s best rebounder, statistically, but there’s no way he can see the court again in the series. He was worse than this "ionic" speech.
(Side note, the mayor’s office just sent out a press release about a "Pep Conference" tomorrow during which Menino, Celtics Co-Owners Wyc Grousbeck and Bob Epstein, Celtics President Rich Gotham, Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell, TD Garden President John Wentzell, Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis, MBTA General Manager Richard Davey, and Celtics Mascot LUCKY [who doesn’t belong in that group??] will try to encourage drunken fools/fans to celebrate responsibly - that means no riots, guys.)
Yet, when it came time to win the game, the Celtics, and particularly Rajon Rondo, did just that. Rondo hit a huge jumper from about 18 feet, a shot that was and will remain wide open, and his key rebounding helped take the onus off the suddenly 97-years-old Kevin Garnett (he has to be hurt, right?).
Then, with with 1:12 left in the fourth quarter, after another nice attack of the basket more or less iced the game, Paul Pierce yelled, "We ain’t coming back to L.A." Check the video .
He may not have written the tweets about breaking out the brooms against Orlando, but he definitely winked after saying the Celtics planned to "close it out" in Boston (how is that different from the brooms comment?). He also just blatantly told the world he expects to win all three games in Boston. I hope he’s right, but just like against Orlando, I think he’ll be wrong.
Instead, two out of three sounds about right. Green 18 will just have to wait ... until Game 6.