Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Five thoughts from Game 6 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 29, 2010

Paul Pierce

Say it with me, Celtics fans:

BEAT L.A.!!!!!!!!

BEAT L.A.!!!!!!!!

BEAT L.A.!!!!!!!!

Don’t worry about the Phoenix Suns getting in the way of the dream matchup like the Houston Rockets did in 1986. David Stern is in charge of the NBA, and he’ll make sure that the league’s television partners get a rematch of the 2008 Finals that will have basketball fans buzzing from coast-to-coast. Kobe Bryant and his fellow adulterers just have to punch their collective ticket after Boston took out Orlando, 96-84, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night.

The Lakers will be waiting to host Boston sometime late next week when The Finals begin. Mark that down and take it to the bank. There’s no way that Los Angeles will miss its chance to atone for the 4-2 loss that it suffered while the Celtics earned the right to hang Banner 17. There was the little matter of dispatching the Magic that had to come first, and Boston did it with ease at The Fake Garden. Let’s check out our final five thoughts before we officially shift into championship mode.

— We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again – Paul Pierce is still an absolute killer. The Truth struck for game highs in points (31) and rebounds (13) in 45 brilliant minutes that continued to cement his legacy as one of the greatest Celtics of them all. Another ring is almost mandatory considering the winning done by legends like Russell, Bird, Cousy, Heinsohn and Havlicek, but Pierce is even more firmly planted in that conversation after Friday night. His remarkable offensive efficiency also has to be taken into account. Pierce took just 15 shots while rolling to his total, a lesson for ball hogs – ahem, volume shooters – who think they can win anything playing that way. Let’s hope The Captain has enough left in the tank to battle Kobe one more time.

— Pierce wasn’t the only player in the series to add to his legend – Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis did as well, but not quite for the same reasons. Both Orlando forwards were disappointing dogs throughout the Magic’s elimination and things didn’t change on Friday, as Carter (17 points on 6-for-15 shooting) and Lewis (seven points in 41 minutes on 3-for-11 shooting) both came up small when their team needed them most. This isn’t a surprise, but it’s still disgraceful. These two players don’t deserve the chance at playing for a championship, never mind actually winning one.

— Boston’s guards finally found a way to contain Jameer Nelson. Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson made Nelson wish he stayed with Mickey and Minnie instead of making the trip north, humbling the Philly native by forcing him to endure a team-worst minus-23 effort, a 5-for-14 night from the field that included just 1-for-5 from 3-point range and a game-high five turnovers. Rondo poured in 12 of his 14 points in an aggressive opening quarter that set the tone for the night and Robinson set a new playoff career high with 13 points off the bench.

— With Nelson limited, Orlando’s 3-point shooting went south. The Magic were just 6-for-22 from beyond the arc, reverting to their form through the first three games when they went 20-for-70 and lost three straight. Boston’s defense held Orlando to a pair of 19-point quarters on Friday, including the opening 12 minutes where the Celtics built a 30-19 lead. The Magic never recovered.

— Ron Jeremy – sorry, Stan Van Gundy – needs to explain his rotation in Game 6. Five minutes for Brandon Bass after the difference he made during victories in the previous two games? Ten minutes for Marcin Gortat, a $50-million player, while Boston was building a 45-35 advantage on the boards? Twelve minutes for Mickael Pietrus while Pierce was lighting up Carter and Matt Barnes? Ridiculous. It all helps explain why Stan and his brother, Jeff, will be able to share a courtside seat while watching Boston play in The Finals for the 21st time.

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