If this NBA season had an underlying theme it would have to be “No rest for the weary”. Fresh off their emotionally uplifting win against Miami the Boston Celtics played their 4th game in 5 nights taking on the Atlanta Hawks.
The game was an aesthetic atrocity but the Celtics gutted out the win 88-86 in overtime despite tired legs and suspect officiating down the stretch.
Rajon Rondo put on a showman’s performance (again) notching his league leading sixth triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 20 assists.His double digit assist game streak now reaches 19 straight.
As impressive as that is it was his determination to log heavy minutes despite playing on the second night of a back to back that keyed the Celtics to victory. Doc Rivers complimented his all-star guard after the game:
Rondo was sensational he didn’t want to come out…I know he’s on a run. I don’t know what it means. He’s playing well, but I don’t need numbers to tell me that.
Kevin Garnett fouled out in the overtime period but still managed another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. However, it was the play of Brandon Bass that provided an unexpected but much needed lift offensively on his way to 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics were without Ray Allen (ankle) and Paul Pierce struggled (14 points on 6-19 shooting) so having Bass contribute in the manner he did was invaluable.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with a solid all-around performance posting 20 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Jeff Teague was also a nuisance for Boston chipping in a team high 21 points on the evening.
Boston commanded the rebounding battle 56-39 which is unheard of for the Celtics but the Hawks had multiple chances to win the game in regulation and in the O.T. period as the referees seemed to blatantly call fouls on the Celtics.
”We had plenty of chances to win this game, but its neither here nor there,” Hawks forward Joe Johnson said, ”they pulled it out.”
Gregg Steisma joined Garnett as a disqualified participant in this affair, fouling out in an otherwise productive 24 minutes where he scored 6 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. One note on Steisma. There is little doubt he needs to do a better job staying on his feet and even moving horizontally on defense. But the amount of bad calls on Steisma has gone from frustrating, to laughable, to flat out criminally obscene.
Nevertheless, the Celtics continue their recent winning ways retaining their 3 game lead over the 76ers in the Atlantic division.
”I gotta tell you guys: that was the worst game we’ve ever won,” Rivers said. ”I mean we didn’t play well. We just kept hanging in there. You could see the fatigue…It just shows we have great character. A tough-minded group”
Rondo added ”We kept fighting regardless of the other stuff out there. We stuck together, followed through and got the win.”
The Celtics are everything that is right and unpredictable about the NBA. Yes they are old but they are also proud, resilient and battle tested.
The sign of a good team is when they can win when they don’t play well and that is exactly what Boston did against Atlanta. Next up is three games in three nights over the weekend because well…there really is no rest for the weary.
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