After every game, we'll take stock of how each individual performance affects the player's overall value.
Rajon Rondo: Rajon accouned for almost half the Celtics' offense by assisting on 36 points (six 3's, and nine 2's) and scoring another 18. That's 54 of the Celtics' 115 points. That's amazing. He still has some lapses here and there, but overall, he's playing extremely well.
Paul Pierce: Pierce was the beneficiary of Rondo's dimes from long range, trailing the break and getting good looks in transition. He stepped back and let KG do his thing in the 4th, but he kicked in a drive on Bosh and finish with the left hand that was a huge part of the run.
Kevin Garnett: He abused Chris Bosh. Left him a broken man. Bosh could not do a damn thing out there on offense and he sure as hell wasn't stopping KG on D. The KG scoring binge was spectacular, and the defense was just beautiful. This is the best KG has played since his knee injury.
Brandon Bass: This guy's contributions can't be overstated. The 12 points and 10 rebounds were a perfect contribution. Bass is doing his job so well right now. He's a HUGE reason why this team is doing what it's doing. It's Bass' floor spacing that allows a lot of these other things to even happen.
Avery Bradley: I said on Twitter last night that I was always confused as to why a guy with good shooting form like Bradley struggled with his shot. I immediately got a ton of responses mentioning how much more confident he is now… which is dead on. The Bradley corner 3 is starting to get as dangerous as Bradley back door cuts. Amazing progression from this kid.
Ray Allen: He's making this whole switch work beautifully. The Ray Allen/Kevin Garnett tandem on the court to start the second quarter could not be working out better. I don't care if I've said this a million times… it bears repeating: Ray Allen's handling of this situation may be the single most important element to the current success of the Boston Celtics.
Greg Stiemsma: Talk about progression. At one point last night, Stiemsma was a +16 for the Celtics.. and a legit +16. He was doing it all out there. He blocked 2 shots, he grabbed 7 rebounds, he hit 4-5 shots, and his lone assists was a beauty of a pass to Kevin Garnett as part of a huge second quarter run. Stiemer is rivaling Bradley in the "who has surprised the hell out of you with his progression" category.
Sasha Pavlovic: He's playing his role very nicely. He took a couple of 3's and made them, proving himself to be a threat on the floor and forcing Miami to respect him. And when you can be the 8th guy in an 8-man rotation and command respect on the floor, that alone is a damn big contribution.
Doc Rivers: The biggest criticism I and others have levied on Doc Rivers over his Celtics tenure is that his rotations got a bit all over the place. They're most certainly not right now. The substitution patterns right now are damn near perfect. I love the group starting the game… I love the group starting the second quarter. And when that same group wasn't getting it done to start the 4th, Doc showed no qualms about changing things up. He continues to manage KG's minutes well, which allows him to get a few more minutes out of Garnett down the stretch when needed.
What can I say about this team? This win was spectacular. Oh, sure, there were lapses here and there, but that's always going to happen. Few teams play the perfect game night in and night out… and there was no way they were going to play a perfect game AGAIN against the Heat in Miami. Miami is too good for that.
But the Celtics came out tough and built a huge lead, then they played the Heat pretty much even the rest of the way. In fact, the Heat won quarters 2, 3 & 4 by 3 points. It was that 11 point first quarter that was the difference. The resilience to withstand Miami's runs and respond with runs of their own is what really makes this game special. The third quarter could have gotten out of hand, but the Celtics didn't wilt this time. Just a spectacular peformance.