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Escape from New Orleans: Celtics 89 Hornets 85

 

ESPN Box ScoreHornets 247At The Hive

You could tell Doc Rivers wanted this one.

He shortened his bench, bringing only Jeff Green, Delonte West and Glen Davis (a collective 17-23 from the field and +35 overall) into the game to aid his starting five. And after yet another ghastly opening salvo from the starters (the C’s were down 28-14 after the first quarter), the Celtics pulled themselves together at halftime and played something resembling the basketball we’ve come to expect from them in 2010-11.

In particular, Davis and West brought the team back in the third quarter (the Celtics entered the period trailing by 11 and exited up by 3). Without their energy and intensity, Boston might not have pulled this one back under control.

Encouragingly, the second half featured some recognizably Celtics-y defensive stands which limited New Orleans to 34 points in the final 24 minutes. With every defensive stop, the Celtics seemed to rediscover part of their identity, one they seemed to completely forget during last night’s abomination in Houston. By the fourth quarter, on three key possessions down the stretch, Boston forced a shotclock violation, Kevin Garnett tied up Emeka Okafor to force a jump ball, and then Ray Allen recovered to strip Marco Bellinelli after the Hornets guard took him to the hole.

Those three plays (along with a Garnett 20-foot jumper) seemed to break the will of the Hornets, which wasted an enormous game from David West (44 minutes, 32 points, 8 rebounds). West scored in isolation, off pick and rolls, and drained perimeter jumpers against pretty much anyone the Celtics threw at him. It’s a good thing he’s safely stowed away in the Western Conference.

The offense leaves New Orleans with something to build on. Scoring the ball has been a chore lately (to put it kindly) but the ball movement improved tonight and jumpshots were not the default method of attack (although Rajon Rondo hit a few outside jumpers and looked more like himself). Allen went for 44 minutes and while his defense continues to leave plenty to be desired, he did heat up in the second half on his way to 20 points. Davis also had 20 points and 8 boards including a few momentum turning buckets in the third. Really, only Paul Pierce (1-9) and Nenad Krstic were bad tonight, and Pierce seemed more focused than in recent games, if not exactly more effective.

So, it’s one step forward as the Celtics move into a tie with Chicago for first overall in the Eastern Conference. The key now is not to take two steps back Monday night against the Knicks.

More on this one tomorrow…

  • Zee

    Way to grind out the W.

  • kricky

    Great win, but we need to do a better job of starting games and not getting in a hole early.
    Starters are playing way too many minutes already.

  • someguyinsac

    The bench is looking good, now if the starters would bust their butts just a little harder I'd be happy.

  • http://lovemyceltics.blogspot.com mycelts

    THE BUZZ

    Once again the Cs were looking out of synch,
    Devoted fans don’t know what to think.
    When the players are asked, calm they seem,
    But what has happened to our defensive team?

    61% shooting, a 21-6 run,
    That’s how the Hornets ended Q1.
    New Orleans at the buzzer so many a shot,
    The Hornets’ offense just continued to stay hot.

    Q2 the bench tried to bring some verve,
    Baby and our DWest showed they had nerve.
    As aside that seems important here:
    Baby was a football star, LSU, junior year.

    At the end of Q2 some things are clear, 
    The Cs are settling for jumpers not going in here.
    48% shooting but no defense at all,
    They start to press, it becomes hero ball.

    The Cs are down 11 at the end of Q2.
    Keeping the lead not that hard for Hornets to do.
    Their DWest led in points, Chris Paul’s assists ten,
    Rondo (?) the scoring leader for our Boston men.

    Doc upset with Belinelli’s shots, many threes,
    There is no one on him, he is shooting with ease.
    Q3 Ray Allen for three, and for three!
    Always a beautiful sight to see.

    Every time Baby tried to make a play, 
    The refs would call a foul, never his way.
    But it didn’t stop him, he continued to score, 
    And jutted out his jaw more and more.

    Green with great energy goes right to the hoop
    Q3 seeing some heart from this Celtics group.
    Our DWest starts to feel it, he burns Chris Paul,
    Think he did it on his own, not Doc’s call.

    27-13 Cs outscore ‘em in the third, 
    They take a 3 point lead, “defense” is the word.
    Plus Ray, our DWest and Baby got it going
    The urgent need to win is finally showing!

