There were two things about last night's victory by the Boston Celtics over the Miami Heat that struck a nerve. One was in the last minute when Paul Pearce had the ball and he was being guarded by Lebron James. James is arguably the most incredibly athletic phenom in the league, perhaps in any league. Pearce, like the rest of the Celtics, is considerably older than James and he lacks James' natural athletic prowess. But, he stared James down, took a step back and launched a three-point shot that caught nothing but net. The ball came off of his fingers but the shot originated in his heart.
The second thing that stood out was what transpired at every time out. As a team, the Celtics went to their bench. On the other side of the court, five individuals walked to their bench. The Celtics are a team, they play as a team, they have some extraordinary talent but their greatest talent is that they play as a team. The Heat, on the other hand, seem like five separate sub-contractors, brought together to work on a common project but never quite functioning as a team.
If you live in Miami, you can and should be rooting for your team. But, for the rest of the nation, hoping that the Heat lose is almost a moral obligation. The Celtics, like the city they represent, lack the pizzazz of the Miami heat. Instead, they have grit. And, if last night is any indication, grit may yet win this tournament.