Nick Gelso is the Founding Partner and CEO of North Station Media, CLNS Radio. Gelso has been covering the NBA and Boston Celtics since 2008. He has locker room experience and is an accomplished NBA columnist and radio personality. Gelso has appeared on Boston radio, Las Vegas television, ESPNBoston, CBS Sports. He is co-host of CLNSRadio's flagship production, the Celtics Late Night Show and co-owner of CLNSRadio.
Additionally, Gelso is the co-host of Beats & Eats Podcast. Beats & Eats is an entertainment, foodie and pop-culture podcast network. Beats & Eats hosts podcasts from Hell's Kitchen Chefs' Barret Beyer & Anthony Rodriguez. Actors such as Lydia Cornell and Matt Fahey. Technology expert, and CLNS Columnist, Rich Conte. Hell's Kitchen Chef Dan Ryan hosts a reddit-based, pop-culture podcast. Chopped Chef, Rob Burmeister & Hell's Kitchen Chef, Clemenza host the culinary-comedy podcast, "Chewing the Fat with Big and Beefy."
BOSTON -- They’ve won close games. They’ve won in blowout fashion. And on Monday night, against their arch-rival, the Miami Heat overcame a career night from Jeff Green to win their 23rd straight game.
Five years to the day after the Boston Celtics ended the Houston Rockets’ 22-game winning streak, they came up just short against the Heat, falling 105-103 at home.
24 hours after St. Patrick’s Day, Boston was still all about green on the night. Jeff Green that is.
No player scored more against Miami in a single game this season than Green did tonight, who poured in 43 points; the most any Celtic has scored this season. It was a sensational performance from Boston’s X-factor and most versatile offensive player.
And yet it wasn’t enough. After all, the Heat have LeBron James. The best player on the planet, who’s in the midst of playing the best basketball of his career.
In the same building James showed the world he was ready to win his first NBA Championship -- Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals last year -- the reigning MVP took over in the fourth quarter. Money time. James scored or assisted on 20 of the final 22 points for Miami, as he led his team on a 22-7 run over the last 7:58 of the game to cap a stunning comeback in the TD Garden.
LeBron was good from outside. He threw down powerful dunks. He did everything short of drawing up the plays, though he may have done that as well. With 10 seconds left, James drilled a deep two -- over Green no less -- for the final margin of victory. He finished with 37 points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds. Truly a complete game from the most complete player.
On the next possession, Shane Battier came up with a huge block on Green. For all the accolades Miami gets for it’s offensive prowess, their tenacious defense -- ranked second in the NBA in terms of defensive efficiency -- has been just as important throughout this impressive streak.
On the ensuing inbounds, the Heat (52-14) forced a fadeaway three-pointer from Paul Pierce (17 points, eight assists, and a game-high eight rebounds), then came up with the rebound to clinch their NBA-best 52nd win of the season.
This will leave a sour taste in the Celtics (36-30) locker room for sure. Boston built a 17-point lead in the first half, only to see Miami cut that deficit to just six points at halftime. The Celtics rebuilt a sizable lead, and were up 13 points with 8:26 to play after Jordan Crawford hit a three-pointer from Maine.
That’s when James took over.
He toppled a Celtics team hungry to end the streak. Paul Pierce said he didn’t want to see the Heat win another game this season. Dwyane Wade (16 points, six assists, seven rebounds) even chimed in and said he understood how sick Pierce and the rest of the league must be, hearing about the winning streak every time they turn on the TV or read the paper.
What more could Boston have done? They shot 54.2% from the field for the game, after a blistering first half when they managed to hit 62.2% of their shots. Miami hit 49.4% of their field goals.
Boston knocked down 10 of their 21 three-pointers (47.6%). Miami connected on just seven of their 20 attempts (35%). Ray Allen didn’t even make a shot from beyond the arc.
The Celtics even attempted more free throws than Miami, going 15-24 from the line while the Heat mustered 21 attempts and hit 14 of them.
Boston’s defense wasn’t bad either. They limited Miami, the best transition team in the league, to a measly six fast-break points.
And that is what makes it so difficult to beat the Heat. Even when you play one of your best games, it’s not always enough.
Boston finally got a virtuoso effort from Green. Filling in for the injured Kevin Garnett, Green displayed his full offensive arsenal. He hit three-pointers (5-7 from deep). He weaved his way into the lane with his left and right hand. He finished strong at the rim. Green finished 14-21 from the floor. The few times he missed; he drew a foul and found himself at the line where he knocked down 10 of his 13 free throw attempts. No one else on either team attempted more than six.
