What is the significance of 39? Is it the amount of points Paul Pierce scored last night? Is it the amount of three point shots Rasheed Wallace missed last night? Is it Ben Wallace’s free throw percentage? No- it’s the amount of points the Celtics bench scored last night.
The bench fended off a third quarter surge by the Pistons, by going on a 17- 6 run to start the fourth quarter. Lead by recently acquired Nate Robinson, the bench ensured a win with tough play. They gave the starters some rest, and pulled ahead in the process. During the big run, Boston assisted on each of the six made field goals. The teamwork of the reserves was textbook: the guards penetrated the Piston’s zone and dumped the ball down to the big men. Also, the reserves were 5-6 from threes. Nate Robinson shot incredibly and was four for five from beyond the arch.
While the Celtics shot over fifty percent from the three-point line, the Pistons were 3- 20 on 3-PT FGA. They shot horrifically, and their only consistent scorer was Jonas Jerebko. The Piston’s didn’t have the bench play that the Celtics had tonight. Their bench only scored thirty five points, and didn’t provide the spark that the Celtic’s bench did.
Ben Gordon, who frequently provides this spark, averaging 14.3 points per game, scored only 8 points. He was virtually non-existent, especially in the fourth quarter in which he was held scoreless. Who would have thought that Jonas Jerebko would be the Pistons leading scorer? With the exception of Jonas’ mother perhaps, not a person in the world.
One low point for Boston was Paul Pierce: in 29 minutes he had a rare single digit game, with only 9 points. Not only did he not score , but he only had one assist and one rebound. He wasn’t even a factor in the game, and didn’t make the clutch shots that we are so accustomed to. When is the last time you have seen Big Baby take five more shots than Pierce had points? Awful! It should never happen. Even worse, considering Big Baby only plays 18 minutes.
With the Celtics playing the brand of basketball we have become accustomed to lately, and Paul Pierce scoring a mere 9 points, it is hard to believe that the Celtics beat a solid Piston team. But, it was a team effort, the high scorer at only 18 points. We played team basketball for the first time, in a long time. We pulled it together in the fourth quarter to get another agonizing, lackluster win. But when momentum is headed South, any win is important to bring the compass needle back North.