Ford Keys to the Game: Jazz 82, Celtics 94
Jazz 82, Celtics 94
Boston’s bench isn’t made up of the biggest names in the league right now. With Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus sidelined, guys who have rarely heard their name called this season are now being asked to step in and perform at a high level.
Greg Stiemsma has been the greatest example of this fact over the past few weeks. He has been providing critical minutes for the Celtics each and every night. Tonight, however, Keyon Dooling and Sasha Pavlovic helped propel the Celtics to victory.
“You know really who I thought won the game was our bench,” Doc Rivers said after the game. “I thought the stretch in the fourth quarter, when they cut it to three or maybe even tied it, Keyon hit a shot and then Sasha hits a shot. Those are huge shots for our team.”
Utah did, in fact, tie it, and that was after Boston had led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter. The Jazz tied it up at 66-66 just 53 seconds into the fourth, and at that point they were outplaying the Celtics in nearly every facet of the game. Momentum clearly was not on Boston’s side.
At least until Dooling nailed his 17th 3-pointer of the season.
Kevin Garnett dished a pass off to the oft-injured guard and Dooling fired up a shot from 26 feet out. It dropped through the net at the most opportune time to put the C’s back on top by three points and give the TD Garden crowd some juice.
Nearly three minutes later, with the Jazz still trailing by only three points, Dooling hit another critical jumper. As he dribbled on the right wing, he looked down to the opposite end of the court to look at the shot clock. He immediately realized it had ticked down to two seconds and promptly stepped into a jumper as he straddled the 3-point line. Nothing but net.
His shot put the Celtics ahead by five and the contest never returned to a one-possession game from that point on. Pavlovic made the game’s next basket with a 3-pointer from the left wing to put Boston ahead by eight with 7:18 remaining. They never looked back from that point on and recorded a 94-82 victory.
Key Box Score Line
Two of the most important players in tonight’s game, Kevin Garnett and Al Jefferson, were traded for each other back in 2007. Garnett proved yet again, five years later, why the Celtics made sure they were the ones receiving him in that deal.
The two big men faced off at the center position tonight and Garnett dominated the matchup. He scored a game-high 23 points that included several huge baskets in the final quarter. KG led the game with 10 made field goals despite the fact that two other players attempted more shots than him and another attempted just as many as him. He shot 10-for-16 on the night.
Garnett’s scoring wasn’t all he brought to the table in this game. He also led the team in rebounds with 10, dished out four assists, grabbed one steal and blocked a shot.
The fact that KG was able to accumulate these statistics isn’t too surprising considering that he’s been doing it ever since the All-Star break. But what was surprising tonight was the fact that he played the entire fourth quarter. That goes against every rule Doc Rivers has set for his big man this season. Garnett has typically played five minutes, then received five minutes of rest, and then continued with that pattern over and over. Tonight, however, his coach chose to lean on him for an entire quarter, and the Big Ticket delivered.
Box Score Nuggets
- Four of the game's 10 starters scored in single-digits.
- The Celtics shot 18-of-21 from the free-throw line.
- Rajon Rondo dished out 14 assists, which doubled the highest amount that any Jazz player recorded..
- Kevin Garnett led the game in scoring with 23 points and led the Celtics in rebounds with 10.
- Eight players attempted at least 10 field goals.
- Utah shot just 39.0 percent from the field.
- The Jazz grabbed 16 offensive rebounds but scored only seven second-chance points.
- Each team outscored the other in two of the four quarters.
- Boston led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, allowed the Jazz to tie the game, and then pulled away to win by double-digits.
- There were four ties and four lead changes in the game.
- Greg Stiemsma blocked four shots and grabbed four rebounds.
- Both teams committed 20 fouls.
- Only five Celtics recorded an assist in the game.
- Paul Pierce scored 20 points.
- Al Jefferson recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
- Boston's starting frontline combined to score 62 of the team's 94 points.
- The game's six starting frontline players were the only players to score in double-figures.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Kevin Garnett taking a charge during tonight's game: "Yeah that was huge. And he looked over at the bench because I think that was his third one... since he's been here."