    Our DWest starts Q4 with a block at one end,
    Then his three point play the Hornets can’t defend.
    Baby owns the defensive glass, has energized the team,
    The bench has kept the Cs in this game it would seem.

    Rondo got hurt some time in Q3,
    When he collided hard with his own guy, KG.
    So our DWest has been running the show,
    With Ray, showing off the give and go.

    Something unusual, six left in Q4,
    Neither Pierce nor Paul have a field goal score.
    Then five and a half left, Paul Pierce for three
    Another beautiful sight to see!!

    Thanks, Mr. Heinsohn, saying refs out to lunch,
    Chintzy fouls on the Cs, they called a bunch.
    At the end of Q4 Doc had Rondo not DWest
    For team morale though DWest was best.

    20 seconds to go, a rebound by Ray,
    Pierce got mugged, no foul his way.
    Then Ray shoved around, think a foul, maybe?
    But, of course, the Hornets rather foul Big Baby.

    He made both free throws, tonight he’s the man,
    Love to see him play like this-we know he can.
    Fifteen down, Cs win, officiating couldn’t be worse
    And the Cs have shaken off that back to back curse.

    Ray had threes tonight, so it must be said, 
    Of Reggie Ray is now 37 ahead.

    lovemyceltics.blogspot.com
    March 19, 2011    10:38pm

  • kricky

    How awesome was BBD tonight?! He's been solid since coming back form that injury.

  • http://lovemyceltics.blogspot.com mycelts

    Yes!

  • Batman

    Rondo's offense looks a little sharper
    But I will cry if he loses the assist tittle

  • James Patrick

    Okay, I know a win is a win, but all together now. What the HELL is wrong with the Celtic starting 5?! Specifically, Paul, KG and Rondo. This is more than just Perk being traded or Rondo's "injury". I dunno. Not too happy now. This could have easily been a defeat!

    • diehardceltic

      Get over it, we got the W so can u just celebrate….sheesh!!! I am also not happy with how we have been doing lately but am glad we could grind out from a 15 point deficit and pull out a W!!!

      • james patrick

        I see the big picture so a W means nothing with that shooting percentage.

        • AussieCeltic

          We shot 51.5% vs Hornets 45.2%. Please explain your problem with this.

  • MICHAELORE

    im not to worried cuz this happens every year after chrismas or the all-star break, but once we hit the play-offs thats when we start cooking with gas. Big Baby steps up, i know for sure that Green is going to play great as well as D-West and even Troy Murphy. in the play-offs we'll have shaq also, even tho he isnt the same big force that he was back in the day, its still a BIG BODY to get around. so when it comes down to it all, im not to worried about my C's unless there is another injury!!!!!!!!!!

    BRING BANNER 18 BACK TO BOSTON 2010-2011

  • Tom W

    Great game, it was really fun to see us play an inspired second half on the second night of a back to back…not characteristic of this season at all.

    Seriously though, is any team in the NBA more whiny than New Orleans? David West complains CONSTANTLY, Chris Paul is the biggest flopper I've ever seen…even their announcers make Tommy himself look fair and balanced. Watching them on League Pass was absolutely painful.

  • Tom W

    Also, watch Garnett when opponents are shooting free throws, it's the most entertaining thing you will see all game. He's all bent over, resting his hands on his knees while they are going through their warm up, then BAM he shoots up like a jack in the box when they are shooting.

    If Garnett wasn't a Celtic, I'd hate him so much. So of course, I love him to death.

  • Dan

    What was up with the Rondo injury? The announcers kept alluding to it but he was back on the the court when I turned ti on.

  • MDftw

    "Ray's defense leaves something to be desired" ????

    wtf… Ray is a damn good defender… you are retarded for saying that

    • AussieCeltic

      Ray was on Bellinelli when he hit most of those early 3s. The guy has a good point there.

  • kricky

    The prob;em with the Big 3 is that they are just tired. Need to cut those minutes for the playoffs,

    Rondo is different. He's in a slump. Not making decisions quick enough. Holding on to the ball yo long. Trouble finishing.

    I just hope that this isn't because teams have figured out how to play him. (By playing off of him, not going for his ball fakes when he drives in the lane, etc.)

  • MICHAELORE

    one thing i forgot to say is that when it comes down to the playoffs our team will have enough playing time with one another and we'll have a BIG 4 as our starters, then we'll have our BIG 3 off our bench BIG BABY DAVIS,JEFF GREEN, D-WEST. NOW DAMN THATS A TEAM

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