(a) a slow start in a 'must-win' game (the Celtics scored 18 points in the first quarter, and went the first 4 minutes of the second quarter with only 2 points, meaning that they had played -- including the fourth quarter on Monday -- 28 minutes with just 32 points);
(b) letting the 'Ace of Spades' out the box he had been for the first four games of the Series (LBJ had 23 points in the first 20 minutes last night, finishing with 35);
(c) a quiet crowd that was potentially watching the last home game of the season;
the Celtics responded with a kick in the second quarter and the first half of the third, and despite a brutal last 90 seconds, held on to win a tight 96-89 game.
Doc Rivers, who has become a (the?) focal point of fans' with the "Big 3", earns some credit for last night as well:
(a) playing Rajon Rondo 42 minutes -- meaning that Sam-I-Am Cassell played just five. Although Eddie House is the proverbial scoring-guard-in-a-point-guard's-body, Cassell has become such a liability at both ends of the floor that Doc has to find a way to get House back in the rotation. Failing that, leaving Rondo out there until he collapses is a good second choice.
(b) getting quality minutes out of Glen Davis (6 points). Although Davis was just +2 on the +/- rating, he brought some energy and enthusiasm to the court during his 11+ minutes. His attitude seems contagious on the bench and with the crowd.
Now, it's on to Cleveland, and (with luck) a finish to a very dangerous series.