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If you’re Al Jefferson’s mom…first watch out for Delonte West. (ZING!) Second, you had to be pretty disappointed in your son’s performance Friday night in his return to Boston. You also have to be jealous of Ray Allen’s mom, who watched her baby boy and his Celtics demolish the Jazz, winning 110-86 in a game that really was never close.
Big Al shot an embarrassing 1-11 from the field, but he managed to score 7 points, grab five rebounds, and block three shots. His uninspired play trickled throughout the whole team, as leading scorer Deron Williams tallied just 5 points, 6 assists, and 5 turnovers while matched up against Rajon Rondo. It also doesn’t help that your leading scorer came off the bench and finished with just 12 points (C.J. Watson). Yikes.
The Celtics, meanwhile, scored 30 points in the first quarter and never looked back. Kevin Garnett led the way with 21 points and three steals, while Paul Pierce pitched in 20 points (3-3 from beyond the arc) and two blocked shots. Allen scored 11 points while Rondo finished with 12 assists as all starters played less than 31 minutes. Doc Rivers was able to limit them early in the second half.
With the starters resting, the bench saw significant minutes, including Semih Erden, who was pressed into service at center after Shaquille O’Neal left the game with a hip injury. He will not play in the team’s game on Saturday in Washington.
“It’s like a soap opera,” Garnett told reporters. “You’ve got to be ready on this team. You never know who’s going to go down.”
Erden, who started the second half with the other regular starters, stepped up in Shaq’s absence, finishing with a career-high 14 points (5-5 shooting). He also grabbed 7 rebounds to go with 6 steals and a block.
“We’re probably going to need (Erden), probably over the next couple of games,” Rivers told reporters. “It forces you to play harder when you play with that group because Kevin’s out there and he demands it.”
Glen Davis added 15 points and 7 rebounds.
The Celtics will travel without Shaq to Washington for a game against the Wizards Saturday night.