Kevin Garnett had been hot all night. It was as if he picked up a newspaper this morning and it was dated 2004. So with the score knotted at 103 and just 28 seconds on the clock, Paul Pierce kicked the ball out of the paint and in one fluid motion, KG gently placed the ball in the hoop from 18 feet out.
A close game from the start, neither team seemed to find much separation. Boston pushed out to a six point lead with 1:45 to go, but two straight Nate Robinson layups brought it to the final tie.
After Garnett's long jumper at the shot-clock buzzer gave Boston the two point lead, Golden State had five seconds to get a basket, but Robinson clanged a three with Avery Bradley at his feet.
Once again the Celtics were on the road in a close game with a young and speedy team, and once again they fought and showed the resiliency of an aging group that wants to give it one more go-round.
Garnett was every bit the star throughout the game that he was at the end, finishing 11-14 for 24 points, to go along with seven boards and five assists. Stars Pierce (5-17, 15pts) and Ray Allen (2-7, 7pts) were not at their best, so Brandon Bass filled the void and more by pouring in 22 points and nine rebounds.
It was the Celtics reserves who seemed to create the most separation, building a small lead at the start of the second quarter and adding onto a lead early in the fourth. Mickael Pietrus promptly exited his shooting slump by nailing five of six from behind the arc for 15 points.
For the moment Greg Steimsma put thoughts of Chris Kaman out of fans' minds with a very solid performance. The Celtics' backup center did not miss a shot from the field or charity stripe en route to an eight point and eight rebound night. Even more telling was Steimsma's +/- of +9.
An underrated part of the game was once again Rajon Rondo (8pts, 14ast, 6rb), who made two or three of what will possibly end up being the best passes of this NBA season. Early on, as you can see in the above photo, Rondo rose in the paint amidst a cloud of three defenders, viewed the basket and chucked a behind the back pass to Allen in the corner. The ball hit Ray on the numbers before he drained the three.
Old friend Robinson was his usual streaky self. His play both lifted and hindered the Warriors chances. Nate was able to get to the basket with ease late, but then hoisted multiple bad threes which played right into Boston's hands. He finished with 20 points and 11 assists.
I'm not sure there is anyone in California happier that Monta Ellis was moved than Klay Thompson. The rookie went off for a career high 26 points on 9-16 shooting. David Lee also contributed 22 points and eight rebounds.
With the 76ers loss, Boston moved to within 1.5 games of first place in the Atlantic Division. Next up the Celtics have another back to back. They will play at Sacramento Friday night and then head straight to Denver for a game with the Nuggets Saturday night.
It was a very busy day in the NBA and here on Celtics Life. Some of the day's posts may have been lost in the shuffle. Here is a chronological list of today's stories:
Let the Celtics know that you want Paul Pierce to remain a Celtic for life: http://www.celticslife.com/2012/03/paul-pierce-needs-to-remain-celtic-for.html
Sports Illustrated sat down with former Celtics star Antoine Walker, now playing in the NBDL:
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, CSNE still thinks Ray Allen is the most likely Celtic to go:
Preview for this game against Golden State:
CelticsLife's favorite potato chip mascot called it quits with the Knicks today:
Dwight Howard is doing his best John Kerry impersonation and is now likely to be traded by tomorrow:
The New Orleans Hornets seem to think Boston is interested in trading for center Chris Kaman:
The Celtics' front court took another major hit when it was announced that Chris Wilcox will miss the season with heart problems: http://www.celticslife.com/2012/03/chris-wilcox-officially-out-for-season.html
Let the rumors fly, we ask you what minor moves you'd like to see made. Maybe a return of Leon Powe or Semih Erden? http://www.celticslife.com/2012/03/thoughts-before-trade-deadline-bring.html Walsh 3/15/2012 01:20:00 AM Tweet Edit