Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 89, Bobcats 94
Celtics 89, Bobcats 94
You can make one shocking statement regarding tonight’s game that hasn’t been said in years: When it mattered most, the Charlotte Bobcats came through in the clutch and the Boston Celtics fell apart.
Ray Allen made a jump shot with 3:46 remaining in the contest to cut Charlotte’s lead down to 82-81 and it seemed as if this one would go back and forth from that point on. The Celtics, however, couldn’t muster up any offense down the stretch while the Bobcats got big buckets from numerous players.
Boston’s offense went stale in the most critical of times and managed to score only one field goal over the final 3:45 of the game. At the other end of the floor, five different Bobcats were able to score points to help seal the monumental victory in Charlotte.
It all started out with back-to-back buckets by Gerald Henderson, who scored 15 points off the bench for Charlotte. What may be the biggest bucket of the night came next, when Eduardo Najera drilled a 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining in the game to double the Bobcats' lead from three to six, at 89-83.
Still, despite the deficit and lack of offensive execution, the Celtics wouldn’t go away quietly. Glen Davis responded with that lone field goal for Boston and Paul Pierce tacked on two free throws soon thereafter to cut Charlotte’s lead down to two with 52.1 seconds left on the clock.
From that point on, it was essentially a free throw contest. All Charlotte had to do was make their free throws and the game would be over. They did just that... for the most part.
Shaun Livingston went to the line on the Bobcats’ next possession and bricked the first attempt, leaving the Celtics a strong opportunity to steal a win with 35.4 seconds remaining. He hit the second free throw to bump the lead up to three and the Celtics called for a timeout.
Boston got exactly what it wanted on the next possession – a high-percentage layup after a drive to the basket by Paul Pierce. The problem was that a Charlotte defender came over to help at the last second and forced Pierce to put a little extra arc on his shot attempt. The ball wound up bouncing off of the rim with 21.7 seconds remaining and the Bobcats hit four more free throws down the stretch to close out their big win.
Key Box Score Line
Ray Allen is on the fast track to becoming the all-time 3-point king, but he’s got plenty of other moves in his offensive repertoire as well. Allen dropped in a game-high 25 points tonight on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor, and only two of those attempts came from downtown. Fittingly enough, both of those 3-point shots dropped through the net.
As he always does, Allen also chipped in with contributions in other areas. He grabbed two boards, dished out two assists and grabbed two steals in his 39 minutes of action.
There have been plenty of athletes who have approached famous records in professional sports over the past decade, and nearly every one of them has struggled as they neared their big night. Allen is defying the odds by continuing to play with extreme efficiency on offense while not worrying about sending home 3s. Still, though, he sits only two treys away from setting the all-time mark, and that record is sure to come Thursday night in a nationally broadcast game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston had two players, Ray Allen (25) and Paul Pierce (22) score at least 20 points, while no Bobcat broke the 20-point barrier.
- Gerald Wallace led the Bobcats with 19 points and also grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.
- Charlotte's bench outscored Boston's 44-15.
- Neither team shot better than 42 percent from the floor.
- Pierce shot 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
- Kevin Garnett grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds.
- Stephen Jackson was ejected from the game in the second quarter after picking up two technical fouls.
- Five technical fouls were whistled in the game.
- Charlotte outrebounded Boston 50-37.
- Rajon Rondo's 14 assists fell just two shy of Charlotte's team total of 16.
- Boston had four players grab at least two steals, led by Garnett and Rondo's three apiece.
- Each team made five 3-pointers. Boston shot 5-of-14 while Charlotte shot 5-of-16.
- Only five players in the game grabbed more than five rebounds.
- The contest featured 16 lead changes and 10 ties.
- Both teams shot the ball well from the free-throw line. The C's made 22 of 27 attempts, while the Bobcats shot 23-of-30 from the line.
Quote of the Night
Ray Allen on the reason for tonight's loss: "I can’t even look at the other team and say what they did well. We didn’t play up to the standards we need to put out there."