|Glen Davis, who scored 9 points off the bench, can't keep the Warriors' Andris Biedrins at arm's length in the first half. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)|
Before the Celtics met the Warriors last night, statisticians made certain reference books were in place and the Elias Sports Bureau's telephone number was handy.
They did not have to wait long to start researching and making calls, the Warriors' up-tempo style and lack of defense contributing to a fast start.
First, the Celtics' superlatives. They set season highs for first-quarter scoring (35 points) and for a game in a 119-111 victory.
They also had several lows: surrendering the most points in a half (67) since the Warriors scored 69 in a 119-117 win Feb. 20; allowing the most points in an opening half since Charlotte scored 68 March 14, 2005; allowing the most points in a quarter (39) since Jan. 20, 2007 at Washington.
The Warriors accelerated the pace to a greater extent than the Celtics (14-2, six successive wins) are used to. The Celtics set a season high for first-quarter points (32) in a 118-103 win at Toronto Sunday, but that was slow-motion compared with last night's opening quarter.
And it wasn't until after halftime that the Celtics gained control, Rajon Rondo scoring half their points in a 32-16 third quarter.
"We had six deflections in the first half, we had 17 in the second half," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
"Same team - it's amazing. I thought it started with Rondo picking it up, picking up ball pressure, just attacking, using his speed."
The Celtics faltered after the starters began departing late in the first quarter. Rondo left after giving the Celtics a 34-24 lead with 1:53 to go - the Celtics then went almost eight minutes without a field goal. The Warriors took a 67-54 halftime lead - topping the season high for a Celtic opponent for points in a half (55) and a quarter (34) set by Milwaukee Nov. 15.
"I thought we started out the game great, the first six or eight minutes," Rivers said. "Then, I thought we got infatuated with scoring, and it became a scoring contest. I thought our bench came in and had that feeling. Our bench has been phenomenal all year; [last] night, I thought they came in with the thought they were going to try to score.
"And that's when Golden State got going."
Corey Maggette (32 points) and Stephen Jackson (30) led the way for the Warriors, becoming the first opposing players to score 30-plus points against the Celtics this season.
Rondo sparked the Celtics' to a 65-44 second-half advantage.
But the Celtics did not take control until late in the third quarter. Paul Pierce's flip in the lane capped a 28-14 Celtic run as they regained the lead, 82-81, with 1:40 left. Rondo's foul shot stretched the advantage to 86-83 with 0.4 seconds left.
The Warriors, though, continued to launch from long distance, taking a 91-90 lead in the final quarter after a Maggette 3-pointer with 10:47 left.
The Celtics' bench provided only four field goals, the first on a Glen Davis 3-point play with 8:51 remaining. That was followed by Jackson and Jamal Crawford (18 points) 3-pointers in the next 54 seconds, providing Golden State with a 101-97 advantage with 7:57 to play. In the next 1:04, Ray Allen (25 points) hit a 3-pointer and Tony Allen followed a Kevin Garnett airball with a 3-point play and a 103-102 lead the Celtics would not relinquish.
"When you get that team going, it's tough to shut them off," Rivers said. "They are free as a bird, they're shooting jumpers all over the place, they're driving, they spread the floor. Once that happened, I knew it would be a dogfight the rest of the game - because when you get scorers feeling good about themselves, there's no defense that's going to turn them off.
"So, we had to rely offensively. But it's a good lesson for us - you can't, that offensive stuff. I thought our bench was just sitting there watching the starters score. But what they missed was the starters were getting stops first to score. It was a good lesson."