No one would have given it a second thought if Doc had played Shelden Williams and Michael Sweetney the entire fourth quarter. The Big 3 had the night off. Marquis Daniels left the game early with stomach issues. Sheed hurt his ankle. Shelden had played poorly earlier in the game and deserved a shot at redemption. Butter Bean? He deserved some run before they cut him.
But Doc didn't go with either of them. Why? They wouldn't have won the game if he had.
Instead, he kept Rajon Rondo on the floor for the entire fourth quarter, and along with Glen Davis, the Celtics mounted a comeback that got them the W. But that wasn't the kicker. With 1:29 left in the fourth, Doc inserted Eddie House into the lineup. He hadn't been on the floor since the 1:52 marker of the third quarter. Less than a minute later, the C's ran a play for Eddie, and he promptly canned a deuce. Celtics never trailed again.
Doc's paid to win games. He takes that job seriously, whether the game is played during the NBA Finals or a pick-up game in a high school gym. It just so happens that the extended floor time awoke Rajon Rondo from his pre-season slumber, and showed that Glen Davis still can be counted on to elevate his game when the circumstances demand.
Meanwhile, I found myself unable to turn the game off and go to bed. Having to get up at 3:30, this normally isn't a problem for me. Even with the Celtics down 14, I couldn't quite pull the plug. As the game progressed into the fourth quarter, I tried harder and harder to turn it off and go get some sleep. But I just couldn't. When Doc put in Eddie for the sole purpose of getting a basket to win a meaningless game, I realized we're all in the same boat. They play to win, and we watch to see them win.