In what may very well be the ugliest game of the season, the Celtics reached down and pulled out a win at the end. Final score: Boston 77, Rockets 72. The Rockets were without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, who was scratched at game time with flu-like symptoms, but the Celtics are playing without Ratliff, Allen, Wally and with Pierce and Perk at about 60% so, it is hard to feel sorry for them. The Celtics first scored with 7:41 left in the first. They trailed by 6 at the half and by 9 at the end of 3. They were down by 12 with 8:46 left in the 4th and took their first lead with 1:23 remaining in the 4th. It was pretty ugly on both sides as the Celtics shot 34% for the game and the Rockets shot 32% for the game. But what counts is that the Rockets out uglied the Celtics.
Individually, Al once again had a stellar game with 16 points and 17 rebounds to go with 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block. Scal once again started at center and finished with 4 points (1-7 shooting), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers in 24 minutes. Perk came off the bench and played 23 minutes and was a defensive presence in the paint with 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and only 1 turnover. Doc should put Perk back into the starting lineup since Scal is not a starting center. Kandi got his first minutes in quite awhile and finished with 1 foul in 4 minutes. Powe started at the 3 but played only 3 minutes, finishing with 1 rebound and 2 fouls in that time. So much for Doc's comments that we would see Powe a lot more.
West played a team high 43 minutes and filled up the box score with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 4 turnovers. He hit 4 huge free throws down the stretch to seal the game. Rondo played just 12 minutes and finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal but had no assists. Telfair played just 7 minutes but both Pierce and Doc credit him with turning the game around as he played aggressively and lifted the team. He finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block.
Gomes came off the bench but was on the floor to start the second half. He finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist. Green played only 17 minutes in his first game in front of his hometown crowd. He had approximately 75 friends and family in the stands and that may have made him nervous because he just couldn't get going and finished scoreless, shooting 0-6, with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 turnovers.
Pierce started off very slowly and shot poorly much of the game, but came out more aggressive and shot better in the second half. He came up big in the 4th quarter, hitting a huge 3 to put the Celtics up by 5 with 25 seconds left in the game. He finished with 28 points on 10-23 shooting but made just 6-12 from the line. He also had 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 turnovers.
As a team, we won the rebounding battle 53-48, thanks to Al's strength on the boards. As a team, we only shot 62% from the line. We once again turned the ball over too much finishing with 18 to 17 for the Rockets. Doc continues to start Scal at the center and that gives us a huge disadvantage inside with that starting lineup. Scal has been playing fairly well lately, but he isn't a starting center. Bring him off the bench for a boost of energy and scoring off the bench, but don't start him at center. I wish Doc would start Perk at center or even start Al at center and Powe at power forward and Gomes at small forward. But Doc gets his favorites and will play them in spite of it being a weaker lineup. Doc seems to be obsessed with centers who play outside the arc. If we get Greg Oden and Doc remains the coach, he will probably be useless because Doc will have him playing out beyond the 3 point line. He doesn't have a clue how to use defensive minded bigs who play with their backs to the basket. I have to say we won this one in spite of Doc's coaching, not because of it.