The Boston Celtics have home court advantage in the first two rounds of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. With that, the Celtics and Bulls series is tied 1-1. A comment Doc Rivers made toward the end of the regular season just popped back into my mind:
Home court advantage doesn't matter. I'm more concerned about the health of the guys than where we play.
Hopefully Doc knows what he's talking about after seeing the Bulls beat us in overtime of game 1 and game 2 coming down to a last second three pointer by Ray Allen, securing the series tie. With games 3 and 4 both being played in Chicago, the Celtics would need to (at the very least) split the series and return to Boston with a 2-2 tie and again have the "home court advantage". The next two games are going to be very important for Doc and the Celtics not only to survive the first round, but to build the confidence that we can win without KG and that we can win on the road in the post season.
With the focus being on the absence of KG, the missed foul shot in game 1 by Pierce and Ray Allen's amazing play in game 2, people have failed to realize that Rajon Rondo is blowing up in his second post season appearance. Rondo has cut apart the Bulls defense and also improved vastly on his inside jumper that teams were forcing him to take and miss last year. Rondo is no longer a rookie point guard in his first post season. Rajon is a post season veteran showing fans in Boston exactly what he is capable of doing. We need that now more than ever with the series heading to Chicago and Derrick Rose being a worthy opponent in his post season debut.
The two UConn Alumni, Ray Allen and Ben Gordon have been shooting the lights out in The Garden and heading to Chicago will most likely give Gordon the edge. With a little help from Rondo and Pierce, Allen can continue to get open and knock down a few more big shots that can be difference makers. I guess it wouldn't be the playoffs if "Jesus Shuttlesworth" didn't hit those clutch shots when given the opportunity.
Paul Pierce has done what he always does and makes the high percentage shots when he needs to, except for his botched free throw in game 1 that I feel is the reason why we lost. If Pierce hit the second of his two shots we would have been up 1 with enough time for Chicago to miss a desperation heave giving us what would be now a 2-0 lead. I digress, the series is tied and we're going to Chicago.
Kendrick Perkins can definitely hold his own against the Bulls and we haven't had a problem with Joakim Noah in the paint. The question becomes, whether we do or don't have KG, are we even going to make it out of the first round. If this series goes to 7 games, it doesn't matter that we're playing at home, the Bulls beat us at home in game 1!
My frustration is beginning to build up. The Celtics exited the season giving Boston the thoughts of Banner #18, a back-to-back championship run and more great post season performances against the Cavaliers and Lakers. Now I'm sitting back wondering if Danny Ainge had a heart attack for everything I'm feeling right now.
Game 3 starts Thursday night at 8pm in Chicago. After I start a daily dose of Bayer to prevent me from having a hospital bed of my own we'll check in again and see what's going to happen for round 2.