Every time MIami made a little run, Jeff Green answered. In response, the Celtics’ faithful showered him with chants of “Jeff Green.”
The playoff atmosphere seemed to energize the Celtics, who rushed out to an early 6-0 lead and ended the first quarter on a 17-0 run to go up by a dozen after the first 12 minutes. Miami matched Boston’s intensity in the second quarter and stormed back to make it 59-53 by halftime.
In the second half, Boston was plagued by turnovers. The home team committed 21 on the night which led to 24 Heat points. The Celtics scored 17 points off 16 Miami turnovers. That was the difference in the game.Boston looks to rebound with a win in New Orleans on Wednesday night and the Heat take the second-longest winning streak in NBA history to Cleveland on Wednesday night to take on LeBron’s former team.
Most Recent Garden Report:
Here's the excerpt:Eastern Conference scout on the ceiling for the Rajon Rondo-less Celtics: Rondo "I'll buy your [contention] that they're playing happier without him, but when it comes down to the big games, you need a couple a-holes. And Rondo is the leading a-hole Boston has. He affects the game like nobody else."During the regular season, I agree, he plays for stats too much, but when it comes to the playoffs, he's playing to win the game. He's definitely a diva and he definitely has his issues, but who does Miami have to game-plan for if Rondo isn't there? Paul Pierce is a warrior, but he's only going to be able to play 15 top-level minutes out of 30. [Kevin Garnett] is a defensive specialist at this point in time. The totality of the Heat overtakes the totality of the Celtics when Rondo's not there, but I still think he's in Miami's heads and the Celtics are in the Heat's heads when the teams are at full strength."Without Rondo, Miami wins that series in five."
It's not unrealistic or outlandish for any scout to limit the Celtics ability to make a lengthy playoff run without their floor general. What's concerning is, the mounting opinion in NBA circles that Rajon Rondo is a 'diva' and overly concerned with padding his statistics.
Celtics fans can recount Rondo's assist record. As a frequent host on the Celtics Post Game Show, I can vouch for the relief that swept the CLNS call-lines when Rondo's assist streak came to an end. I was certainly not shy in my beliefs that Rajon and his teammates had become overly concerned with Rondo breaking the consecutive assist record, even at the expense of wins and losses at times.
This was distraction number one, early on in what was considered a perplexing start to the season by Boston.
Another adjective that continually emerges when discussing Mr. Rondo is the atmosphere he creates around the locker room.
Winning should be the ultimate goal for any contending team. There's no question that Rajon Rondo is a competitive guy. He wants to win at any cost, even at the risk of his own body. Let's not forget, Rondo played a full quarter and over-time on a torn ACL this season. Back in 2011, Rondo played game five of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals with a dislocated elbow - Rondo's threshold for pain has become stuff of legend in Boston.
So why must we continue to question Rajon Rondo's leadership abilities?
If Rondo is going to take the NATURAL progression into the leader of the Boston Celtics in 2013 and beyond, he must learn to control his temper, dispose of his diva-like attitude and embrace, mentor and trust his teammates.
Rondo's heart has never been in question. However, his attitude and demeanor has been a constant subject of debate.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett tried to force Rajon Rondo as 'the leader of the Celtics' down our throats before the season even started. Stories of flag football games with the newbies in the off-season and a talkative world tour for Red Bull had us all buying into the 'Rondo is our leader' theme. All of it seemed so unnatural to me then and it does even more now.
Only time will tell if Rajon Rondo will come back in the fall with new a attitude that inspires his teammates and psychs up the fans. One can only hope that the Celtics winning ways without him will be a big slice of humble pie for #9. We don't know where he's watching but we know he is paying attention to the free flowing, fun and effective style of basketball his team is currently playing without him. Hopefully he will learn, while watching from afar, that his teammates may admire his competitive talent but only respect for their strengths and trust in their abilities will allow his younger teammates to flourish and grow with him at the helm.
To be continued...
