(the Peege – 10 points off the bench and season-saving rebounds down the stretch)

You might remember last autumn at an introductory press conference, Scott Pollard jokingly called himself “the final piece of the puzzle” for Boston’s title aspirations. Hey, he’s not merely funny looking. But little would we have suspected that a late season acquisition of 380 38 year old P.J. Brown would play a significant role in what otherwise would’ve been an elimination game for the Celtics.

Brown’s surprising contribution aside, what had been an increasingly ugly defensive struggle of a series turned absolutely frenzied during the fourth quarter. LeBron James (45 points) and Paul Pierce (41) engaged in a duel to the death that culminated in the kitchen-sink toss in of the two megastars sprawled across the Garden floor, fighting for a loose ball. Comparisons to Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins are being tossed around this evening, and fair ’nuff, as I’m sure this was the sort of game we’ll be talking about in twenty years. For the Cowherdian ilk who continue to insist the Association hasn’t been the same since Bird/Magic/Jordan retired, or even funnier, that the college game is better, I submit this is no longer a matter of opinion. You’re fucking nuts. It took 27 quarters , but a basketball game finally broke out Sunday afternoon. A cursory glance at the 5 remaining playoff contenders suggests we’re not done being blessed.

And yeah, I’d watch a Pistons/Spurs final, too.