The C’s controlled this one from start to finish, cruising behind Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and some impressive play off the bench by Tony Allen to the victory for the shorthanded Nuggets.
Tough to pick a place to start tonight with this team. Do you go with the 31 assists on 44 baskets? The one and only TA, making the most of his opportunity for minutes, making me feel like a prophet for a split second after I clamored for him to get more playing time yesterday? Allen put together 13 points, 10 in the first half, using his energy and terrific defense to help push the C’s to a double digit lead at the half.
How about the engine of this team, Rajon Rondo, putting together his second triple double of the season with a fantastic line of 11 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists in 36 minutes? The guy set the table and attacked the tired Nuggets relentlessly throughout the evening, keeping Denver at bay for the majority of the evening.
Kevin Garnett, despite having some trouble finishing at the room, had as what someone in the press room phrased it, “An Old School KG Line,” with 20 points, 10 boards and 5 assists.
There was some trouble finishing in close for The Big Ticket, but the C’s made up for it on the offensive glass, pounding the Kenyon Martin-less Nuggets for 17 offensive boards, 10 of which came from KG and Rondo alone. The C’s imposed their will in the paint tonight, and the Nuggets, despite some strong shooting from the outside and countless opportunities at free throw line (37 attempts) couldn’t get any closer than 7 in the 2nd half.
The C’s did what they want in this game and they did it well, especially on the offensive end. I haven’t even gotten to The Captain yet, who had a tidy 26 points on 10/16 shooting. Nothing spectacular, just vintage Pierce doing his thing and getting to the bucket and the free throw line at will. Every possession it seemed like Pierce and company were attacking, keeping the younger Nuggets on their heels. It was seemingly a role reversal from the double digit loss in Denver for this same Celtic squad, as the Nuggets had too much firepower for the C’s to handle back then. What a difference a month and a few injuries make.
All in all, as strong of an effort as you could have wanted out of the C’s tonight. They had their way with a shorthanded and tired Denver team and beat the snot out of them all night long, winning the battle for loose balls and keeping their foot on the gas on both sides of the floor. This was an effort we are use to seeing at The Garden and it comes with some great timing with the team setting up shop for 5 more games at TD.
More analysis on the way in the morning hours.