The Boston Celtics know how to win and more importantly they know how to win ugly.
The Celtics led nearly wire to wire and defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 102-95 on Monday night but it was not pretty.
The two teams combined for 56 fouls and shot 80 total free throws in a surprisingly close affair.
Paul Pierce carried the offensive load with a season high 36 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Kevin Garnett added 24 points as the Celtics played without Ray Allen for the second straight game.
It looked as if Boston was going to cruise to victory over the NBA’s worst team, jumping out to a 33-15 lead after the first quarter. Looks would be deceiving as the Bobcats second unit powered a 35-19 second quarter in favor of Charlotte closing the gap to just 2 (52-50) as the Celtics clung to a first half lead.
To watch a group of Kemba Walker, Reggie Williams, Derrick Brown, D.J. White, and Byron Mullens lead a charge in a real live NBA game was something nightmares are made of. While they never managed to overtake the Celtics for the lead it would seem that was largely in part due to the re-insertion of the Charlotte starters. The Bobcats benched combined for an average of +12 in the game and absolutely embarrassed the Celtics bench 59-9 in total points.
Mullens lead the Bobcat’s bench with 18 points and 7 rebounds followed by Brown who had 16 points and 7 assists. The 7 dimes by Brown have to be a career high as I can not envision him ever facilitating any better than he did tonight. Gerald Henderson was the lone Charlotte starter worth his salt as he scored 21 on an efficient 9-14 from the floor.
Fortunately Boston’s starters were the difference but Doc River’s was unable to rest them much as 4 of the 5 starters played near 40 minutes with Garnett garnering the most rest at 33 minutes. If the Celtics are truly going to make one last run the bench must contribute more than 9 total points.
Injuries have continued to eat away at the Celtics roster depleting the bench beyond recognition. But 9 points against the worst team in the league? That is just obscene.
Nevertheless a win is still a win. After two previous attempts to catch the Atlantic Division leading Philadelphia 76′ers have fallen short, Irish eyes are smiling after tonight’s victory.
The Celtics have tied the 76′ers for first place at 27-22 with just 17 games remaining and that despite all that was bad and ugly in this game is a good thing.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com