Thursday, May 7, 2009

House of Slap

Reasons returned in Boston tonight, as the Celtics evened their best of seven series with the Magic with a decisive 112-94 win. The home team overcame what might have been the worst playoff game of Paul Pierce's career (1 for 4, only 16 minutes due to foul trouble) to tie it up at 1-1, and they did it with the same player that iced Game 7 of the Bulls series for them -- back-up guard Eddie House. House shot 11-of-14, with 5-of-6 from the arc, for a game-high 31 points in 28 minutes. He also allowed Rajon Rondo to do what he does best -- penetrate, go to the boards and distribute -- which led to a 15-11-18 line with just three turnovers. (For the worrisome Boston Fan, Rondo was still just 7 of 19 from the floor. If the man had a jump shot, he'd be illegal.)

I suppose I need to get you to the only play from this game that will resonate for the general public, which is when Rafer Alston showed himself to be the Magic's weakest link by reacting to a House make and elbow with a bitch slap upside his head. Spinning the headband makes it especially potent on the visuals. Let's just say that you shouldn't expect to see Mr. Alston in Game 3, and how he wasn't ejected in Game 2 is yet another one of those Man, These Refs Suck moments.

If you want to beat House, who almost single-handedly gave the home team the edge in bench scoring tonight (43 to 29), you do the things that have made 7 other NBA teams decide they could live without him: make him defend and pass, rather than shoot by coming off screens. For his career, he averages 1.6 assists per game (in 17 minutes) against 0.8 turnovers; that's not quite Nate Robinson level, but it's getting there. He's also listed as 6'-1", 175, and both measurements look generous to me. But hey, big ups to him for a great post-game quote. (Skip to around the 50 second mark for ass-busting goodness.)

In Orlando, House will disappear (he shoots 48% from the floor at home, versus 40% on the road), but Pierce will give more, and unless the Magic get Courtney Lee back fast (which gets JJ Redick to the bench), the C's will steal a game and make it a best of three. You know, like what they do every series, really...

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