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Last night’s game, in which the Celtics beat the Nets 91-69 to improve to 7-0, was probably the most important win of the season. Yes, more important than the overtime win against Toronto.
In this game, the Big Three combined to score just 45 of the team’s 91 points (Garnett had 16, Pierce had 15, and Allen had 14). Three other players contributed big to give the C’s six players in double figures. For a while, the Celtics had one or none of the Big Three for a stretch of the third quarter. When Garnett left the game with foul trouble, the C’s were only ahead 54-46. The Nets were hanging tight and closing the lead…
Then, the C’s pulled away fast with help from James Posey, Tony Allen and the rest of the bench. By the time Garnett returned to the floor with a little more than 7 minutes remaining, the C’s were up big, 74-58.
To know the Celtics can still win even though none of the Big Three were as effective as they usually are is huge. All you heard in the preseason was that the Celtics don’t have enough depth…their bench isn’t good enough. I agree the C’s need a backup big man, but otherwise it would appear they are just fine.
They were without sixth man Eddie House as he nursed his sore ankle. Despite the loss, the C’s bench and role players came up large in the rout of the Nets. Kendrick Perkins did his part scoring 10 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and blocking 4 shots. Rajon Rondo also did well, adding 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in the effort.
When you have 3 other players besides the Big Three scoring in double figures, it takes the load off the stars. The bench’s good playing really was big because it came on the 2nd day of a back-to-back, which are historically difficult to play in.