Win 95-92. This team is something else. They took the Magic's best shot and survived it to take a 2-0 lead in the series. The series now moves to Boston Saturday Night at 7:30 (CT) for game 3. On ESPN. Boston looking pretty good right now, but they've got to guard against complacency in Game 3. Knowing them, they won't be complacent. Paul Pierce had 28 points. He did not have great offensive numbers against Cleveland in the last round and attributed that to playing defense on LeBron James. It just took it out of him. But he's back with a vengeance and putting up the offensive numbers. He was eight-of-16 from the field, three-of-seven from trifecta and nine-of-11 from the line. With the Celtics ahead 93-92 and 34 seconds left, Pierce was fouled on his shot by J.J. Redick–who played a great game for the Magic finishing with 16–and sank both free throws.
Then the most critical moment in the game occurred. Pierce fouled Vince Carter on Carter's shot with 31 seconds left. Pierce fouled out. Carter, an 84% free throw shooter during the regular season, missed both free throws and Glen "Big Baby" Davis grabbed the board. The Celtics held the ball till eight seconds remained and KG took a 16-foot jumper which he missed. Redick got the rebound with six seconds left, but Stan Van Gundy called timeout instead of letting the Magic play it out. That's a judgment call, but a lot of coaches will let their team run it up the court when the other team is not set in their defense and take a shot. The Magic finally called timeout with three seconds left. It was too late as Jameer Nelson could only throw up a desperation 36-footer at the end. I don't mind Van Gundy calling timeout, coaches play it different ways. Redick was thinking his team was going to run it up the floor though and get a shot. The the timeout didn't get in till three seconds left. I didn't see if Van Gundy was signaling for a timeout right when Redick got the rebound or if he waited. If he waited, that was a terrible mistake. Personally, I like playing it out. That's what Redick was thinking.
Dwight Howard played a great game for the Magic with 30 points on nine-of-13 from the field and 12-0f-17 from the line, not bad for him. And he hit some pretty important free throws, too. Carter had 16, but his critical free throw misses down the stretch were the difference in the game.
Rajon Rondo was solid as ever for the Celtics with 25 points, eight assists and five boards. He had some beautiful assists on the night. One to, I think Kendrick Perkins, was fantastic. Also, hit a big time shot with 1:32 left to put Celtics up 93-90.
Ray Allen didn't have his best game with four points and 0-for-5 from trifecta, so he needs to come back and play well when the two teams play Sat Night. Kevin Garnett had only 10 points and nine rebounds, but hit a huge shot with 2:45 left and the Celtics down 90-89, which put them up 91-90. Like I said before, this team just knows how to win. It's their championship experience from 2008, that probably has a lot to do with it. They're veterans and have been through the wars. Nothing can take the place of experience, especially experience winning.
Great win for the Celtics overall. Could be Lakers-Celtics in a classic final, though I'm not giving up on my Suns just yet. Celtics looking in great shape to get back to another championship series.
Suns @ Lakers Game 2 tonight at 8 on TNT.
(Paul Pierce pictured above)