By K.J. Cardinal
Anna really hit the nail on the head with her key to yesterday's Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Lakers. Defense and depth were huge factors in the amazing come-from-behind victory, but she admits there was another "D" that she may have overlooked.
Yesterday I wrote "I know I have been ultra-critical of Doc all season long, knocking his annoying 12-man rotation, but that could actually bail the Celts out as they try to fight through these bumps in the road."
Well, not only was the depth huge because of Doc's deep rotation, but he also pushed all the right buttons last night.
Don't get me wrong, I love Rondo more than the next guy (I even have a Rondo jersey t-shirt), but Doc did the right thing by sitting him and giving Eddie House (not Cassell) a lot of minutes. Eddie helped spaced the floor and hit some big shots in the second half.
Doc also did well managing KG's foul trouble, spelling him with just enough Leon Powe to keep the C's in the game, and going "small" with a line up of House, Allen, Pierce, Posey and KG proved to be a winning combination.
The first half was a disaster all around and I won't even get into that, but the team came out with such defensive intensity for the second half. It was remarkable.
I am so happy for Pierce. He stepped up at the half and said, "I want Kobe." Who does that? Who wants to defend the best player in the league? Especially when you're down by 20+ points on the road. I mean, nothing good could come of that, right? Wrong.
Pierce hiked his shorts up and buckled down to play some good old fashioned defense. It was really quite a sight. I think just the message he sent to Doc and the rest of the team at the half was probably the turning point of the game. The fact that Pierce didn't have any quit in him and knew that the only way to get back in the game was on the defensive end was very impressive. He's come such a long way.
An attitude like that is why I loved Antoine so much. He was a leader. Sure those teams weren't very good, but Antoine always said and did the right things when it came to leading his ball club. Pierce was always the guy behind the guy.
Paul seemed to hate to take charge, which is why the C's struggled after Antoine left. It wasn't because Toine was a Hall of Fame caliber player by any means, but it just exposed Pierce's weakness of being a poor leader. Well, that all changed last night.
Selfless acts like volunteering to defend the best player in the league is what Celtic legends are made of. With one more win, Paul will solidify himself with some BIG names. Russell, Bird, Cousy, Havlicek and Pierce?! That's what I think one more win would do for Paul. Amazing.
I can't believe MY BOSTON CELTICS are one win away from a title. It's insane. I know this is "The Cardinal Blog" and is supposed to be about my family, but the Celtics have always been and will always be a big part of my family.
Don't believe me? You're crazy. About 10 minutes following last night's game, my Dad called me and said "I just wanted you to know that I'm still awake! I told Mom after the first quarter, I'm staying up for this one because they're gonna win this game!"
It was the perfect way to cap an amazing night. One more baby. BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!