Boston coach Doc Rivers had high praise for his point guard, Rajon Rondo, before the start of Game 4. Rondo was the starting point guard when the Celtics won the title in 2008. At the time just 22, Rondo displayed skills that were already advanced.
Rivers, himself a guard in his playing days, said that Rondo's mind is what makes him special.
"He's one of the smartest players that I've ever been around. Sometimes he's too smart," Rivers said. "But when he's right, he's good. His IQ is unbelievable."
Rondo, 26, is definitely right these days. He's averaging 16 points, 12.9 assists, 6.6 rebounds, and almost three steals per outing through eight playoff games.
"We laugh a lot because sometimes I'll call a play and he's already called it," Rivers said. "It's nice to have a guy who wants to think the game for the team. He never thinks 'what play works for me.' He's always thinking about what works for the team."
Who would have thought that one of the turning points in the series would happen in Miami? Collins did.
When Indiana tied and ultimately took a lead in its series with the Miami Heat, Collins talked of how that may be great motivation for the Celtics, knowing that if they advanced, they wouldn't have to face the Heat. He reiterated that point Friday.
"The teams that have championship aspirations, they want to play as few games as possible because the more games you play, the more chance of injury," Collins said. "I think that they felt like when Derrick Rose got hurt and then Joakim Noah [for the Chicago Bulls], that the bracket had opened up for them. . . . Then all of the sudden [Miami Heat forward Chris] Bosh gets hurt.
"There's no question that [the Celtics] are thinking big picture."
Collins is a die-hard family man and surrounds himself with his wife and kids and grandkids as often as he can.
While this playoff jaunt continues for his young team, however, he'd prefer family time be put on hold, though he knows that's nearly impossible and highly improbable.
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett spoke the other day of his playoff routine, which includes getting rehab, working out, eating, and sleeping. Everything else, he says, gets put on hold until the playoffs are over. Collins appreciates that kind of commitment.
"I think sometimes with a younger team you want to take away some of the distractions," said Collins. "But you have a lot of people come in, and you feel like you've got to spend a lot of time with them.
"After you've been in this league a long time, at this point in time, you realize you have to get that rest and stuff."
For the third straight game, Celtics guard James Silas was active instead of forward Craig Brackins. Brackins is a former first-round pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Silas, a free-agent signing in April, spent most of last season in the D-League.
Contact John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.
Daily News staff writer Bob Cooney contributed to this article.