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Celtics Disarm Warriors

Perk slams home two of his 13 points against Golden State. (Steve Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images)

Glance at the final score of Wednesday night’s 109-95 victory over the Golden State Warriors, and you might think the Boston Celtics coasted to an easy win at home at the TD Garden.

Coming off two consecutive, stunning losses, the Warriors (3-7) matchup was just what the doctor (or Doc) ordered. But until there were four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the game was very much in doubt. Playing against another younger, more athletic, fast-paced team, the Celtics defense was once again a step slow most of the night. After the losses to Atlanta and Indiana, it looked like deja vu all over again.

At the half, Golden State trailed by just one, 49-48. And for the first four minutes of the third, the Warriors, playing with just eight men due to injury, wouldn’t go away. At the 8:48 mark, two Corey Maggette free throws (game high 23 on 8-13 shooting) tied things up at 55.

And that’s when the Warriors’ legs gave out. Playing the second of back-to-back road games, the finale of a five game road trip, and with only three substitutes available, the highest scoring team in the NBA simply ran out of gas.

The Celtics took advantage, led by aggressive offensive play by Rajon Rondo (another stellar night with 18 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds), and went on a 12-0 run. The Green never looked back, and their lead never shrunk lower than nine points the rest of the way.

And so, the Celtics ended up with what appears to be a cushy, 14-point win. But for those watching the game, it was another cause for alarm. The basic formula for beating Boston is clear: push the pace all night. It’s what Phoenix, Atlanta, and Indiana did. And it’s what Golden State did for most of three quarters, until the road weary, depleted squad ran out of gas.

The Celtics are lucky they did.

Notes:

  • The Warriors entered the contest as the league leader in total points (111 per game) and fast break points. Unfortunately, the Warriors play all-star defense—as in the non-existent defense on display at the annual NBA All-Star Game. The Warriors give up a league worst 113 points per game.
  • Kendrick Perkins appears incapable of catching the ball in the low post and going straight up with the ball. Whether he’s covered or wide open, he’ll throw one, two, sometimes even three slow-motion pump fakes…which rarely fake anyone out.
  • The Celtics desperately need to get more aggressive on the boards. Only Golden State averages fewer team rebounds per game with 38.
  • Boston also has to start taking care of the ball and playing pressure defense. The Celtics are the second worst team in the league in regard to Turn Over Differential at -2.45. Once again, only Golden State is worse. It’s a combination of turning the ball over too much, sixth worst in the league with 16.81 TOs per game, and not forcing enough turnovers, 19th in the NBA with 14.36.

About Sharkey

I was 11 years old when the ball scooted through Buckner's wickets, a moment that is laser-etched in my mind: In my living room, on the floor in front of the TV, ready to burst as the Sox needed just one more out, one more strike, to become World Series champs. Mets players sat with slumped shoulders and dejected looks in the dugout. Even the scoreboard operator recognized the game, and the series, was over, posting on the jumbotron: Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions. "They did it!" I said, unable to contain myself. "The Sox won it all!" My father, sitting behind me on the couch with a furrowed brow, knew better. "It's not over yet." And so it was. Having watched the Sox, Celts, and Pats for the past three decades, I truly feel like I've seen it all. I hope to bring that type of perspective as I write about the three teams I love.

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Discussion

One comment for “Celtics Disarm Warriors”

  1. Sharkey – that was an absolutely perfect description of the game. There’s clearly something wrong with the way the Celts are approaching games all of a sudden. It’s like watching Roy Jones Jr., the great, seemingly invincible boxer, suddenly get old one night- virtually without warning- and become a foil for younger fighters. The Celts continued to look old until the end of the third quarter, as you said, and were damned lucky to win that game against a depleted Warrior squad.
    I am not looking forward to Friday’s game at all. I’m really afraid of what Orlando might do to the Celts, even though they have injury problems of their own. Hope I’m wrong, but the Celts are just going through the motions.

    Posted by Ken | November 19, 2009, 4:45 pm

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