You’d never notice from his facial expressions or demeanor but Rajon Rondo led his Celtics against the 76ers to secure a spot in the eastern conference finals. Rondo’s triple-double (18pts, 10reb, 10ast) along with solid contributions from his teammates led Boston to a 85-75 game 7 victory over Philadelphia to punch their ticket in the east finals. The Celtics were in a difficult position late in the 4th quarter after Paul Pierce fouled out but Rondo put the team on his back, Ray Allen added a couple 3s late to fend off any attempt of a comeback by the 76ers. Rondo was very un-Rondo late the 4th quarter scoring a 3-pointer AND making two clutch free throws. The 76ers lacked offensive efficiency the entire game, only leading for a few minutes in the first quarter and coming within a bucket early in the 4th. The Boston crowd seemed to affect the Sixers at times as they were waiting for any positive Celtics play to explode into a cheer. Now the Celtics have to turn around and take their talents to South Beach.
Down here in Texas it wasn’t easy for the Spurs to fight off the Thunder and defend their home court. The Spurs used their defense and their veteran experience to frustrate the Thunder in the 4th quarter and take a 1-0 series lead in the western conference finals. It looked for a while during last night’s game that the Thunder’s speed and youth would be too much for the aging Spurs but San Antonio used defense and great possessions on offense to secure the win. Oklahoma City was up by as many as 9 in the 4th quarter but they failed to execute on offense. Give tons of credit to Spurs forward Stephen Jackson and his lock down defense that kept Kevin Durant cold from the field down the stretch. I think most people can agree that this series won’t be as easy for the Spurs as most thought. Both teams will make adjustments and this series already looks like the makings of a classic.
Game 1: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
8:30ET (series tied at 0)
The Celtics facing Dwyane Wade and/or LeBron James just seems inevitable at this point. Last season’s playoffs has Miami winning in 5 but in this regular season Boston took 3 of 4. Players on both sides will dismiss those facts but they do set up for a nice series that if it doesn’t last, it will at least have plenty of drama. Are the Celtics too tired and too old? When will Bosh return? When will LeBron’s inevitable meltdown begin? Maybe it’s because I don’t like the Heat (mostly because of the ’06 Finals) but I think this series will last longer than most think. So for now I’ll cheer alongside Freep and his green men. I’m just hoping for a memorable series.