I have a pit in my stomach.
Boston was up 12 points at halftime, and lost by 8 points, 93-85. In the third quarter, they were outscored 29-12. Paul Pierce had 8 turnovers, and Kevin Garnett had zero second half points.
The knife in my heart? Chris Paul didn’t even play. The All-Star Game couldn’t come any sooner for a team that is 9-13 in their last 22 games.
The statistics and the storyline are familiar. Boston turned the ball over 23 times; Boston was out-rebounded 47-37; Boston forgot to wake up from a halftime team nap in time for the third quarter.
“Our defense was horrible in the third quarter,” Doc was Rivers was quoted as saying by the NBA.com Celtics Twitter account.
In our Celtics game preview, Jay predicted a lopsided point guard matchup with Hornets star Chris Paul out with a knee injury. He was right, but the matchup favored rookie Darren Collison. After a rough start that led to 10 turnovers, Collison rebounded for 25 points- 13 of them coming in the fourth-quarter- and nine assists. Rajon Rondo recorded 7 points and 4 assists.
Morris Petersen also played a crucial role in the Hornets win, recording a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Peja Stojakovic added four 3-pointers on his way to 20 points, and David West was good for 15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists.
The lone bright spot in such a dark game for the Boston Celtics was their bench, which contributed 40 points and 14 rebounds. Marquis Daniels (14 points), Glen Davis (9 pts, 4 rebs), and Rasheed Wallace (13 pts, 5 rebs) were especially effective.