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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NBA Playoffs: Where punching Brad Miller in the face happens

In the all-important Game 5 last night at the Garden, the Celtics survived 106-104 to take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 tomorrow night in Chicago.

Paul Pierce did what he do (as the rappers say), scoring 26 points and grabbing seven boards. He scored six huge points down the stretch in the fourth, including the tying bucket with 10 seconds left. He also had the clinching shot with three seconds left in overtime. Rajon Rondo continued his MVP play: 28 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Big Baby added 21 points and six boards.

The most unexpected huge contribution was from Kendrick Perkins who almost had a triple-double: 16 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks. As cliche as it sounds, every point mattered since Ray Allen (10 points) fouled out in the fourth quarter and the C's bench continued to be non-existent.

Ben Gordon led the uber-resilient Bulls with 26 points. Kirk Hinrich scored 19 and John Salmons tossed in 17 points. Derrick Rose had 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The pug-ugly Joakim Noah had a double-double: 11 points and 17 rebounds while Tyrus Thomas managed 12 points and eight rebounds.

It looked like Chicago was going to send it to a second overtime when the seas parted on an inbounds play and Brad Miller had a clear path to the basket. Luckily for Boston, Miller is incredibly slow and also Rondo managed to punch the side of his face.

After receiving treatment for a bleeding mouth, a wobbly Miller bricked the first free throw and then intentionally missed the second (although he didn't hit the rim). Game over. A cheap way to win but the Celts will take them any way they come in this intense series.

Boston shot 48.8% to 40.0% for the Bulls. Chicago made 11 more free throws (27-16) and had six more rebounds (50-44). The C's had six more assists (24-18).

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