Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 102, Bobcats 95
Celtics 102, Bobcats 95
The Celtics certainly aren’t known as the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. In fact, they’re actually the worst, and by a large margin. However, tonight in Charlotte, that rarely-seen skill showed face and led the team to victory.
Boston led by as many at 18 points in the first half but the Bobcats fought back and wouldn’t let the C’s run away with the win. Charlotte was within reach into the final minutes of the game, as Boston led by just four after Kemba Walker put home two free throws with 2:43 remaining in regulation.
The Celtics’ next possession was a critical one. They needed to extend their lead and prevent the Bobcats from possibly turning the contest into a one-possession game. They wound up doing so, and in the most unconventional way.
Kevin Garnett took a fade-away jumper from eight feet out, and it looked as if the Bobcats had a clear path to the rebound. But out of nowhere, from the opposite side of the basket, Brandon Bass rose up to grab the board out of the air. Bass was fouled by D.J. White as he areached for the rebound and then headed to the foul line for a pair of free throws. Bass, an 81 percent free throw shooter on the season, canned them both.
Those points put the C’s back on top by six, but they weren’t done. Byron Mullens answered with a jump shot and then Garnett missed yet another jumper on Boston’s next possession. Rajon Rondo, the Celtics’ smallest player, then snuck in to grab the offensive board. Four seconds later he found Paul Pierce wide-open under the basket for an easy layup.
If you’re counting, that’s two consecutive offensive rebounding plays that led to four points in crunch time for the Celtics.
After Charlotte got one point from Corey Maggette at the other end, Garnett continued firing up shots for the Celtics. The first one went in from 19 feet, but the second, with the C’s leading by seven with less than a minute remaining, did not.
Have no fear; you can always rely on good ol' offensive rebounding.
For the second time in two minutes, Bass beat the Bobcats with great position and hustle and went up for the offensive board. He was again fouled in the act of that rebound attempt and headed to the line. He made just one of the two free throws with 30.5 seconds left, but at that point this game was in the bag.
Boston went on to win 102-95 and is now tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Atlantic Division. The team can go jump on its flight back home and give thanks to its suddenly-discovered offensive rebounding prowess that took it to victory lane tonight.
Key Box Score Line
One word can be used to describe Paul Pierce’s performance tonight in Charlotte: dominant.
The Bobcats had no answer for The Truth on this night. The only thing that could have stopped Pierce was himself, and he certainly didn’t get in the way.
All the captain did was rack up game highs of 36 points and 10 rebounds on the night to snag the only double-double of the game. He nailed half of his 20 field goal attempts and headed to the line a season-high 18 times, cashing in on 15 of those attempts.
In addition to the scoring and rebounding, Pierce contributed in nearly every other statistical category. He dished out four assists, grabbed three steals and blocked three shots.
If that’s not a Key Box Score Line, we’re not sure what is. Feast your eyes on these incredible numbers from No. 34:
Box Score Nuggets
- There were 56 fouls whistled in the game.
- Boston attempted 45 free throws, led by Paul Pierce's 18 attempts.
- Pierce led the game in scoring (36 points), rebounding (10) and steals (three).
- Kevin Garnett scored 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting.
- Garnett and Pierce both shot 10-for-20 from the field.
- Six Celtics grabbed at least four rebounds.
- Charlotte's bench scored 59 points, led by 18 from Byron Mullens.
- Derrick Brown and Kemba Walker, both reserves for Charlotte, led the team in assists with seven apiece.
- Rajon Rondo led the game in assists with 13.
- Brown shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
- Four players racked up five fouls.
- Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with 21 points.
- The teams combined for just 22 turnovers.
- Both teams scored 18 second-chance points.
- The only three Celtics reserves who scored a point tonight each scored three points apiece.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce's performance: "From the beginning of the game he was in attack mode... That is why you have great players. One of them steps up and you can win a game."