TD Garden fans were treated to bonus basketball again Tuesday night, however this one was a near polar opposite to the Knicks battle Sunday afternoon. While in the Sunday showcase the Celtics beat New York 115-111 in OT, this one was a low scoring, defensive battle in which the Celtics eventually prevailed 97-92.
A lengthy scoring drought spanning from the middle of the third quarter into the fourth left Boston down 10 with just over five minutes to play in regulation. From there the defense clamped down and some outstanding passing on the other end led to a wide open Ray Allen corner three that hit nothing but net, giving the Celtics an 84-82 lead with 30 seconds to go.
Goran Dragic then toed the line and drilled a corner two to wrap it up at 84 with 3 seconds left.
Allen got a nice look at an elbow jumper but it banked out, sending both teams to overtime for the second straight game.
Ray and Garnett joined Pierce in double figures with 21 and 13, respectively. Garnett had another double-double with 13 rebounds. Rondo followed up is otherworldly Sunday with a rather pedestrian (by his standards) nine points and 12 assists. Greg Stiemsma's presence was certainly felt for the first time in a while as foul trouble held Chris Wilcox on the bench and a brief trip to the locker room hampered Brandon Bass' night. Stiemsma had eight poins on 4-6 shooting.
Houston had all five starters plus reserve Dragic in double figures. Both Samuel Dalembert and Luis Scola posted double-doubles.
Of the good things to take away from their thrilling victory, rebounding was not one of them. Boston was pulverized on the boards by Dalembert and Scola, 57-38.
Overall it just felt like the experience of knowing where to go with the ball at the right times and when in the game to turn on the pressure won the game for Boston in the end.
Boston improves to 20-17 and travels to play first place Philadelphia tomorrow night at 7. The Celtics trail the 76ers by just one game in the Atlantic Division. Walsh 3/06/2012 10:44:00 PM Tweet