The 1984 NBA Finals Catapults the NBA into National ProminenceThe following article is part of CLNS Radio's ongoing series: America's 10 Most Meaningful Sporting Events of the Last 40 Years 1984 was a busy year in the United States. Apple launched Mac at an initial price of $2,495.00. Sony introduced the floppy disc. The first mobile phones were sold in the USA. Gandhi was assassinated. The Cosby Show debuted on NBC. The Ghost Busters Sound Track was number one. Tina Turner made her comeback complete and Bruce Springsteen confused President Ronald Reagan with his hit single, 'Born in the USA.' Technology experts questioned the value of brief case sized computers. Prince Harry of Wales was born. Wendy's started asking, "Where's the beef?" David Stern became the commissioner of the National Basketball Association.And the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA title in seven games.Yes, there many significant occurrences in the sporting world in 1984. But there were none more significant than Bird vs. Magic I in the NBA Finals.Larry Bird and Magic Johnson's rivalry began five years earlier during the 1979 NCAA Championship Game. Since entering the NBA, Magic had won two titles ('80, '82) while Larry Bird took his Celtics from worst to first in 1980, and captured his first championship a year later.Neither had met in the championship round of professional basketball until this point. The stage had been set, the characters in place, and the NBA's new marketing campaign of worldwide appeal now had the perfect storyline.East Coast vs West Coast. Blue Collar vs Showtime. Johnny Most vs Chick Hearn. The ever-quiet KC Jones vs the flamboyant Pat Riley. Red Auerbach vs Dr. Jerry Buss.Bird vs Magic.It all sounded so perfect then and is still simply romantic almost 30 years later.Prior to 1984, the Boston Celtics had met the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals seven times. Boston won them all. Though the Lakers had jumped out to an early 2-1 championship lead over the Celtics for the 1980's, the two teams had never faced off head-to-head for all the marbles since 1969. The Celtics jinx of the Lakers was still the topic of discussion as the '84 Finals tipped off.***On April 26th, 1984, the New Jersey Nets shocked the basketball world by eliminating the defending champion Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers in the first round of the playoffs in what is still largely regarded as one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. This opened up a clear path for the Celtics to return to the Finals for the first time in three years as the Sixers had always been somewhat of a barrier for Larry Bird during the early stages of his career, (lost in the ECF in 1980 and 1982 to Philadelphia when Boston had home court both times.) The Celtics during the 1984 NBA Playoffs would go on to beat Washington, New York, and Milwaukee (avenging their loss to the Bucks the season prior) to advance back to the NBA Finals.1983 ended in disappointment for Los Angeles as well. The Lakers were swept in the Finals four games-to-none by Philadelphia. However, the Lakers would return to the Finals for, already, the fourth time of the '80s. The Lakers cruised through the Western Conference Playoffs, losing only three games total while knocking off the then-Kansas City Kings, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Phoenix Suns.Both teams were primed up for redemption. The subliminal goal for both sides was a Celtics-Lakers Finals, and the first time Bird and Magic would square off in the NBA's championship round.1984 was a very warm summer. Nowhere was this more evident than in the old Boston Garden. With temperatures hitting 90 degrees on Causeway Street, inside the Garden -- the heat wave catapulted to over 100 degrees for Games 1 and 2.Enduring the sweltering green house of Boston Garden, the Lakers jumped out to an 1-0 series lead. Game 2 was a dream come true for the NBA marketing machine. The game was a flip-flop of lead changes and ties leading into the final moments of regulation. Larry Bird had filled out the box score with a 27 point, 13 rebound outing. But it was the quiet effort of Gerald Henderson that stole the show - and the ball - from a lazy James Worthy pass to thrust the contest into overtime. Henderson joked after the game saying, "I could hear Johnny Most saying 'Henderson steals the ball!!'."As the series shifted back to Los Angeles, with momentum seemingly on Boston's side, the Lakers introduced the Celtics to showtime in the Great Western Forum. In one of the more lopsided games in NBA Finals history, the Lakers embarrassed the Celtics, 137-104, behind 20 assists from Magic Johnson. The Celtics greatest spark came from a frustrated Larry Bird as he told the worldwide media that the Celtics, "played like a bunch of sissies."
