Three things we learned Sunday:
How to make a statement
The Celtics have played some of the best basketball in the NBA since the
All-Star break, but none of those wins – or any wins this season – have
been as convincing as their 91-72 victory over the Heat on Sunday
After the C’s jumped out to an early first quarter lead, the Heat
climbed back and trailed 49-44 at the half. But the third quarter was
all Celtics, as they outscored the Heat 31-12. It all but sealed the
victory for the C’s who cruised in the fourth. Yes, the Celtics are now
officially a team you don’t want to mess with.
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Guard play is the key
A game on national television against the Heat equals one thing . . .
Rajon Rondo domination. We saw it right off the bat in the first
quarter, as Rondo drove and converted baskets in the lane, while also
being the most active player on the boards.
How does a stat line of 16 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds sound?
That’s the 18th triple-double of his career, 14 of which have come on
national TV. And don’t forget Avery Bradley, either. Filling in again
for Ray Allen, Bradley again showed his patented defense with a massive
second-quarter block on Dwyane Wade.
The need to build momentum
Sunday’s win was obviously big, but if the Celtics don’t use it as
momentum going forward, it won’t mean much a week from now.
Next up is the Spurs on Wednesday, followed by a back-to-back on the
road against the Bulls and Pacers over the weekend. Easter Sunday will
see the C’s host the 76ers in a big division game. All of these games
are important, but the Celtics should no longer be counted out of any
game. By the end of the season, maybe we won’t all be so surprised at an
outcome like Sunday’s.