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The Celtics improved to 16-0 against the Western Conference with a 98-90 win against the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. Even more amazing is that the Celtics played without the services of Kevin Garnett (6’11”) and Kendrick Perkins (6’10”). In their place, the Celtics got big contributions from Glen “Big Baby” Davis (6’9″) and Leon Powe (6’8″) as both men helped neutralized a taller and smarter Tim Duncan.
It seemed everyone picked their game up in the absence of Garnett and Perkins. Paul Pierce scored a game-high 35 points in the win, shooting 11-18 from the field. Ray Allen added 19 points, and Rajon Rondo had 5 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. Davis played a career-high 33 minutes, scoring 9 points and pulling down 8 rebounds. The Celtics won the battle of the boards in convincing fashion without their big men, 46-37.
In the interest of fairness, the Spurs were without Tony Parker and Brent Berry (though his loss is not that significant). When in the lineup, Parker has been very good, averaging 19.2 points and 6.1 assists per game. His loss is rather significant. Though I’m sure he’s enjoying his rest at home with Eva Longoria. His replacement, Jacque Vaughn, played OK in Parker’s absence, scoring 8 points.
Kevin Garnett will now reportedly miss the All-Star Game, as well is the two games before it while he rests his strained abdominal muscle. I’m glad KG is getting his rest, because we’ll need a healthy version of Garnett if we want a chance to get to the NBA Finals. It doesn’t seem to matter lately though, as the Celtics are 5-2 in his absence.
Next up is a game on the road against the Pacers on Tuesday. It will be the second-to-last game before the All-Star break. I’m sure the players will love their break, but first they have business at hand: try to get to 41 wins before the All-Star Game.