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The Celtics took care of business on Friday night, easily beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 116-89. Boston was down by 3 at the half, but outscored Philadelphia by 30 points the rest of the way. Ray Allen led the C’s in points again with 23 points and also added 6 assists. With the win, the C’s improve to a still-NBA best 32-6 record.
The 76ers just played a really sloppy game. In addition to 23 turnovers, the team shot 2-10 (20%) from 3-pt land, and just 19-33 (57.6%) from the FT line. Despite the 27-point loss, the 76ers shot 45.3% from the field and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds (39 overall). The C’s lost the battle of the boards yet again, but still blew out Philly. How could that happen?
Well, it helps that the Celtics finally busted out of their offensive and shooting funk. Even without the injured Rajon Rondo, the C’s still scored 116 points with 6 players in double figures. The team shot 58.9% from the field, 14-22 (63.6%) from downtown, and 16-21 (76.2%) from the FT line.
Filling in for Rondo, guard Eddie House chipped in 15 points (11 in the fourth quarter), 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. He hit 3-4 from 3-pt land. House and Tony Allen split the duty at the point, with rookie Gabe Pruitt seeing a little action. Pruitt played 9 minutes and had 3 points and 1 assist. Personally, I think Pruitt should’ve had more minutes, but I’ll admit it was a close game heading into the fourth quarter. You got to have your best out there in crunch time.
House played well, but I wouldn’t say he’s a true point guard. I think the only true PG that can contribute now is Rondo, but he’s currently out with back and hamstring injuries. There’s news out of Memphis that the Grizzlies may be cutting ties with PG Damon Stoudamire. His addition would be extremely significant. More on my reaction to the Stoudamire will come later…
The next game for the Celtics is Monday night against the New York Knicks, who are somehow starting to show life under Isiah Thomas. They’re still last in the Atlantic Division with a 13-27 record, but they’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10 games which is definitely an improvement. Believe it or not, Jamal Crawford is “emerging” as a top-scoring threat with the Knicks.
Crawford has averaged 21.3 ppg in January. Now, it’s being reported that Isiah wants to make Crawford, a shoot-first player, the team’s starting PG. Interesting…Celtics by 15.