Originally posted on State Of The Celtics  |  Last updated 4/10/12

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 22: Rajon Rondo #4 of Kentucky shoots the ball around the reach of Glen Davis #34 of LSU during the game on January 22, 2005 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 89-58. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The message has officially been sent. The Boston Celtics aren't going anywhere.

Two days after shooting 59 percent in their shellacking of Philadelphia, the Celtics went down to Miami and shot 61 percent en route to dropping 115 points on the fifth-best defensive team in the NBA in terms of opposing teams' shooting percentage and sixth-best in scoring defense. Kevin Garnett was a machine and then some, hitting 11 of his 14 shots, making Chris Bosh cower in fear and singlehandedly closing out the game as he put the Heat to bed, tucked them in and read them their bedtime story. Paul Pierce played efficiently and hit the kind of shots that will eventually send him to the Hall of Fame. Miami, once again, had no answer for Rajon Rondo, although tonight's dominance was much different than the dominance of April Fool's Day. Rondo was methodical, careful and patient in breaking down Miami's defense. He kept the tempo exactly where the Celtics wanted it. Avery Bradley jumpstarted the Celtics early with a couple of makes that finally got them going. The reserves — all three of them — were crucial and actually helped increase Boston's lead in the second quarter.

It was a beautiful offensive performance from the guys who were considered too old to contend just a month a a half ago. Every time Miami made a run and threatened to break through, the Celtics responded with some poised buckets and all-around composure. The defense left much to be desired, but you knew Miami was going to get theirs at some point and Boston was able to keep them in check just enough.

The rest of the league is now on notice. The Celtics have become the team that nobody wants to see in the playoffs. They're not the new favorites to come out of the East, but they've made a strong case that they deserve to be in the conversation with Chicago and Miami.
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