Boston’s bench wasn’t itself Wednesday night.
Check that – most of Boston’s bench wasn’t itself Wednesday night. Leandro Barbosa was the exception.
Barbosa was the spark plug the Celtics needed in the fourth quarter of their 99-95 win over the Raptors in Toronto. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter alone and helped the Celtics overcome the 10-point deficit they stared down heading into the decisive frame.
The speedy guard lit a fire under the C’s with an and-one layup to start the final quarter. Boston erased that 10-point deficit over the next two minutes and then tied things up at 79-79.
That 10-0 run to begin the final period was critical for Boston but believe it or not, it was not the most important stretch of this game. What was even more important was the team’s ability - and Barbosa’s ability, in particular – to sustain that momentum after tying up the game.
Following the tie, Barbosa accounted for the next seven Celtics points and played a key role in the eighth and ninth points that put Boston ahead 88-85. He began the run with free throws and followed those up with a deep 3-pointer with 6:07 left in the game. His scoring portion of the run concluded with a sweet runner from six feet out to give the C’s a one-point lead.
Both teams went scoreless for the next minute and a half, which featured a heat check for Barbosa. He fired up a 3-pointer from the left corner that ricocheted off the back of the iron and flew right back in his direction. Toronto’s players didn’t hustle after the rebound so Barbosa took advantage. He sprinted into the very left corner of the court to save the ball and then whipped a pass into the painted area to Kevin Garnett. Garnett then dropped a pass off to Paul Pierce that led to two free throws and a three-point Celtics lead.
Boston made key plays down the stretch but it wouldn’t have even been in position to win had Barbosa not played the role of spark plug. He is the main reason why the C’s can head back to Boston riding a five-game winning streak.
Key Box Score Line
Leandro Barbosa was critical in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game, but Kevin Garnett carried the Celtics from start to finish. He was a dominant force throughout his 32 minutes of playing time.
Garnett finished up with a game-high 27 points that also doubled as the best scoring performance of his season. He hit 11 of his 18 shot attempts and made all five of his free throws. KG also contributed 10 rebounds on the night, which trailed only Paul Pierce’s 11 on the team.
We already highlighted in the Key Moment section that Barbosa scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. We may have forgotten to mention that Garnett wasn’t far behind. KG dropped in 11 points during the final period to help push Boston over the top and into the win column for the fifth straight game.
Box Score Nuggets
- All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures.
- Kevin Garnett (27 points) and Leandro Barbosa (14 points) scored 23 of Boston's 30 points in the final period.
- Each team had two players grab at least 10 rebounds.
- Toronto shot just 41.5 percent from the field in the game.
- Boston committed 14 turnovers that led to 28 points for Toronto.
- Toronto's top two scorers, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, each shot 33 percent or less from the field.
- There were 16 ties in the game.
- Gay and Amir Johnson tied for the game high in rebounds with 12 apiece.
- Paul Pierce led the Celtics in rebounds (11) and assists (six).
- Both teams attempted at least 26 free throws and both hit at least 83.3 percent of their attempts.
- Four of Jeff Green's six rebounds were grabbed at the offensive end of the floor.
- Courtney Lee scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
- Three Celtics (Garnett, Pierce and Barbosa) finished with a plus/minus rating of at least plus-13.
Quote of the Night
It shows what kind of team we are. We're able to overcome anything. Avery Bradley on his team's 10-point, fourth-quarter comeback