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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Boston Celtics will beat you and you will do nothing about it


Sitting at the TD Garden last night with my girlfriend as the Boston Celtics took on the Atlanta Hawks, there was only one thing to say after Boston's balanced 102-90 win: this team is a machine.

With Rajon Rondo out for a few weeks nursing his ankle injury, Nate Robinson (14 points, 5 assists, 3 steals) and Paul Pierce (15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) took over ball-handling duties and did a fine job as the Celts (21-4) won their 12th straight.

Clearly, not having Rondo for a prolonged period of time is not a recipe for success but this squad has more depth than they did two years ago or last year and most importantly, Kevin Garnett (17 points, 14 rebounds) is back to being the Big Ticket and not another washed up veteran.

Ray Allen added 18 points and five assists, Semih Erden scored 10 points (as Shaq took another night off) and Glen Davis - Mr. Sixth Man of the Year - notched 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

When Von Wafer exited with a back injury, the Celtics were left with nine healthy players. Yikes. That meant some run for Avery Bradley, who got abused repeatedly by Jeff Teague (18 points) and Luke Harangody, who did hit two jumpers.

The Hawks (16-11) hung around for awhile but with two of their studs - Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford - out and Josh Smith (1 point in 34 minutes) looking like Ben Wallace's dad, they were bound to fail.

Marvin Williams had a career-high 26 points for Atlanta, Mike Bibby had 11 points and Zaza Pachulia was the only other guy in double-figures with 10 points which is always a good sign.

Boston was up 22-20 after one quarter and 44-43 at halftime. It only took one real run in the third quarter (31-26) for the Celtics to build enough of a lead to hang on. They also played well in the fourth quarter (27-21).

For the game, both teams shot at a high percentage (Boston 53.0% to Atlanta's 50.0%). The Cs had three more 3-pointers (6-3) but the Hawks made way more free throws (19-8) and four more rebounds (37-33). Boston won because of their passing (28-16 in assists), two more steals (12-10) and six less turnovers (18-12). A 50-36 points in the paint advantage also helped their cause.

The Celts will try and get a little more healthy (can't believe I have to worry about Wafer) before they host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon.

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