Note: It's St. Patrick's Day, I love Ray Allen's sneakers, I'm Irish, so humor me with the picture.
Tonight's game reminded me of those first games in the beginning of the season when the Celtics had their game on - it was certainly back on tonight. The first quarter was especially nice to watch - great passing, efficient ball handling, excellent rebounding efforts. Though Paul Pierce would have to sit after committing a second foul in the first two minutes of the game, he would be back to make up for that in the second quarter. The first points scored were a three-point play for Kendrick Perkins followed quickly by the start of a great game for Kevin Garnett, who sunk one from downtown, and then a bucket for Ray - the C's were quickly off to a good start, and once they had the lead, they kept it for the entire game. Nice. At the end of the first quarter, Boston was shooting 61% and led New York 35-19.
In the first minutes of the second quarter, things got a little messy for a short while, bringing up the all-too-familiar fears of "can we hold this together for an entire game" again, but they soon got back to business and were once more passing the ball effectively and finding the open man. KG had 16 points in the first half, Pierce, who was back in the game for the start of the second quarter had 13 points, and Perk & Ray both put up 9 apiece. There was a time in that quarter when the C's only had a single-digit lead, but by the half the Celtics were up by 19 points, 68-49.
In the third quarter, Pierce scored another 16 points, and Boston cruised to a 21-point lead, 92-71. They were up by as many as 27 points about mid-way through the quarter, and one example of how well they did offensively may be that they kept the lead so high while also committing 19 turnovers, 12 of those in the second half. In that respect, I guess it wasn't exactly like those early games this season, but still - nice.
Fourth quarter play was for the Boston bench, and Nate Robinson, Shelden Williams and Marquis Daniels each did their part... Nate and Shelden both with 8 points tonight and Marquis with 10. Though Glen Davis didn't score, he did come up with 6 rebounds... Rasheed scored all of his 7 points in the first half, and Michael Finley had a tough night - 1 for 9. Of notable mention as well were Rondo's 12 assists (he scored only 5 points) and Perkins' great defensive play with 12 rebounds. Though the second string players were able to hang onto the lead, it continued to go down as the time went on, with a final score not reflective of the majority of the game. The final score was 109-97.