Rajon Rondo was at his dominating best, and it was a good thing: The Boston Celtics needed every one of his 10 points, 10 rebounds and 20 assists (and then some) to survive the Atlanta Hawks 88-86 in overtime, as the red hot C’s pulled even with the Hawks at 34-24 and proved that they will be one tough out come playoff time. The TD Garden was electric tonight, and the fans’ fever pitch was rewarded with a second half comeback that keeps the Celtics in supernova mode. Kevin Garnett – the same KG that many thought of as old and washed up – turned in another sterling performance, going double-double with 22 points and 12 boards before fouling out in OT.
And how about Brandon Bass? Bass carried the C’s early in the game and then played big down the stretch, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Where would we be without Bass this season? His contributions continue in the most timely of circumstances, like tonight, on the back end of back-to-back games. His legs were definitely fresher than most of his teammates tonight, at least in the early going, and he was active enough to help keep the game from getting away in that first half.
This game was a battle from the opening tip – it seems like the Hawks always play us tough, regardless of whether the game is in Atlanta or Boston – and not having Ray Allen in the lineup certainly didn’t make things any easier. (Although it did make it sweeter – the win is another example of the outstanding coaching job that Doc Rivers has done this season.) Garnett, ever the warrior, continues to flourish at the center position. But with the C’s clinging to the lead in OT, both KG and Greg Stiemsma fouled out, which would have been a major issue had the game gone to double-overtime. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, welcome back to our main man Mickael Pietrus! It was great seeing him on the floor again, and this team will become even stronger once he works himself back into his comfort zone.
Paul Pierce wasn’t particularly sharp or effective tonight, but he made several key plays at the right times. Having tomorrow off before playing the Raptors in Toronto on Friday will help the team as a whole, but it should help Pierce in particular. Hopefully he’ll have his A game, and hopefully we’ll have Ray back in the lineup as well.