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What else can I say besides: We showed up? Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo lead the onslaught march to the basket, Allen whipped daggers from outside, and Perkins/KG/Sheed REALLY frustrated Howard and Rashard Lewis. Lewis didn't have any answers for Boston's perimeter coverage in the first half, and went just 3-8 on a cold, cold Christmas day from behind the arc. Howard had 20 rebounds, and of course he's going to intimidate/actually block some shots (four blocks), but aside from yesterday's good defensive showing, Orlando's leader didn't do anything on the offensive end. He had seven turnovers and gathered just five points in the entire contest.
Something to point out: Prior to this game, the Magic second unit had four of its five individual players averaging over seven points. Boston held the second string to nine collective points (Bass was a DNP for the night -- still, very impressive stuff).
The only Magic player that really struck me was Vince Carter, who flat-out carried this dazed Magic team for the whole match. Carter shot 50% from the floor (whereas the Magic squad collectively shot 33.3%) and contributed 27 huge points. There's no way the Magic would have been within 20 points had Carter not played the way he did. Not only did he boost the Magic with his on-paper production, but he kept the tempo going and the team flowing rather nicely on an afternoon when the Boston defense was filthy.
Speaking of that C's defense, continue to pay attention to Rasheed Wallace. For someone who had been deemed as a lazy player in Detroit, this guy is ACTIVE on both ends of the floor. Wallace is a very capable shot-blocker and knows how to plant his feet to hold ground when he's getting challenged in the paint. Wallace assisted in guarding Howard for a good chunk of the night, and one thing that caught my eye was the limited amount of trips Howard took to the line (just four opportunities from the stripe). For someone that's a league-leader in FTAs, that's quite staggering.
Perk didn't have much of anything to say on the offensive side of the floor, but he too suffocated the Magic's interior threats. Perk sent back three shots and was a +19 on the night.
As for the rest of the starting line-up -- it was a good team effort. Tony Allen really has been big for us lately, and it stretched to last night as Allen dropped 16 points in replacement for the ailing Pierce. But the big gun? Rajon Rondo, who although doesn't jump out at you on the stat sheet when you're glancing at it quickly -- and even turns you away when you see the eight turnovers he committed -- Rondo was the most aggressive player in yesterday's throwdown.
Rajon attacked the rim and was very confident in all of his shots. Rondo was two assists shy of a triple-double, and controlled the team's momentum on the night. He was dominant in the fast break and a terror on the defensive end. Rondo held Jameer Nelson to 3-11 on the night and nabbed two steals. Combined with Tony Allen, the two butchered the Magic's transition D with a number of easy buckets on the break.
A few thoughts: Garnett seemed to be wincing on the bench even after he was walking... I still doubt anything serious took place but still be on alert... Ray Allen secured six big rebounds yesterday and was one of the Celtics guards that humiliated Orlando's big men with easy boards when left wide open... Rasheed Wallace played 32 minutes last night and only committed one turnover; Wallace surprised us shooting 5-7 on the floor as well.
He who angers you, owns you.
Keep gettin' yo's, Celtics.