Things We’ve Learned
|12.19.08 at 9:09 pm ET|
(For a recap of the Celtics’ 126-108 blowout over the Bulls, click HERE.)
The last time the Celtics lost a game, Dustin Pedroia had yet to be named MVP, John Kerry still had a shot at Secretary of State and Bernard Madoff was the king of Palm Beach. It’s been a while, in other words.
“I don’t even know our record,” Kevin Garnett said after yet another blowout win, this time over the Bulls. “I just know that we’ve got a couple of losses.”
The record, for the record, is 25-2 and the winning streak is 17 in a row. It’s getting to be like a broken record with this team. They’re just taking it one game at a time, yada, yada, yada. But with each win, we learn a little bit more about the 2008-09 Celtics.
1. Perk is a beast–who also has a nice touch.
Kendrick Perkins turned in a career-best performance with 25 points on 12-for-15 shooting. Most of those shots were of the high-percentage variety, but he is doing things, like putting the ball on the floor on the perimeter, for example, that would have been unthinkable even back in November.
The key for Perkins against the Bulls wasn’t his shotmaking ability, however, it was his willingness to do the little things, specifically setting screens to get Ray Allen open that was important. Doc Rivers had a conversation with him about that very subject before Friday night’s game and when he did, and the Bulls didn’t follow him off the screen, he was wide open underneath.
“They rotated to the other guys, to the shooters, and left Perk kind of right there,” Paul Pierce said. “We put pressure on them with our penetration, and as you know when Rondo gets into the lane it just seems like everyone collapses on him. A number of times he was able to find Perk for a layup or a dunk.”
2. Rajon Rondo is not faster than Usain Bolt
But he’d probably like the chance at trying his luck against the Jamaican sprinter who was in attendance Friday. That was the joke in the locker room after Rondo dished out 15 assists (against just one turnover). As a team the Celtics had 40 assists. That’s 4 and a 0. Even if that number was slightly inflated by the hometown stat keepers it was proof that the Celtics are back to their pass-happy ways.
“I thought a couple of times we over-passed, but that’s a problem I’d like to have all the time,” Rivers said. The Celtics scored 126 points and no one took more than 18 shots. Offensive efficiency, meet your definition.
3. Kevin Garnett is not getting traded
“I got one rebound,” KG said when he walked into the post-game press conference. “On this team, with Rondo and Perkins you can’t get a rebound. They’re going to trade me.”
Not happening, of course, but even with Garnett getting just a solitary board, the Celtics still out-rebounded the Bulls, 35-31. Not only did they have more rebounds, the Celtics had a whopping 13 offensive rebounds on only 34 missed shots. That’s not an edge, that’s domination.
4. They really don’t care about the streak
They have said it so many times that it’s become Belichickian and the subject of press-room jokes, but they really, really mean it. They just don’t care.
“We know what our goal is and we just kind of go what we said last year and take it one game at a time,” Pierce said. “And not get bored by the process.”
Wait. Back it up. That’s the key phrase right there: Not get bored by the process.
It’s impossible to not get bored by the process. It’s December, there’s 55 games left in the regular season, there’s a foot of snow on the ground and there’s a trip to LA looming. And yet, the Celtics played one of their best offensive games of this season, or any other season. Maybe it’s time to start believing the locker room cliches.