Ford Keys to the Game: Bobcats 83, Celtics 81
Bobcats 83, Celtics 81
Everything was going perfectly for the Boston Celtics in the third quarter. Paul Pierce was scoring, Rajon Rondo was assisting and Nenad Krstic was rebounding. Most importantly, though, the entire team was busting open a 13-point advantage over the Charlotte Bobcats that was capped by a buzzer-beating layup by Rajon Rondo at the end of the frame.
Overall, the Celtics outscored Charlotte by eight points in the frame to up their lead to 13 heading into the fourth, which, to that point, was the largest lead of the game for either team. In fact, the Bobcats had not held a lead at any moment in the game to that point.
Then the fourth quarter happened.
As good as the third period was for the C’s, the fourth quarter was just as bad. Boston was outscored 30-15 in the most important quarter of the game, and that explosive spurt by the Bobcats was enough to give them a monumental win on the road.
The Celtics did, however, have a chance to alter that ending with a critical possession in the final seconds of the game.
Trailing by just two after Gerald Henderson made only one of two free throws, the Celtics called a timeout with 15 seconds remaining to draw up their most important play of the game. A two-pointer would likely send the game to overtime, while a 3-pointer would likely give them a win.
Boston’s final possession exemplified its team perfectly: unselfish and fearless. The C’s whipped the ball around for the best look, and it wound up being a 3-pointer from Ray Allen in the corner directly in front of Charlotte’s bench. Not the look most teams would settle for at home, but Boston's confidence in Allen made this shot very unsurprising. But instead of coming through in the clutch, his shot missed long, bounced up into the air and Allen actually wound up grabbing the offensive board with three seconds remaining.
Allen proceeded to toss the ball out to Kevin Garnett, who was parked a few feet behind the 3-point line at the top of the key, but KG couldn’t catch the pass cleanly. He eventually pulled it in and stepped into a deep, 27-foot 3-pointer – just his fourth 3-point attempt of the season – and it missed short off the front of the rim.
That miss at the buzzer left the Celtics with a shocking loss at home to a Bobcats team that entered tonight’s game having been blown out in four straight contests. Boston certainly had hold of this one at the end of the third quarter, but that grasp slipped away quickly when it mattered and the C’s will now head into a four-game road trip with the sourest of tastes in their mouths.
Key Box Score Line
Paul Pierce didn’t have his best performance of the season, but on a night in which Boston didn’t exactly perform to its potential, his Box Score Line winds up being the team’s best.
The Captain dropped in a team-high 18 points tonight on a solid 6-of-14 shooting performance. He got to the line for eight free throw attempts, which tied Ray Allen for the game-high, and made five of them. He also finished with three rebounds and four assists on the night and made several key plays that gave the C’s a chance to win this game down the stretch.
Pierce’s most important plays of the game were an and-one layup in the paint, which he converted, at the 2:34 mark that cut Charlotte’s lead from five down to two. He then assisted Kevin Garnett in the final minute of the game for a jumper that put the C’s on top 81-80.
No one on Boston’s roster played to their potential tonight, but Pierce still managed to put in a solid all around performance. Without him on the floor, the C’s likely wouldn’t have even been as close as they were in those waning moments of the game.
Box Score Nuggets
- Ray Allen's eight free throw attempts, all of which he made, tied a season high.
- Each team grabbed 37 rebounds.
- Paul Pierce scored a game-high 18 points.
- The Celtics shot only 40.8 percent in the game.
- Boston finished with only 15 assists on its 29 made field goals.
- D.J. White led the Bobcats in scoring with 17 points off the bench.
- Charlotte had four players finish with between 12 and 17 points.
- Both teams finished with 16 assists.
- Boston led by as many as 13 points by the end of the third quarter, while Charlotte did not hold a lead to that point.
- Charlotte's first lead of the game came with 3:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
- Kevin Garnett and Nenad Krstic grabbed nine and eight boards, respectively.
- Glen Davis and Delonte West combined to shoot 4-of-16 from the field.
- Jeff Green's five rebounds were his most in a Celtics uniform.
- Both teams committed 17 turnovers.
- Boston shot just 3-of-15 from 3-point range (20.0 percent), while Charlotte made just one of its 11 shots from downtown (9.1 percent).
- The Bobcats went on a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter to take their first lead.
- Rajon Rondo's five assists were a game high.
- Davis fouled out of the game in less than 25 minutes of playing time.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers' take on the Celtics not playing with any urgency: "I always say it, you screw around with the game and the game will screw around with you."