News 4/9 Apr 9, 2009 6:35:09 GMT -5
Post by FLCeltsFan on Apr 9, 2009 6:35:09 GMT -5
Celtics win a bench mark
Eddie House, reserves key to 5th straight victory
By Steve Bulpett | Thursday, April 9, 2009 | www.bostonherald.com | Boston Celtics
Photo by AP
One might think with all their injuries, the Celtics [team stats] would be as deep as a puddle on Storrow Drive. Three rotation players are out, meaning everyone moves up a chair, and bench production surely would suffer, right?
But last night’s 106-104 victory against the Nets was brought to you largely by the Celts’ pine people.
New Jersey won the first and third quarters - mainly the starters’ province - by a combined 58-44. So while Rajon Rondo [stats] was generally incredible with 31 points, one off his career high, it was the lift from Eddie House (15 points), Stephon Marbury (four points, five assists in 15 minutes), Mikki Moore (nine points on 4-for-4, nine rebounds) and Tony Allen (six rebounds, tough defense) that got the Celtics their fifth straight triumph.
The bench crew brought the Celts back in the second quarter from a double-digit deficit to the lead. And when the Nets had come back from nine down to tie the game, the subs were the main ingredients in a 9-0 run that gave the C’s the lead for good.
“They pretty much won the game,” captain Paul Pierce [stats] said after a 10-point, four-turnover effort. “Shoot, (coach) Doc (Rivers) could have probably left them in the whole game and it probably wouldn’t have been as close. They have great energy. Stephon is doing a great job getting into the defense and finding guys. Eddie House is shooting lights out right now. Mikki Moore is being active. We’re extremely happy with the way the bench is coming in and picking up the starters when we’re down.”
It did get tight at the end when the starters came back and Vince Carter finished off a 33-point night, but the bench had provided enough of a cushion. Kendrick Perkins [stats] and Rondo had big hoops late, and the Nets missed two shots at the end. It was the kind of collapse that had Rivers shaking his head.
“Well, we put it in the left,” Rivers said of the win column, which stands at 59. “That’s about it today. I thought our bench was sensational. I thought they were the difference in the game, first half and second half. I guess if you’re looking for the silver lining . . . we won the game and the bench won the game for us. Rondo was terrific down the stretch, but I thought our bench energy is what won the game for us.”
With third-place Orlando coming back to beat Memphis, the Celts needed the win to remain one game up in second with four to play. The C’s also cashed in a chance to officially eliminate the Nets from the playoff race and send them on a drive down Route 3 and across the New Jersey Turnpike to Secaucus for the draft lottery.
House had 11 points in the second quarter to bring the C’s back, but a seven-point halftime lead was squandered. Rondo kept the Celts from falling behind with 12 points in the third, but the unquestioned highlight of the quarter was provided by a guy who hasn’t been around much lately.
Late in the period, the C’s went on a break and Ray Allen found namesake Tony Allen with an alley-oop pass. Tony Allen, who’d played one game after missing 22 straight because of left thumb surgery, was a bit past where Ray Allen expected him to be, but that didn’t matter. Tony Allen caught the ball and jammed it on the reverse.
The Celts were ahead, 81-78, after three quarters, but Chris Douglas-Roberts began the fourth with a three-point play to even it up.
That meant the Celtics bench had to work its magic once again.
“They’ve been playing great,” said Rondo, who also had nine rebounds. “I think it started in practice. They’ve been giving the starters a lot of problems these past couple of days. They’re beating us in every drill, and it’s definitely paying off.
“I knew E. House was going to shoot like he did tonight because in practice he’s been lighting it up. They play well together, they make multiple passes. I think we’ve got the best bench in the league.”
That might be debatable, but it is undeniable the Celtics would have had a bad loss last night without their backups.