1. In 2007-08, the Boston Celtics couldn't find Ray Allen enough looks. This year, Ray Allen gets just as many shots as he wants. Tonight he was the best player on the floor in the first half. There were at least a dozen games in 2007-08 where Ray Allen had a hot hand, but still scored less than 20 points. Why? No one was looking for him. Tonight is the latest example that no Ray-Allen hot-hand will get wasted this year.
2. In 2007-08, the Boston Celtics needed a little bravado, a little cajones, a little smack to work themselves into a lather before administering a beatdown. This year, the Celtics just go about it in a businesslike manner. The Cobra slowly applies the vice on its pray, the opponent's offense starts getting light-headed, disoriented, and finally succumbs. Meanwhile, the Celtics go down to the other end of the floor and make them pay.
3. In 2007-08, the Boston Celtics first unit built ginormous leads of twenty, thirty, or more points, and then kept their fingers crossed that the second unit could maintain the lead. This year, the first team usually plays unenthusiastic basketball to start the game, and only after the second unit has kicked some arse does the first unit come back in the game and pick up their level of play. By the way, remember when I said I was looking forward to seeing what Squisy was gonna do against the Bulls tonight? So far, pretty much what I expected: capitalizing on his size advantage, showin' off his offensive wares, and otherwise showcasing the goods.
4. In 2007-08, the Boston Celtics were a very good 3-point shooting team. This year we are outstanding. Has Paul Pierce been reborn as one of the league's deadliest 3-point shooters or is it just me? And if he has, how long can he keep it up? I remember one year out of know nowhere, Kevin McHale went from being a non-threat from 3 to being a legitimate threat. So there is no reason why the Truth can't go from being a legitimate threat from three to being one of the most feared shooters from range in the NBA.
5. In 2007-08, Rajon Rondo was a good point guard who showed flashes of greatness. Now he is a great point guard who occasionally plays the position as well as its ever been played.
Now I'm not saying everything is totally different from 2007-08. The one thing that is the same is how the defense both then and now feeds off itself. One good defensive play begets another, and one level of intensity begets the next. I've seen what I needed to see. Yes, this team can be damn good defensively again.
Oh. One other thing. Mission accomplished on my pre-game agenda to end any perception of parity between these two teams.