Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 105, Warriors 103

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 105, Warriors 103

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce extends the ball away from a defender before taking and missing a shot as time expired in the first half of Wednesday night's win over the Warriors.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen better watch out. There might be a new master of the clutch in town.

Pierce and Allen have unquestionably been the men for five straight years who have been known to knock down Boston’s biggest clutch baskets. Over the past two games, though, Kevin Garnett has been the man who has taken the Celtics to victory lane.

The first of his two consecutive clutch baskets arrived on Monday, when Garnett drilled a tough turnaround jumper over his defender to seal the Celtics’ victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. He delivered another bit one tonight - a game-winner - against the Golden State Warriors, and he did it in completely different fashion.

With the score tied at 103-103 and 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Doc Rivers called for a timeout to draw up the game-winning play. He instructed Rajon Rondo to set the offense into motion with 12 seconds remaining on the shot clock, and the point guard did exactly that.

Rondo tossed a pass to Pierce on the right wing and allowed him to go to work on a play that Garnett called “35” after the game. This is how Garnett described the action.

“It was Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the top of the key,” Garnett said in his immediate postgame interview on CSNNE. “Madison Square Garden, that’s where the play originated from. P has a one-on-one. If he doesn’t have anything, he comes to me, and I shoot it. Simple as that.”

Simple as that. Game over.

Pierce drove from the right wing down the left side of the lane and drew a double-team from his defender and Garnett’s. For some reason, David Lee, Garnett’s defender, decided to leave him wide-open despite KG having the hottest hand in the game.

The captain recognized that double-team and wisely tossed a pass out to Garnett, who was planted 20 feet from the basket on the left wing. KG rose up, fired away and drilled the shot without even touching the rim.

Two straight games, two straight no-doubters in the clutch.

The bucket put Boston ahead 105-103 with 5.1 seconds remaining in the game, and as you’ve already seen, that was your final score.

Golden State had one more opportunity to tie or take the lead, but Nate Robinson’s 3-pointer was errant and Garnett hauled in the rebound. It was only fitting that the man who hit the biggest shot of the game also grabbed the biggest rebound of the game.

Watch out, Pierce and Allen. Your coach might have a new favorite target in crunch time.

Key Box Score Line

Garnett was fantastic in the waning moments of tonight’s game, but don’t let that take away from the rest of his night. He led the team in scoring with 24 points, led all starters in shooting percentage with an 11-for-15 performance (73.3 percent) and also dished out more assists (five) than any Warriors player not named Nate Robinson.

KG’s final numbers rolled in looking like this: a team-high 24 points, as well as seven boards, five assists, one steal and one block. He did all of that in less than 34 minutes of action.

Oh, and he hit the game-winner, too.

Not a bad night for No. 5. At age 35, he’s getting better and better as the season wears on.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Five players in the game scored at least 20 points.
  • Boston was led by Kevin Garnett's 24 points, while Golden State was led by Klay Thompson's career-high 26 points.
  • Brandon Bass grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and also scored 22 points.
  • Boston won the rebounding battle by a count of 37-33.
  • Only six Celtics grabbed a rebound in the game, but five of them totaled at least five.
  • Former Celtic Nate Robinson had a strong game starting at point guard, notching 20 points, five rebounds and 11 assists for Golden State.
  • Rajon Rondo led the game in assists with 14. He committed just two turnovers.
  • Rondo (14), Paul Pierce (six) and Garnett (five) each dished out at least five assists.
  • Boston shot 19-of-21 from the free-throw line.
  • The Celtics continued their hot team-oriented offense, dishing out 32 total assists on 40 made field goals.
  • Mickael Pietrus scored 15 points off the bench thanks to a 5-of-6 performance from 3-point range.
  • Six of the game's 10 starters attempted at least 15 shots.
  • Boston shot 6-of-13 from downtown, compared to 5-of-21 for the Warriors.
  • Greg Stiemsma had what may be the best game of his career, notching eight points and eight boards off of the bench. He shot 2-of-2 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
  • The Celtics' 18 turnovers led to 25 points for Golden State.
  • The Warriors scored a whopping 60 points in the paint.
  • There were 13 lead changes and 14 ties in the game.

Quote of the Night

Doc Rivers joking about motivating his bench players, seeing as they played so well tonight: "We clearly need to tell Mickael Pietrus that we are playing Golden State every night, and Avery Bradley and Greg Stiemsma, all of them."