The Celtics have had to go through hell and back in the month of April. Every game has been a challenge and I’m honestly surprised where they’re record is right now.
The old veterans were able to survive the back-to-back-to-back and came out winning two of the three games. They lost the Friday night game in Toronto; their second loss in Canada this year. They played down to the level of the Raptors and got really hurt on the glass. They won the next two games at New Jersey and Charlotte. Paul Pierce, Allen, and Kevin Garnett all sat out of the Charlotte game but they still came out on top. Rajon Rondo stepped up big time with 16 assists and timely buckets. Brandon Bass also chipped in with 22 points and nine boards.
The Celtics then got a much needed day off before traveling to New York to take on the Knicks on Tuesday. This might have been the worst game I’ve seen the Celtics play since the all-star break. It was a long range shooting gallery in MSG. Steve Novak and J.R. Smith came off the bench and chipped in 25 points apiece combining for 15 threes. Pierce had a game-high 43 points for the Celtics but there wasn’t enough defense to win this game with a final score of 118-110.
The Celtics took down the Magic the next night and traveled to Atlanta to take on the Hawks in what is mostly the Celtics first round opponent. Home court advantage was on the line but Doc decided to sit pretty much the entire team to trade home court for rest. Even though the Celtics were giving the Hawks the W, the JV squad put up quite a fight. Avery Bradley knew it was his time to shine and had 28 points through three quarters. Even though they were standing toe-to-toe with Atlanta, Joe Johnson and the gang pulled away at the end. It took 30 points from the Hawks best player to take down the bench players for Boston.
The Celtics have two games left: Miami and Milwaukee. They’ll probably finish in the five spot and I’d expect the starters to play limited minutes in the Miami game. They won’t play to win either of these games because their main goal is to just get to the playoffs with a healthy core group. You can bet your sweet ass that the two rookies from Purdue, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson will be seeing some serious minutes up in Milwaukee.
Also, a few side notes. Rondo has 23 straight games of 10 or more assists. He’s chasing the great Magic Johnson for that record of 44 straight games. And if Steve Novak does that discount-double-check celebration one more time then he should be banned from the NBA. He’s a great three-point shooter but a terrible overall player. BANNED!