This was no rematch of last year’s epic Eastern Conference first round series. The Celtics are a completely different team than the one that barely edged the Bulls in seven games. And the Bulls are different too.
The Celtics meanwhile were dominant in the second half defensively and that’s how they pulled away. The effort was complete because the Big Three scored just 17 of
Win No. 10 was perhaps the best performance of all and it apparent there won’t be a first-round rematch between the two teams in the playoffs.
Paul Pierce — He hit a couple of early 3-pointers but didn’t have much of an impact and picked up four fouls. He briefly left the game with a right shoulder stinger but returned.
Kevin Garnett — In just 27 minutes, Garnett finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and the jumper is still looking silky. He hit the floor for a loose ball, had Derrick Rose land on him but was fine. A solid night.
Kendrick Perkins — Perk played just 23 minutes and scored 10 points with five rebounds. He mixed it up with Joakim Noah and Brad Miller in the paint but the Celtics did not need his bulk in the second half and he got some rest.
Ray Allen — He is continuing to play strong defense and hit key shots. He scored just 10 points in 30 minutes but took just 10 shots.
Rajon Rondo — He is getting better every game and he dusted Derrick Rose by netting 14 assists in 38 minutes along with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds. He is gaining confidence in his jumper and isn’t afraid of Brad Miller’s attempt at a message with a flagrant foul in the first quarter.
Rasheed Wallace — Has gone five games without a technical, although we have heard “Ball don’t lie!” on many occasions in the past few weeks. But his inside-outside game is beginning to take shape and he tallied 15 in 21 minutes.
Eddie House — Missed 10 shots and seven 3-pointers but his 15 points did help the Celtics push the lead to 20 in the third quarter.
Tony Allen — Is still getting into game shape but is playing better. Allen will help this team down the stretch, especially with Marquis Daniels out for two months.
Shelden Williams — Got extensive action in the first half and grabbed eight rebounds. If Williams had better hands, he would be a bigger offensive threat.
Brian Scalabrine — He stretched the floor in his 16 minutes but didn’t take any shots and grabbed two rebounds.