In a game in which both teams were looking to send a message, the Celtics outlasted the Raptors in overtime to win 98-95. This game was controlled by the referees. After the fiasco this summer over referees betting, I expected much better officiating. These refs definitely had an agenda and made some terrible calls with Rondo, KG and Perk all picking up 5 fouls. In one sequence, Pierce drove baseline and was fouled as he passed inside to Perk and Perk was pushed as he put up the shot but neither foul was called ans instead they called Perk for a travel.
A few thoughts from the game: In a stat that many wouldn't notice, the team did not get any offensive rebounds when Perk was out of the game. NOT ONE! The team finished with 8 offensive rebounds and Perk had 4 of them, KG had 3 and Tony Allen had 1 but none of those came when Perk was on the bench.
Pierce had an off night shooting and Antoine-esque 4-17 from the field and driving into double and triple teams instead of passing out of them.
The end of regulation was a head scratcher. Pierce dribbled up top letting the clock wind down in an ISO, missing a shot at the buzzer. With Pierce struggling the entire first game, it would have been wiser to let someone else take that shot.
Perk, Posey, and KG all played great defense. House shot 2 clutch free throws. Ray Allen hit a clutch 3 to seal the win with 2 seconds to go. Ford was able to beat Rondo the entire game as he was trying not to pick up another foul. KG willed the team to a win with 3 baskets in a row in OT.
Powe and Big Baby both did not play for the second game in a row. Wallace and Pruitt were on the inactive list. Pierce, Garnett, and Ray Allen all played over 40 minutes. Go figure.
The video went out on the CSN feed on League Pass so most of us missed the final play. But, it was the NBA-TV play of the night so we get to see Pierce send the inbound bounce pass to Ray in the corner who immediately hits the game winner with 2.6 left. A thing of beauty.
Plus/minus stats lost all credibility tonight. Ray Allen is listed as a -1 in spite of his 33 points and game winner. Scal is listed as +7 in spite of not doing much of anything.
Celtics had 21 assists on 34 field goals. Celtics shot 44% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc. The Raptors shot 37% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc, mostly due to the Celtics defensive pressure. Rebounds were even at 42 apiece. The Celtics had 17 turnovers, which will have to be cut down.
Doc was not with the team due to the death of his father. Tom Thibodeau coached the team in his absence. Our sincere condolences go out to the Rivers family.
As for individual performances, Ray Allen was the player of the game with 33 points and 4 rebounds in a game high 49 minutes. Paul Pierce had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 45 minutes while shooting 4-17 from the floor. KG finished with 23 points (9-18), 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.
Rondo played only 27 minutes due to early foul trouble and had only 2 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals. He played tentatively after picking up his second quick foul and never was able to get back in the game. Eddie House played 25 minutes and finished with 10 points (3-7), 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block. His 2 clutch free throws were key in OT. Tony Allen played only 2 minutes and pulled down 1 rebound.
Perk finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds (4 on the offensive end), 1 assist, and 2 blocks in 28 minutes. Scot Pollard played only 3 minutes and wasn't a factor. Scal played 16 minutes and was 0-2 from the floor and pulled down 3 rebounds. James Posey was key off the bench in his first game as a Celtic with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 23 minutes along with playing some great defense. His play in the 4th quarter was critical to the Celtics win.
I couldn't help think what a difference this game was from games that we played last season. When the pressure was on, KG and Ray Allen came up big for the Celtics and pulled out a win in spite of the fact that Pierce was having an off game. Last year, our young players just couldn't seem to get over the hump in pressure situations and we lost most of the close games we were in. This was a sloppy game and defense on both sides set the tone for the game. The Celtics definitely have a way to go before we crown them champions, but they have shown in the first two games that they are going to be tough defensively this season and they can beat you in more ways than one. Three big ways to be exact.