|Francona Wins Big in Return to Fenway||Connelly’s Top Ten: Rask Falls on Face||Bruins Lose 4-3 in OT as Rangers Fight to Stay Alive||For the Bulletin Board: Lundqvist’s “Lucky Bounces,” Savard’s “#ByeByeTorts”|
The Celtics held off the young Hawks 98-88 in a total team effort. Paul Pierce led the charge with 30 points while Kevin Garnett poured in 20 points and 10 rebounds and Ray Allen added 17 points. Rajon Rondo helped the Big Three with a team-high 8 assists.
The real star of the game was Kendrick Perkins, who had his first double-double of the season. He had 11 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 blocked shots. When Perk is hot, he tends to stay out of foul trouble and do it on both sides of the floor. During the third quarter surge when the Celtics started down by 3 and finished up by 4 (and as much as 11 during the quarter), I remember a few instances when KG or Pierce found a wide open Perkins right under the hoop. I don’t know how the opposition can keep leaving him unguarded (better him than KG, Pierce or Allen I suppose).
The stats of the game are easy to dissect as the Celtics won the battle of the boards (48-43) and at shooting (44.6% – 39.5%). The discrepancies aren’t that big, but large enough to get the job done. The Hawks were tough competition for much of the game. All night, the Celtics would build a double-digit lead only to see it go down to 3 again.
The Celtics, while they keep winning, have not been as impressive as earlier in the year. It seems that the team can just turn on the jets whenever they need to score. They’re so good, they can start and stop playing well whenever they please. Against teams like the Hawks, that’s fine. But against the elite teams of the NBA, that just wont do it.
Everyone, including players, coaches, and fans, were definitely looking ahead to Wednesday’s showdown with the Detroit Pistons (sorry for the disrespect, Atlanta). The Pistons remain just 3 games behind the Celtics for the best record in the NBA. This will also be the final regular season matchup between the teams. Both teams have won the road game in the series, and this one will be played in Boston. Advantage? Celtics. Despite losing to Detroit in Boston earlier in the season, there truly is no place like home in the NBA.