Saturday, May 29, 2010
5/29/2010 11:06:00 AM | Posted by Jacob Noble | Edit Post
"It's ok, you can touch the trophy"
"Obviously, one is special," coach Doc Rivers said. "But the other groups have a couple, and we would love to join that club. No one can ever take away that first one, but we want to join the other club, too."
The league's most-decorated franchise avoided the biggest playoff collapse in NBA history and earned a chance to hang an unprecedented 18th championship banner from the rafters, beating Orlando 96-84 on Friday night to eliminate the Magic in six games and advance to the NBA Finals.
Pierce had 31 points and 13 rebounds, and little-used backup Nate Robinson gave the Celtics a boost with 13 second-quarter points to squelch Orlando's attempt to be the first NBA team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series.
"This starting five has never lost a series, ever," Rivers said. "We believed that coming into the season, and we just kept believing."
The Boston fans have been chanting "Beat L.A.!" since Game 3, when the Celtics cruised to a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals. Orlando won the next two games and threatened to become the first team ever in the NBA -- but the second in Boston this month -- to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series.
"I never really think negative about losing, or being up 3-0 and something tragic happening," said Pierce, who was the MVP of the '08 Finals. "This is not hockey. It's basketball. Even though one day it's possibly going to happen, ... I'm just glad we were able to prolong it one more year."
"Those guys played like they wanted to win the championship the whole series," said Dwight Howard, who had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the defending East champions. "That's why they're in the position they're in now."
"Nate Robinson was huge in the first half," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That was a huge, huge lift for them."
"They beat two very good teams, and made us look like we weren't very good teams," Van Gundy said. "When you go through two series like that, I think you have to be fair and say a lot has to do with them."
Rondo hit the court hard and was slow to get up after he was fouled by Jason Williams late in the final minute of the first quarter. He stayed in the game and hit both free throws. ... The Celtics are 9-2 against the Los Angeles and Minneapolis Lakers in the Finals. The Celtics and Suns have met once in the Finals, when Boston won 4-2 in 1976. ... Celtics F Rasheed Wallace left the game in the fourth quarter with back spasms and did not return. He had no points -- shooting 0 for 5 -- and three rebounds in 12 minutes. ... Glen "Big Baby" Davis returned to the court just two days after a scary concussion left him staggering around the court in Game 5 and scored six points with seven rebounds in 18 minutes. He entered the game to a standing ovation and left to another. - ESPN
What else can I say except the Celtics handled their business. No one in that locker room is surprised but these playoff outcomes. The starting five of Rondo-Allen-Pierce-Garnett-Perkins is undefeated in playoff series. They plan to keep it that way with whoever they end up playing against in the Finals.
The only thing I keep thinking about is Kevin's knee prevented a possible 3 straight Lakers/Celtics finals. As the Celtics look to get their 2nd ring with this group and 18th for the franchise, they will have a much needed rest for the guys who got banged up. However, rest can sometimes be a bad thing, ie: Orlando, who swept through the first two rounds before getting punched in the jaw by the Celtics.
Nate was huge in this game and helped push the lead to 20 points but more importantly giving Rondo time to loosen his back up. The Magic will have another off season to figure out what went wrong. When you have a Max Contract player in Rashard Lewis only putting up 8 points per game in a series, you have problems. The Celtics shut down Jameer in Game 6 and that was the difference maker. - PBT