Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 78, Hornets 97
Celtics 78, Hornets 97
The Boston Celtics have fallen into a cycle of beginning games cold and closing them hot. They bucked that trend tonight, but only momentarily.
Playing their third road game in four nights, this time in New Orleans, the Celtics came out of the gates with energy at both ends of the floor. It was clear that Doc Rivers’ message had been hammered home to his players.
Boston forced New Orleans into three straight misses and one turnover to start the game out. In the meantime, Ray Allen was able to get the Celtics on the board with a 3-pointer, and Jermaine O’Neal soon tacked on a huge dunk off of a dish from Rajon Rondo. Then Sasha Pavlovic got into the flow of the game and two straight buckets to put the Celtics up 9-2 just 3:30 into the game.
Rivers and the Celtics couldn’t have asked for a better start. They were performing well at both ends of the court, and on offense the points were coming from several different players. It would have been a blowout for the Celtics if they had continued to play that well, but Monty Williams’ timeout at the 8:23 mark of the quarter prevented that from happening.
Marco Belinelli promptly drilled a deep 3-pointer when the teams came back onto the floor and that helped stop the bleeding for New Orleans. It quickly brought the Hornets back within four points. That bucket jumpstarted an 8-0 run that gave them a 10-9 lead.
That quick spurt by the Hornets denied Boston from pulling away with a huge lead early on. The Celtics had their chance, but they let it slip away, and quickly.
The Hornets were back in the game and from that point on the Celtics really had no answers for them. By the end of the first quarter, New Orleans held onto a 24-18 lead, meaning it closed the frame on a 22-9 run. Boston never pulled much closer than that and wound up losing by a whopping 19 points. The first blowout loss of the season, to go along with an 0-3 record overall, can be pinned on the Celtics' inability to sustain the effort and efficiency they displayed during the opening moments of the contest.
Key Box Score Line
It wasn’t a pretty night for the Celtics, and that’s why there are no sparkling box score lines from any of their players. There is one, however, that stands out.
Greg Stiemsma, a training camp invitee who made the roster, showed exactly why he was the NBDL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season. He dominated the paint defensively during his 20-plus minutes of action and finished with six big blocks during that short timeframe.
Stiemsma was also able to contribute in other facets of the game. He pitched in four rebounds during the contest, with two coming at the offensive end of the floor. That total trailed only Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal in the Celtics’ box score, and both of those players logged more minutes than Stiemsma. The rookie center also put home two points on a nice runner off of the glass from the right side of the paint.
The only number that will jump off of the page is Stiemsma’s six blocks, but that doesn’t matter. He contributed in a huge way tonight despite the lopsided loss, and he may have played his way into the Celtics’ rotation.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston shot only 37.2 percent from the field in the game.
- No Celtic scored more than 15 points.
- Jarrett Jack led the game in both points (21) and assists (nine).
- Carl Landry recorded the game's only double-double with 20 points and 11 boards.
- Keyon Dooling scored 10 points off of the bench and shot 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.
- New Orleans outrebounded Boston 48-37.
- The game was played very sloppily, but neither team finished with more than 13 turnovers.
- The Hornets nearly doubled up the Celtics in points in the paint, finishing with 46 to Boston's 24.
- Boston did not outscore New Orleans in any of the four quarters.
- The Celtics scored 21 or less points in three of the four quarters.
- Both teams finished with 16 assists.
- Greg Stiemsma finished with six blocks.
- Marquis Daniels had his shot blocked four times.
- Both teams blocked 12 shots.
- Rajon Rondo, who played 34:22, was the only Celtic to log more than 30 minutes of playing time.
- Six Hornets players finished with positive double-digit plus/minus ratings.