Rondo, Allen Lend Support in Dismissing Pistons
By Scott Tribble
May 31, 2008
On a night when Paul “The Truth” Pierce and James “The Steal” Posey grabbed most of the headlines, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo both played key roles in the Celtics’ series-clinching 89-81 victory over the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Once again showing signs of emerging from his playoff-long offensive slump, Allen scored 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting, including three from long range. Rondo attacked the Pistons all night from the point, and his baseline jumper with two and a half minutes remaining drove the final nail in Detroit’s coffin.
"When [Rondo] walked by, I just yelled “in between shot,’” Celtics’ Coach Doc Rivers said of the basket that put the Celtics up 83-76. “To me it’s a great shot for him. He has the speed to get away. He did that, he put the ball on the floor, one dribble, bam, makes the shot…That was just phenomenal for him and for the team.”
Rondo’s jumper was especially significant in that the young point guard finally exhibited the same confidence in his outside shot as the coaching staff.
“It comes down to work and confidence,” Rivers told reporters after the game. “I said, ‘You’ve worked on your in between jump shot all year, all year, all summer, and take it, use it.’”
Building on his Game 5 revival, Allen showed similar confidence from the outset. Within thirty seconds of the opening tip, the shooting guard launched a bomb from downtown. He missed that initial shot, but quickly found his stroke, ending the first quarter with 10 points on four of seven shooting, including two of four from downtown.
Even after the Celtics lost the lead in the third quarter, Allen’s confidence – both in himself and his teammates – never waned.
“There were a couple plays at a couple time outs, and I just looked at Kevin [Garnett], and I told [him], 'This is what we’ve been wanting for 20, 25 years of our life. Let’s do what we need to do, this is where we want to be.”
A beaming Rivers said after the game, “I guess if you’re going to go to The Finals, I don’t know if you could script a better way than the way we’re going.”
Pierce and Garnett both have delivered leading performances over the course of the playoffs, but, Friday night in Detroit, Allen, Rondo, and others served notice to basketball fans everywhere that the Celtics remain an ensemble cast.