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A team without Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce played Saturday night against the Bobcats. The Celtics also basically played that way last year, finishing with 24 wins (Pierce missed a huge chunk of the season with an ankle injury). This year, it was a different result. Playing in their first game without the entire Big Three, the Celtics dominated the Bobcats in a 101-78 final.
Leon Powe had a game-high 22 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 2 steals. James Posey started and finished with 19 points and 3 rebounds, and Eddie House contributed 16 points off the bench for the Celtics, who clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and the best one-season turnaround in NBA history. They have gone from a 24-win team to 61 wins this season (a difference of +37).
Common starters Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins played at most 25 minutes, but still helped the Celtics attack. Rondo finished with 6 points and 5 assists, while Perk finished with 4 points and 7 rebounds.
P.J. Brown and Sam Cassell got some time in as well, which should serve as a nice tune-up before the playoffs. Brown finished with 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Cassell added 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. I think that Cassell will see some considerable time in the playoffs backing up Rondo, but Brown may be relegated to bench duty as Leon Powe as emerged as a viable option at forward or center.
It’s sad (for the Bobcats) that the Celtics without their Big Three could dominate a professional basketball team. Charlotte sent out Jason Richardson, Raymond Felton, Emeka Okafor, and co. and still were dominated by the likes of Leon Powe, James Posey, and Eddie House.
Next up is another easy game against the Bucks. Expect the Big Three to sit or play minimal minutes again as the C’s coast for the rest of the season.