As long as Rajon Rondo doesn’t have to shoot with the game on the line, he’s good money. We’ve constantly heard that the Celtics’ point guard is the John Nash – the genius – of the NBA. Maybe he just really is that smart. The dude fouls the Sixers up three, and then watches as Lou Williams botches it by making both instead of missing the second. Then, Doc draws up a spectacular play and Rondo runs into the backcourt all alone for a touchdown. Evan Turner couldn’t catch him for a foul, and that was that. Rondo bamboozled Philly’s whole team; Game 1 to Boston, 92-91. Rondo was just on a completely different level for his eighth career playoff triple-double (13 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists, four steals). All you need to do is check out his second half line to know Rondo wasn’t about to let Boston lose; He had 11 points, nine dimes and eight boards in the second half alone. There was a huge stretch in the fourth where Rondo hit two jumpers, tipped out a couple of offensive rebounds, and then dropped off a scoop pass to KG for a three-point play. Now that he’s actually making jumpers every once in a while, all we need from him is to drop the Vince Carter complex down the stretch and not look like a 12-year-old about to get his first kiss whenever he has to shoot with the game on the line. The kid was balling so hard he even told David Aldridge off in the postgame interview. But it wasn’t only Rondo who was doing work … Kevin Garnett is now officially something out of the Alien Vs. Predator movie. He had 29 points and 11 rebounds, including nine points, four boards, one steal and one block on 4-for-5 shooting in the fourth, and was also getting into Spencer Hawes‘ head. Even that was so necessary in this one as Hawes (15 points, eight rebounds) was frolicking around out there like an all-grown up Bambi. … Amazingly, on the season, the Celtics were 1-22 in games where they fell behind by at least 13 points. Guess what? Philly led by 13 before a 10-2 spurt from Boston narrowed the gap at the end of the first 24 … Early on, someone in Boston forgot to tell all of the Celtic fans that this is the playoffs. The arena felt like everyone was watching a horror movie, and honestly, the way the Celtics started, you could’ve fooled us. Everyone knew this would be an ugly game, and an ugly series. But no one thought it’d be Uma Thurman for them. They were down 10 at the end of the first quarter with Philly dominating in paint points, second chance points and fast-break points. The most exciting play anyone in white made was a failed alley-oop attempt from Ryan Hollins where the string bean nearly turned himself into a YouTube sensation (and not in a good way) … Thaddeus Young hurt his ankle in the first half because he ran into a cameraman. As you know, these cameras guys have been sitting this close ever since Pat Ewing was drenching them with sweat. You’d think enough twisted ankles and enough instances of Dennis Rodman kneeing dudes in the balls would get Stern to act or find some way to make this thing more safe for the players. No, he’s too busy vetoing trades … Keep reading to hear who won Game 7 for the Lakers …
“We blame coaches for some of these sorry ass players way too much.” Charles Barkley was saying that just before the start of the first Game 7 the year. The Lakers must’ve heard him. In their 96-87 win over the Nuggets to advance past the first round, Pau Gasol (23 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, four blocks) and Andrew Bynum (16 points, 18 boards, six blocks) combined for 20 offensive rebounds while Steve Blake (19 points) and Metta World Peace (15 points) combined for nine triples. The first half started perfectly for the Lakers. We couldn’t remember the last time we’d seen Gasol play with so much visible emotion and outward energy. He was HYPED. The Lakers’ pregame speech must’ve consisted of Kobe killing someone. After about 30 seconds of play, Gasol had already surpassed his output from Game 6. You know, we’d love to say this was a good thing, but the dude was such a bum in Denver that it really can’t be. Along with Bynum – who had three blocks in the first quarter in an effort to tell Kobe to “STFU” – the Lakers were pounding the interior. But Ty Lawson (24 points) hit his first four shots of the game. Since when did this dude become Allen Iverson? Actually, that’s a dumb comparison. Iverson actually missed shots … In the middle parts of the game, Denver’s half-court offense bascially turned into “Get it to Lawson or Afflalo and let them make some miraculous jump shot while JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov run around and do stupid things.” By the way, who caught McGee getting PISSED at Mozgov for offensively goal-tending a shot and making McGee (14 rebounds, five blocks) miss out on two points? Basically, Mozgov got an earful after he “McGee’d” McGee. We couldn’t stop laughing about this … The third quarter is where it really opened up for L.A. Two World Peace triples finished off a 18-4 run dating back to the second quarter to put the Lakers up 62-46. For MWP to come back off suspension and have the impact he did was big time. Don’t forget, besides the shooting, he turned Danilo Gallinari and Andre Miller into cement statues, rather than cement statues who could actually make shots. His also sometimes-annoying habit of hounding rebounders subtly halted Denver’s fast break … Almost immediately after the Lakers opened up the big lead, Denver came screaming back. Suddenly, it went from Durant and Westbrook giving each other that look in-between games of Saturday night CoD and saying, “Okay, get ready for Kobe” to Nuggets fans everywhere pre-jizzing all over their remotes. In the fourth quarter, Denver was finally getting contributions from people other than their starting backcourt, while the Lakers were relying on timely triples from… MWP and Blake? Yep, they still had it rolling. Finally, what can we say about Gasol in the fourth quarter? His repeated offensive rebounds probably won it for L.A. as the home team took over the paint in the final five minutes … And who caught that final, epic end-of-game sequence? Bynum might be the only player in the world to commit a frustration foul as he’s about to win a playoff series (and almost destroy JaVale’s shoulder in the process). And then McGee is DEFINITELY the only one in the world who would attempt to dunk his own free throw in a Game 7 … We’re out like the Nuggets.
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