|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
Without Ray Allen for the second-straight game, the Celtics seemed like they missed the veteran shooting guard in the first half against the Spurs. Down by as much as 22 in the first half, the Celtics played that much better in the second half en route to a 93-91 win.
Rajon Rondo finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in just under 29 minutes. His backup, Sam Cassell, finished with 17 off the bench including an electric go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. Both shot very well from the field (16-31, 51.6% combined) and from the FT line (5-6, 83.3%) in contributing 37 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals from the point guard position.
With Ray Allen out, Tony Allen took his place and made most of his contributions on defense. He only scored 4 points, but finished with a steal and 2 blocks in 26 minutes. He’s always been a good perimeter defender and held his own against Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili is still an amazing player, and he didn’t disappoint Monday night. He finished with a game-high 32 points (10-18 shooting, 8-8 from the FT line).
Garnett summed it up best about what it means beating the Spurs:
“The Spurs, they’re a well-oiled machine. We knew they were going to come in fired up. They lost some games as of late and any champion is going to come out with its haymakers. Doc told us if we don’t pick up the energy, then we’re going to get embarrassed in here.”
KG is right. The Spurs are a well-oiled machine and until someone beats them out West, they’re still the team to beat in the playoffs.
Next up in the Texas triangle for the Celtics is the second game of a back-to-back, this time against the hottest team in decades, the Houston Rockets. Houston has won an astounding 22 in a row and will be playing at home. Obviously, Houston will be without Yao Ming, but that hasn’t mattered as of late. Doc Rivers doesn’t expect Ray Allen to play until Thursday against the Mavs.