Vinnie Del Negro.
* Despite criticism throughout the year, Del Negro has represented for the "413." And he's still looks like the same kid that Jimmy Valvano recruited with a-for-the-time high-tech innovation: an audio tape of a future "ACC Title game" where Vinnie wins the title for NC State.
* Say what you will, but the Bulls have a plan: run the ball down the Celtics' throat. When Derrick Rose squares his shoulders and runs north-and-south, no one can stop him defensively.
* Kirk-Hinrich-on-Paul-Pierce has been surprisingly effective, and not overused; Hinrich's quick hands allow him to both Pierce when he brings the ball down, and he also is athletic.
*While running out of TOs hurt him in Games One and Two, his teams have also been in position to win five of the six games so far. The Cs have escaped near-death experiences twice: down five (without the ball) with 2:30 left in Game Two and down 11 with 9:27 left in Game Five. They won't get out of a hole like that in Game Seven.
Celtics Guards off the Bench
* There's nothing more painful than watching a player who has lost the confidence to shoot, and it's now happened to both Stephon Marbury and Tony Allen. It's not "unselfish". It's not "working within the team." It's hoping the ball doesn't find you at the end of the shot clock. And it will. As John Cheney once said: "There's a reason why a guy's open."
* As to why Tony Allen was on the floor at the end of regulation (when the Cs had their best -- and really only -- chance to win last night), here's what Doc Rivers said:
"With an 8-point lead, if you're a good defensive team, all you have to do is play defense," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "You don't have to score again. You literally don't have to score again. But we didn't do that."But that's why there's the 'offense-and-defense' substitution package, Coach.
* There's not much left in the tank for Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Allen had a career playoff high last night, keeping the Celts alive in the second OT with two huge jumpers. And Pierce was immense in crunch time during Game Five. How long can this go on?
* You got Rondo'd. It's hard to believe, but a year ago, Rondo was still seen as the weak link on the Cs. Two years ago he averaged 6 ppg, 3 apg, and 3 rpg, and last year's 10.6/5.2/4.2 was seen as a big improvement. This year, and especially this post-season, has been a cosmic leap.