Rajon Rondo: As is usually the case, I agreed with tommy Heinsohn: "DRIVE . . . TO . . . THE . . . HOOP, RAY-JON!!!" I always feel like he can get to the hoop pretty much whenever he sets his mind to it, and the Celtics feed off his aggressiveness. I also thought it was on his shoulders as much as Doc's that Ray Allen didn't get enough touches at the end of regulation and during certain stretches in overtime. Rondo has to find a way to get Allen the ball when he's that hot, even if he is being dogged by more than one defender. And his little turnaround over Rose at the end of the third OT was ill-advised at best, though it was more a sensational defensive play than anything else. That said, I don't get some of the venom for Rondo at the end of the game. When you're griping about a point guard who just played 59 minutes and had a 19-to-0 assist-to-turnover ratio, it might be time to start looking for something else to complain about. (Might I suggest Tony Allen? Did I already?)
Brad Miller: You know, I'm beginning to think Heinsohn doesn't much like him. But you have to give the player who annually wins the vote for Most Likely To Own His Own Trailer Park a lot of credit for his redemptive performance last night. He attempted 14 shots total, from the field and the free-throw line. He made 13. You can't be much better than that. Like Noah, you loathe him as a foe, and Heinsohn is right -- he's a dirty, cheap-shotting rat in the McFilthy and McNasty mold. But as he's teeing up one of those Laimbeerish jump shots, you can't help but think, "Man, the Celtics could use someone like this." Swish.
Tony Allen: I suppose I've already revealed my feelings about his performance, but in case I wasn't pointed enough: He has the worst instincts of any athlete I have ever seen wear a Boston uniform in any sport, and there is no exaggeration in that statement whatsoever. Watching him play basketball in a meaningful situation is the equivalent of watching Tebucky Jones trying to make an open-field tackle after running in circles around an upright baseball bat for 20 minutes. I don't care how depleted the Celtics' bench is. I don't care that Big Baby needs a breather now and then and the nickname Starbury is just a cruel joke at this point. Tony Allen should not be allowed on the court -- let alone permitted to touch, or heaven forbid, shoot the basketball -- under any circumstances when the game's outcome still hangs in the balance. I cannot put it any clearer than that, Doc. Free Bill Walker.
Derrick Rose: His acceleration is remarkable -- he goes from zero to 60 in the blink of his defender's eye. His poise is almost unbelievable given that he was the starting point guard for the Wolverines of Simeon High just two years ago. While he seemed to disappear for extended stretches last night, he still finished with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 game-saving -- perhaps season-saving -- block. A lot of the Bulls annoy me. Rose? He awes me. Lucky Chicago, hitting that Transcendent Player jackpot twice in 25 years.
Kevin Garnett: I know they're saying he won't play. And maybe he won't. Probably he won't. But he'd damned well better be in uniform for this game. The Celtics, those noble but weary and wobbling champions, need every advantage, every emotional and psychological edge, that they can possibly muster in Game 7. You're telling me the sight of a scowling Garnett -- trotting, jogging, limping, whatever -- out for warmups wouldn't get the Garden rocking like it hasn't since last June? Just the notion that one of the most intimidating players in recent history could enter the game at any moment should be enough to plant some sort of doubt in the youthful Bulls' heads. KG needs to dress for this game. He has to. And if there is still any doubt whether it's the right thing to do, let me ask you a question that I suspect Danny Ainge asks himself from time to time when he has important decisions to make: What would Red do? I think you know the answer.
As for today's Completely Random Basketball Card:
Perhaps the most impressive element of his 23-point performance last night was that he had a second wind when so many of his teammates looked like their legs were shot. Never thought I'd see the day he'd become so dependable, let alone well-conditioned, and I could not have been more wrong about him earlier this season. In a related note: How much of a difference would Leon Powe make right now?
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.