NBA: Celtics with some positive ID, LeBron in the rafters

Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Jared Sullinger made some positive strides over the weekend.

Who are the Boston Celtics?

Well, much to the dismay of our instant gratification society, we likely won’t know until Valentine’s Day at the earliest.

Identity is a funny thing in sports. The Patriots are halfway through their 2012 season and their offense claims it does not yet have an offensive identity despite leading the league in several key statistical categories. The Celtics, despite having reserves Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger look like an unholy, latter-day pairing of James Worthy and Kevin McHale in the preseason, haven’t even scratched the surface on what they will ultimately become in 2012-13.

Late in Boston’s 89-86 victory over the Wizards in D.C. Saturday, we may have gotten our first tiny hint, however. The Celtics displayed one of the most important traits an NBA team can show, that being the ability to close.

Jason Terry looked like the better version of Ray Allen that had been discussed ad nauseam since July as he calmly made two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining to ensure the Celtics of at least overtime. Sullinger got the starting nod at the 4. Green led the Boston bench with 11 points.

All of this came 24 hours after the Celtics were embarrassed in their home opener against the Bucks.

“When you lose two games in a row and you play as poorly as we played (Friday night), you’re either going to come out with great intensity or we’re still going to be thinking about (the night before) and get down 20,” C’s head coach Doc Rivers told ESPN about Boston’s fast start Saturday night. “That cushion won the game for us.”

Ridiculous rafters in Miami

The Miami Heat already hang banners inside American Airlines Arena honoring former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan and former football player Dan Marino. They are now using up space in their relatively open rafters to honor LeBron James’ gold medal in this past summer’s Olympic games.

“To have a banner go up for the United States of America, you’re not just representing the respective city that you’re in or a team,” James told ESPN. “You’re representing everybody in America.”

This isn’t the first time the Heat have honored gold medal winners. Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway each have gold medal banners hanging in the arena.


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