No offense to Doc Rivers, the early leader in the race for the "Sam Mitchell Memorial 'Wait, This Guy Can Coach?!' Award," but damn this Boston defense is good. I blame (former candidate for the Kings coaching job) Tom Thibodeau.
Again, Doc Rivers could be calling the defensive sets for all I know. And Jeff Van Gundy could have been running everything in Houston. But it'd be a strange coincidence, considering Boston sucked on defense last year and Houston isn't very stingy this season. Thibodeau's defense works. Jerry Reynolds and Grant Napear hammered on it to no end in the fourth, and they couldn't go far enough: That defense got extremely tight. Credit James Posey, credit Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, credit Rajon Rondo... and hell, credit Ray Allen. The Celtics didn't just force jumpers -- they forced bad jumpers. And there was nothing the Kings could do about it.
Against most teams, Sactown's fourth-quarter offense would've drawn our ire. But it wasn't their fault tonight. No average team is destroying that defense. That's why the two Boston losses are against Dwight Howard and LeBron James -- those are two transcendent forces who can typically dictate their shot attempts. John Salmons, Beno Udrih, Ron Artest: Not transcendent. Kevin Martin might have drawn a foul or three on Allen, but no dude on a Maloof payroll (except maaaybe Fat Lever) was feasting tonight.
Credit the Kings for continuing to play with immeasurable desire at least 65% of the time. More than we expected after the first road trip of the season. It's almost a certainty the team's first road win will come in the next week. They could pull off a couple, possibly.
But that's not what I'm excited about after this game. I can't wait to see Boston face an elite offensive team -- a Phoenix, Dallas or Detroit. Before tonight, I wasn't convinced Boston could hang. But that defense? Yeah. They're going to be okay. You take a terrific defense, and add three offensive superstars? Sounds familiar, like some team with the same sweet recipe has recently won a few titles or something. Hmm. Boston vs. San Antonio in June doesn't sound so bad all of a sudden.