The Celtics we saw last night could win the NBA title
The Celtics played their best D of the season last night.
It's possible this year's edition of the Boston Celtics really is as bad as they've looked recently. It's possible that they'll never play another game all season like they did last night at the Garden. But, the team we saw yesterday against Indiana was a team capable of winning the NBA Championship.
For the first time since mid May, Boston played with the starting lineup (Garnett, Bass, Pierce, Bradley, Rondo) that proved to be one of the best in the league last spring. Rajon Rondo was unstoppable; getting to the rim at will with lightning quickness and hitting a variety of spectacular layups and scoop shots. Kevin Garnett buried 20 footers like he always has. Paul Pierce was draining his un-guardable fall away jumper, and pulling down hard fought rebounds in traffic. Avery Bradley seemed to be everywhere at once without the ball, and the C's as a whole put together the type of rotating team defensive effort we've been accustomed to in the past; holding the Pacers to just 31.8% shooting from the floor.
The bench depth that was supposed to be one of the Celtics biggest strengths was finally apparent. Led by Jared Sullinger's toughness and rebounding (10), and Courtney Lee's energy and athleticism (13 points on 6-9 shooting), Boston was able to dominate despite no starter playing more than 30 minutes (Rondo and Sullinger led the team with 30, Pierce played 29, and Garnett only 24, although he was ejected).
Last night was one of those games when everything just clicked for the C's. Who knows how often they will be able to duplicate that effort, but when they do they can beat anybody.