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Fans and sports radio hosts have been urging Doc Rivers to limit the minutes of his remaining two healthy stars, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. That’s a tough task for any game, but an even tougher task in a double-overtime game. Pierce and Allen each played more than 46 minutes in a thrilling 111-109 win.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 32 poitns with six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Ray Allen poured in 22 points, and hit a dramatic three-pointer to give the Celtics the two-point win. The Magic lost to the Raptors, so for the moment, Allen’s shot sent the Celtics to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics were down 109-108 with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second OT. Rajon Rondo carried the ball up the court and hit Pierce at the top of the key. Pierce drove toward the hoop and drew two extra defenders, leaving Allen open in the corner. Without hesitation, Pierce dished the ball and Allen shot the three all in one motion. Money in the bank.
Kendrick Perkins, showing a new-found disclipine this season, remarkably played more than 48 minutes and finished with just four fouls. Perk played well too, scoring four points with 12 rebounds and five blocks. Mikki Moore, meanwhile, played just 13 minutes and finished with five personal fouls. See the difference?
Gerald Wallace led a balanced attack with 20 points. Seven Bobcats (Wallace, Raymond Felton, Raja Bell, Emeka Okafor, Boris Diaw, D.J. Augustin, and Vladimir Radmanovic) in all finished in double figures.
The Celts shot significantly better than the Bobcats (53.2% – 46.1%), but allowed the Bobcats hang in the game in other ways. The C’s turned the ball over 24 times and allowed the Bobcats to grab 20 offensive rebounds. Both numbers led to 102 attempted shots for Charlotte (only 77 for Boston), and despite that total, Charlotte somehow only attempted seven foul shots. I call that homecourt advantage.
The Celtics have Thursday off and play Friday night against the Hawks.
Note: Doc Rivers did not play against the Bobcats.