The Celtics are finding out that these former also ran teams are improving and
This was a satisfying win for the Celtics because they go home for a week and withstood the challenge of an emerging team that was more athletic than they were.
Paul Pierce -- Pierce scored early and then he came back and scored late and he delivered just in time with a runner with 48.5 left for a four-point lead.
Kevin Garnett -- Saddled with foul trouble, Garnett was limited early but came back in the fourth and played quality minutes and wowed the fans with an alley-oop dunk. And he was able to stay on the court despite four fouls midway through the third quarter.
Kendrick Perkins -- Perk was frustrated by the officials and playing against burly Marc Gasol but still dropped in a key bucket for a 101-95 lead with 3:44 left.
Ray Allen -- 5 for 6 on 3 pointers, 1 for 7 on 2-pointers. Just one of those nights but he is always a threat and his silky shot falls more often than not.
Rajon Rondo -- Rondo was his normal self with 18 points and nine assists. He was steady on the court against counterpart Mike Conley and kept the Celtics close in the first half.
Rasheed Wallace -- Sheed gave the fans a clinic in post moves, hitting five buckets in the paint. He also played good defense against Zach Randolph and his 3-pointer gave the Celtics a 92-87 lead with 9 minutes left.
Eddie House -- Scored some key baskets but the offensive didn't flow as well with him at point guard. Just one assist in 16 minutes.
Shelden Williams -- Five rebounds in 12 minutes but still needs to improve at finishing. But he is a useful resource off the bench.
Tony Allen -- Made some plays and got to some loose balls in his 15 minutes. He is getting more comfortable and will be an asset with Marquis Daniels out.