Sometimes You Have to Win Ugly

The old addage "a win is a win" summarizes my thoughts after tonight's game. Even though it was sloppy, I think it was the most important win for the Celtics this season.  Some may be disappointed it was so close, but I look at this as a positive.  Look, this is the NBA and you are not going to blow out every team by 30.  The fact is, there are going to be 20 more games like tonight's game this year. The great teams win when they are not playing their best.  The Celtics could have easily lost this game and just called it an off night. Instead, they made big shots when they needed to and won ugly.

A win is a win, but that doesn't mean the negatives should be overlooked. This was the worst the Celtics have played all year.  They turned the ball over way too much, and didn't defend the three point line at all.  Also, I don't think they utilized their bench enough.  Marquis Daniels should be playing a lot more, especially early in the season.  You can't expect these guys to come up big in the playoffs  if they are not thrown into tight game situations during the regular season. Why Ray Allen is playing almost 40 minutes a game at this stage of the season baffles me.

I also don't understand why Rasheed settles for so many threes. Sure, he is hitting them at a pretty good clip, but the guy should be on the block shooting his turn around jumper instead of standing out at the three point line all day.  Not only is it a lower percentage shot, but the Celtics lose one of their best rebounders if he is out beyond the arc every possession.
When they weren't turning the ball over or playing lackadasical defense, there were some bright spots tonight. Paul Pierce looks as good as ever, and was able to do what he wanted offensively.  Defensively, he didn't do a good enough job getting around screens, allowing Stojakovic way too many open looks.  At the end of the day though, there are probably only 2 or 3 people that can create their own shot better than Pierce can. 

Along with the solid play of Pierce, the 4th quarter crunch time scoring of Garnett was very encouraging.  In their championship run, whenever the Celtics needed a big basket they threw it into KG and he would deliver.  Even if he doesn't score, running the offense through him creates shots for everyone else.  I think he looked as good physically as he has all season.  He's still getting his legs under him after the surgery, but I really think he will be at full steam again by mid season.

The Celtics played an extremely inconsistent and sloppy game, but at the end of the day they still managed to pull out a win against a underachieving, but still pretty solid Hornets squad.  This team isn't going to win 70 games, and we shouldn't want them to.  The goals for this season are homecourt through the playoffs and an 18th banner.  The NBA season is a marathon and there will always be bumps in the road.  The important thing is how they handle that adversity and I think they showed the true heart of a champion tonight.