It certainly wasn’t pretty but the Celtics weren’t looking for pretty, they were seeking results and they grinded out a 95-92 win over the Sacramento Kings that was as good of a defensive effort as we have seen in weeks from the men in Green.
The Celtics won despite scoring 38 points in the second half, but they allowed Sacramento just 40 on 14 for 41 shooting (34 percent) and just 12 points in the paint after giving up 18 in the first half. Boston was porous at times offensively. The starters were 8 for 24 from the field in the second half with five turnovers but the defense was so strong that Boston won by getting stops and hitting a couple of big shots.
Boston improved to 22-4 when holding opponents under 44.9 percent shooting, so the key to its success is sustained defensive effort. The only time Doc Rivers looked ready to snap his dry erase board is when Tyreke Evans was allowed to attempt an uncontested 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds left that cut the lead to one.
The Celtics then got four free throws from Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to seal it and Rivers made the astute move of fouling intentionally when the Kings could have tied the game with a 3-pointer. But there is more work to be done. Sacramento could have won the game if it didn’t miss four straight free throws in the final 1:32.
So onto Los Angeles where the Lakers, with or without Kobe Bryant (who didn’t play Tuesday), awaits. We will have the latest reports from L.A. on Bryant’s health.
Paul Pierce — He missed so many open shots it was almost laughable, however, he hit the big one, a 3-pointer with 1:47 left for a 2-point lead they would never give up. And he looks slow on his sore left foot, but it was good enough for nearly 33 minutes.
Kevin Garnett — 9 points and 9 rebounds on a very quiet night for KG. It wasn’t that he was uninterested but he just didn’t have any zip. He attempted just two free throws and seemed frustrated against the Kings’ young big men.
Kendrick Perkins — Perk was just out of his element tonight. He missed five shots and all of them were layups and he was frustrated by Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson.
Ray Allen — One of these days all those open looks are going to fall. Until, then rumors of his demise will continue to persist. He missed 10 shots, five 3-pointers and had just one assists and no rebounds in 33 minutes.
Rajon Rondo — He tried his best against Tyreke Evans but lost this battle. He was 1 for 6 from the field with six assists and seven rebounds and three turnovers. Didn’t really make a big impact on the game.
Rasheed Wallace — Player of the game with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in 24 minutes. He was motivated and kept his mouth shut (as much as he can) when called for a shady foul in the waning minutes.
Marquis Daniels — Did all the little things but missed a couple of layups or short jumpers. He looked more comfortable in the offense and played solid defense against Kevin Martin.
Glen Davis — The Celtics will take 8 rebounds for Davis in 17 minutes every night. He played motivated and used his size and he also produced 3 assists.
Tony Allen — Two fouls and one block in 9 minutes. Played just two minutes in the second half.
Eddie House — He was on with four 3-pointers but had no assists in 16 minutes. The Celtics like his energy and shooting but he is not a point guard.