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Wearing a familiar No. 8 (like Antoine Walker before him), Stephon Marbury made his long-awaited debut for the Celtics Friday night. The Celts were without Gabe Pruitt after suspending him two games for his DUI arrest, and needed a backup point guard to step right in. In came Marbury, who actually played pretty well considering the long time he spent away from the game. He finished with eight points, two assists, and one steal in a 104-99 win.
Ray Allen led the way with 30 points for the Green on 11-16 from the field (6-10 from 3pt). Paul Pierce added 16 points while playing with a sprained thumb and Rajon Rondo dished out 17 assists, but the story of the night was Stephon Marbury’s return to the NBA.
“It went the way I was praying for it to go,” said Marbury. “The whole satisfaction of the whole night for me is that we won.”
Marbury was extremely good during a stretch in the fourth quarter, when he scored six points during a key 9-0 run that helped the Celtics put the game away. I was surprised to see Marbury out there for meaninful minutes late in the game, but he delivered despite claiming after the game he had tired legs.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Leon Powe helped fill in admirably for Kevin Garnett. Baby scored 18 points while shooting 6-9 from the field. Powe added 14 points and six rebounds in over 26 minutes off the bench. Garnett’s injury could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It allows Powe and Baby to grow as players and play in big situations during the regular season.
T.J. Ford led the way for Indiana with 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Troy Murphy added 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who shot just 43.7% for the game while playing without Danny Granger. They stayed in the game thanks to an absurd 17 offensive rebounds (the Celtics had just 7).
The Celtics get a day off Saturday before hosting the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.