Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 89, Hornets 85
Celtics 89, Hornets 85
The Celtics needed several clutch plays down the stretch to pull off this shocking come-from-behind victory, but they wouldn’t have had a chance to pull off the win without a masterful performance in the third quarter.
Boston went into halftime in the exact same situation as it did last night in Houston. The C’s were deflated, outplayed and trailing by double-digits. But an impressive third quarter, in which Boston outscored New Orleans 27-13 overall, allowed the C’s to slice into the lead and eventually go on to win the game.
The comeback didn’t really begin until 9:41 remained in the period, when Ray Allen drilled a 3-pointer to cut the deficit from 15 points down to 12. After Trevor Ariza responded with a tip-in for the Hornets, Allen swished another trey through the net to cut the lead down to 11.
At that point, the lead was still double-digits, but those two 3-pointers sent waves of energy through Allen and his teammates. All of his teammates joined in the party almost immediately. Glen Davis hit a jumper that was assisted by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett grabbed a defensive rebound and then the Big Ticket eventually hit a jumper. Two other Celtics, Jeff Green and Delonte West, also went on to score for Boston by the time the quarter was over.
Once the quarter came to a close, the Celtics had strung together a 26-8 run over the final 9:42 of the third to take a 67-64 lead into the final period. Davis and Allen needed to hit clutch free throws in the final minute to seal the win, but this victory was earned way back in the third period, when Allen started Boston’s monster run with his back-to-back 3s.
Key Box Score Line
For the second consecutive night, Glen Davis came off the bench with a few things on his mind. He wanted to score. He wanted to rebound. He wanted to inject a level of energy into his team that was completely lacking before he joined the game’s festivities.
For the second consecutive night, Davis delivered on all of those goals, and this time it helped lead the Celtics to victory.
Big Baby came off of the bench to tie Ray Allen for the team-high in points tonight with 20, but that scoring total doesn’t do justice for what he provided tonight. Those 20 points were earned by hitting jumper after jumper with defenders right in his grill. Several of those baskets came in clutch moments to help the Celtics sustain their comeback and then eventually grab the win.
His shooting performance closed out with an impressive tally of 8-for-11, and almost none of those attempts were easy. He also grabbed eight rebounds in the game, which trailed only Kevin Garnett for the team-high.
Tonight, Davis did it again in the box score, but this Key Box Score Line doesn’t explain just how important he was to his team. Without his impressive effort, which included loads of energy and enthusiasm, this amazing comeback would have likely been an afterthought.
Box Score Nuggets
- Ray Allen and Glen Davis tied for the team-high in scoring with 20 points apiece.
- David West scored a game-high 32 points and also grabbed eight boards.
- Emeka Okafor, who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds notched the game's only double-double.
- Neither Chris Paul (four points) nor Rajon Rondo (nine points) reached double-figures in scoring.
- Marco Belinelli scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 5 3s.
- Four Hornets grabbed at least seven rebounds, while only two Celtics grabbed more than four.
- Paul dished out 15 assists and Rondo accounted for only five.
- Delonte West played a huge role in Boston's comeback and notched nine points and five assists off the bench.
- The Celtics committed only 11 turnovers and the Hornets committed only 13.
- Boston shot 16-of-19 from the free-throw line.
- Boston's bench outscored New Orleans' by a count of 39-6.
- Neither team grabbed more than 38 rebounds (New Orleans 38, Boston 33).
- West, who played just over 19 minutes tonight, finished with the game's highest plus/minus rating of plus-16.
- Paul Pierce scored only nine points on 1-of-9 shooting.
- Kevin Garnett grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and also scored 12 points.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on tonight's win: "I thought it meant a lot to the guys to come back. They wanted this win and I thought they liked it because a lot of people pitched in.”