The Game Magic became "Tragic"...Larry Bird had called his troops to arms. Years later we would hear the stories of the Boston Celtics' bench players egging each other on to prove Bird wrong in his insinuation that his teammates had played soft.Game 4 would be the second game forced into overtime in the '84 Finals, but it never truly seemed like the Lakers had a chance.In a very uncharacteristic turn of events, Magic Johnson would fold under the pressure of the pulsing green giant. Being forced into two crucial turnovers and two missed free throws in OT, Johnson had left his team exposed to a Legend in the making.Larry Bird had notched an astounding 29 points and 24 rebounds, including the fade-away jumper (over Magic) that would ultimately prove to be the series changing shot to win the game. The Celtics had seemed to turn the series around.The purple and gold blood continued to seep. The series shifted back to Boston for Game 5. Known to this day as the Heat Game, the Celtics, behind Larry Bird's 34 points (on 15-20 shooting!!) and 17 rebounds, ran over the oxygen-sucking Lakers (literally, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was on the Lakers bench sucking on an oxygen mask), to take a 3-2 lead in the series.The Lakers would rebound in Game 6 back in LA, setting up an Seventh Game in the famed Boston Garden.
The First Day of the NBA Glory Years...Celtics fans packed into the convection oven of Boston Garden, hours before tip-off, to rally behind their team. This was a familiar scene for Boston fans; a Game 7 at the Garden vs Los Angeles. The script had been written and the closing chapter nearly sealed.The CO2 tanks had been wheeled out to the Lakers bench at the request of Pat Riley. Stories of the heat being turned up in the Lakers locker room were swirling throughout the LA media. Riley had osculating fans brought in to sit behind the LA bench, and to try to circulate the hot air dampening down the visitors locker room.Pat Riley could only blame one man...Prior to the 1984 season, LA fans had been calling the new Lakers a dynasty. Those proclamations did not sit well with the Celtics' patriarch Red Auerbach in his final season as General Manager. Red had led his Celtics as coach or GM to 14 NBA championships, with seven coming at the expense of the Lakers. As Red was so fond of saying, he brought in the guys, but he himself "never scored a point." On this day, June 12, 1984, Red didn't have to score a point.In Games 1-6, Larry Bird had led the Celtics charge with the help of some heroic moments from Gerald Henderson, and a pointed wrestling move from Kevin McHale. In Game 7, Bird would do everything but it was the supporting cast, and Bird's ability to trust his teammates, that would propel the Celtics to their 15th NBA title.Many forget that in 1981, a young man named Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell would bring home the Finals MVP. It was during this Seventh Game in which everyone was reminded of this. Prior to the contest, Maxwell had told his teammates, "Jump on my back, boys!" and that he would take them to the promised land. Robert Parish tallied 16 rebounds and Dennis Johnson hit his timely clutch shots, but it was Cornbread's 24 points and eight assists that would finish the day strong for Boston.As the series wrapped up, it seemed that this sports curse nearly as infamous as the famed Red Sox jinx 'The Curse of the Bambino' would never come to a close.At the end of the 1984 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics would have faced the Lakers eight times, stalking them like prey from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. The Celtics were 8-0 in those series and it seemed nothing could stop them. The boasting bravado was echoed through the corridors of Boston Garden as Red Auerbach declared the Boston Celtics to be the only dynasty in NBA history.The future would pay a kind debt to the Lakers as they would meet Boston two more times in the NBA Finals, winning both championships. It wasn't until June 17, 2008 that the Celtics would get redemption.As the Celtics dominance over the Los Angeles Lakers came to a close in 1985, it wasn't before the new Lakers-Celtics rivalry would catapult the NBA into two decades of worldwide success that many have come to remember as the "Glory Years" of the NBA.While many credit Michael Jordan for making the NBA a global game, it was the Bird-Magic rivalry that saved the league from irrelevance all together. And it was the latest chapter of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry which helped usher in national prominence for the NBA during the 1980s.And it all began with the classic 1984 NBA Finals.
Fun facts of 1984 courtesy of Class Creator From the rest of the CLNS Series:1975 World Series: Baseball on TV Comes of Age, by Rich Conte1979 NCAA Basketball National Championship: A Rivalry Is Born, by AEM1980 Olympics Hockey: The Cold War on Ice & the Fall of Soviet Communism, by Rich Conte1986 NCAA Fiesta Bowl: Good Vs. Evil, by Ty Ray1994 Stanley Cup Finals: The Year of Hockey, The New York Rangers, and How It All Came Crashing Down, by Luciana Celestine & Jim WarnerBaseball’s Summer of 1998: Love, The Long Ball, & Lies, by Jonathan Lemons1999 Ryder Cup: Comebacks and Controversies, by Sean Bakke2001 World Series: Baseball Helps Heal a Nation, by Larry H. RussellSuper Bowl XXXVI: We Are All Patriots, by Eric Wood