The Celtics played their ugliest game of the season tonight (and maybe the ugliest game of the season period), but winning ugly is what Boston does best.
To say the Celtics are beat up would be a gross understatement. Less than three weeks ago the Celtics lost their All-Star point guard to a torn ACL, gone for the remainder of the season. He was joined shortly afterwards by rookie Jared Sullinger, and just this past Monday by Leandro Barbosa. “This ride has been mentally draining for us, losing guy after guy,” Jason Terry said after tonight’s game against Chicago. It’s been physically draining too; even the “healthy” Celtics are injured, like Paul Pierce who’s been playing through a pinched nerve in his neck for two months.
But on the eve of All-Star Weekend with less than two minutes left in the game, Kevin Garnett battled for a loose ball on the Garden floor, Paul Pierce’s free-throws found the bottom of the net, and “defensive stopper” Jason Terry sealed the victory with a game-winning block. The Celtics–who fell behind after shooting 20% in the second and third quarters–turned it around in the fourth and found a way to win, shooting 69% in the final frame. They are 8-1 since Rondo went down, propelled forward by a lot of grit and a little bit of luck.
The Celtics will head into the All-Star break four games above .500, soon to be bolstered by ten-day contracts and a trade deadline that should bring relief in one form or another. In six days they’ll head to Denver for a rematch of Monday’s thriller and the first game of a five game road trip, but until then they’ll enjoy some well deserved rest.
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