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For the majority of the game, it appeared that Phoenix was laying down. Then, that completely reversed, but Boston managed to hold on and managed to win 115-103. A 10-0 run by Boston, to go up 16-8, forced a Phoenix timeout 3:51 in. Phoenix cut the lead to 18-15 before Boston resumed their run. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Celtics had put the lead back up to double digits, 32-21.
From there, Boston continued climbing. They got the lead up to 17, but Phoenix got it down to 10. Boston got it climbing again, and led by 20 for the first time when Rajon Rondo hit a jumper at the buzzer. Of greater interest in the quarter was with 21.6 seconds left. After Rondo hit a layup, Steve Nash was called for a technical foul for mouthing off. He then proceeded to go on a profanity-laced tirade down the court. However, a second technical was not called. As Tommy Heinsohn noted when comparing it to future technicals, Nash was allowed to get away with a lot more than he should have been.
4:26 into the next half, Paul Pierce helped continue Boston’s lead extension with a dunk, was called for a technical for no real reason. It was officially for taunting via staring; Pierce didn’t move towards anyone, didn’t celebrate, didn’t even move and didn’t even stare very badly. The CSN-NE crew chalked it up to green officials.
Of greater concern for everyone was with about five minutes remaining in the 3rd, when Phoenix’s Vince Carter and Channing Frye collided heads when jockeying for position with Kevin Garnett while waiting for the inbounds pass. When play finally stopped, both men were attended to, and neither returned to the game. Carter, who was down for a noticeably longer amount of time, was diagnosed with a mouth laceration; Frye had an eye contusion.
Boston went on to extend their lead to as much as 29, and with two minutes left in the quarter, Ray Allen put Boston up 91-63. Pay attention to the score and time, because that’s when all of New England started to get quite nervous. Phoenix scored nine straight points to cut the lead to 91-72 to end the 3rd.
In the 4th, Phoenix just kept coming, and Boston kept letting them do it. Phoenix scored another nine straight points, to make it an 18-0 run and cut the lead to 91-81. Glen Davis finally hit a pair of free throws with 8:17 left, Boston’s first points in 5:43. After Phoenix reduced the lead to single digits, Rondo’s jump shot put Boston back up 95-85; it was Boston’s first field goal in 7:03.
With Boston managing to stabilize the lead at 10, give or take, for the remainder of the game, that’s when you really started to notice the poor officiating manifest itself, which is way too prevalent against the Celtics. Boston was getting called for a lot of fouls when they shouldn’t have been, while Phoenix was getting away with just as much. Still, Boston kept the lead at about the same level.
Meanwhile, with 49.3 seconds left, Glen Davis hit a dunk, but came down limping. Phoenix had called a timeout without noticing, so Davis was able to get immediate attention. He limped down the court a bit, then laid down to wait for help before being escorted to the locker room under his own power. The incident drew comparisons to Kevin Garnett’s similar occurrence a few months back. Davis will have an MRI on Thursday, so stay tuned for the results.
By that point, the game was firmly in Boston’s grasp. But that didn’t stop KG for getting a technical with 16.2 seconds left, for some reason which was never explained. With .4 seconds left, Rondo was fouled rather roughly considering the lead at the end of the game while shooting a three. Some were upset at Rondo shooting with the shot clock turned off, but Tommy Heinsohn thought it should have been called a flagrant foul. Players always take practice shots during breaks between plays and just after whistles, so nobody really should have taken offense with the shot, and the foul was awfully close to Rondo’s head. In any case, all it really did was slightly extend a lengthy and entertaining game.
In addition to 11 rebounds, Garnett scored a season high 28 points, thanks to a very good 12/14 from the field and perfect 4/4 from the line.
In his debut, Murphy played 14:11. But he went 0/3 from the field, and scored just one point. He also had two shot attempts in a row blocked, by the same guy, no less.
Don’t hurt Rondo! Or we’ll come and get you!” – Tommy Heinsohn, after Rajon Rondo was fouled and went to the ground with 3:09 left in the 1st half.