Remember when Rasheed Wallace predicted the Celtics would beat the Bulls’ record of 72 wins?
He forgot to qualify it: “…if we played the Charlotte Bobcats every night.”
For whatever reason, the Celtics have had Charlotte’s number this season. In a big way. They beat them by 33 points in the teams’ first meeting, 28 in the second, and 24 tonight in a win that could have been by at least 30.
Paul Pierce led the way for the Celtics with 27 points, looking like the thumb injury that briefly kept him out of action is a thing of the past. Again, Nate Robinson hit some timely three-pointers. With the Celtics struggling in the early-going, Nate came off the bench and quickly announced his presence in the game with three quick bombs. Minutes later, a small lead had ballooned to 17, and the Celtics were well on their way to a blowout.
Was it vintage Celtics? Not exactly. But, save for a brief second-quarter stretch that saw the 17-point lead shrivel to only three, it was as close to vintage as we’ve seen in quite some time. Boston was dominant on both ends, shooting 53.5% itself while limiting Charlotte to only 36.0% from the floor. The second half became nothing more than a victory lap, as Shelden Williams, Brian Scalabrine, and Gino all took turns as the proverbial victory cigar.
Besides Pierce and Robinson, Kevin Garnett was the only other Celtic in double figures, with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Still, it was his defensive presence that made his performance great. Garnett seemed to be everywhere on defense, blocking shots, deflecting passes, and rotating to help his teammates. He was as active defensively as he’s been all season long.
- Tyrus Thomas is kind of like the Tony Allen of big men. He’ll do five or six things every game that make you wonder, “Why?”
- Rajon Rondo saw his streak of double-digit assist games end at seven. If I’m not mistaken, that leaves him tied with Bob Cousy for the most consecutive double-digit assist games in Celtics history. Rondo finished with 8 points and 6 assists.
- Ray Allen, leading the Celtics in minutes played at almost 37 minutes per game, played only 17 minutes. He was saddled by first-half foul trouble, and finished with three points.
- I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but Kendrick Perkins had only 2 rebounds today. That makes six games in a row without double-digit rebounds for Perk, and twelve of his last thirteen.