Boston was pushed tonight in its toughest game of the season, New Orleans is going to be a factor in the Western Conference if it plays like this every night but the C’s still won by 10. This was not an impressive performance. The Celtics committed 16 turnovers — for the third time this season — and were shabby in their ball-handling and 3-point defense.
After allowing opponents to hit eight 3-pointers in the first three games, New Orleans responded with 13, six of those by Peja Stojakovic. Chris Paul, meanwhile drove into the paint for layups or dished to Stojakovic. What saved the game for Boston was it shut down New Orleans’ other weapons.
David West proved he is still not an elite power forward, finishing with 10 points and two rebounds in nearly 37 minutes. He appeared intimidated by Kevin Garnett. Emeka Okafor finished 2-for-9 and four fouls while Morris Peterson scored three points in 15 minutes.
It was a two-man show for the Hornets. Stojakovic and Paul scored 48 of New Orleans’ 87 points. One more productive performance may have helped them upset the Celtics.
Paul Pierce — Another masterful night with 27 points in 37 minutes and he continues to hit nearly 60 percent of his 3-point shots. Did a decent job defensively against Stojakovic in the final six minutes. The sharpshooter did not score in the final 6:07.
Kevin Garnett — Fought off foul trouble and created some easier shots for himself than the first three games. He stayed away from the 19-footer and instead took West into the paint and canned some chip shots, a good sign.
Kendrick Perkins — Another workmanlike effort for the big man — 12 points, 7 rebounds — and his defense helped contain Okafor. Would like to see Perk a little more aggressive offensively.
Ray Allen — Of his 15 shots, just three were 3-pointers, meaning he took advantage of his matchup with Morris Peterson instead of settling for long-range shots. His post up game has improved.
Rajon Rondo — Needs to control his emotions against Paul but he still produced 10 assists and three steals. But it was apparent that Paul was in his head and that anger needs to simmer.
Eddie House — Three assists in 12 minutes off the bench and he didn’t try to launch a bunch of shots to make an impact. There are going to be nights when House does one good thing to help the C’s win.
Rasheed Wallace — 12 points and 5 rebounds in perhaps his best effort of the season. Actually made some two-point shots instead of settling for threes and then hit a significant 3-pointer toward the end of the third quarter.
Marquis Daniels — Picked up three fouls and really didn’t have much of an impact. Definitely not able to matchup against Chris Paul.
Shelden Williams — Had a big dunk in the third quarter and grabbed four rebounds but never got into the flow of the game in just 10 minutes. But a solid effort.