21 years ago, the 1986 Celtics were 17-2 and lost their only home game of the season to the Portland Trailblazers in their 20th game. Tonight the Celtics came into the game 17-2 and faced the Sacramento Kings in their 20th game. But, that's as far as the comparisons go because the Celtics moved to 11-0 at home by defeating the Kings 90-78.
For the first time this season, the Celtics trailed at the half at home. They lacked defensive energy in the first half but picked up that defensive intensity in the second half. The Celtics shots weren't falling and they shot 39% for the game while allowing the Kings to shoot 44%. At the half, the Kings were shooting 55% and then the Celtics clamped down on defense in the third and pulled away. The Celtics were out rebounded 35-33. The difference in the game was 20 turnovers for the Kings as compared with only 8 for the Celtics along with a big free throw disparity. The Celtics had 30 free throws while the Kings only had 11.
With Perk out, Doc had to alter his starting lineup for the first time this season. Big Baby got the start and responded with 16 points and 9 rebounds and garnered the Tommy Award for his efforts. Powe got the call early and played well, scoring 2 points along with 3 rebounds and 1 steal in 5 minutes, but Doc didn't play him the rest of the game. Scal finished with 2 points and 1 steal in 10 minutes.
Pierce had one of his best all around games with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block along with playing very good defense on Ron Artest, holding him to 7-19 shooting and 16 points. Ray Allen is still struggling with his shot but hit a couple of big 3's to help the Celtics pull ahead. He finished with 15 points on 5-13 shooting, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal.
KG played only 12 minutes in the first half as he picked up 3 quick fouls and had to sit. He finished the game with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 35 minutes. It was KG's defense that picked up the intensity in the second half. He got a laugh in the post game interview when he discussed taking his defense home with him.
“We do so many defensive drills in practice, we do them in our sleep,” said Garnett, who said he practices denying the ball with his wife. When the room roared with laughter, Garnett said he wasn’t kidding. “It’s just sad. You all are laughing, but that’s real talk. I go home denying the wing.”
On one possession he covered Hawes so completely that he had no chance to shoot or pass and KG almost singlehandedly caused a 24 second violation. James Posey finished with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist and played some hustle defense on Artest along with Pierce.
Rondo had an off game and Doc sat him in the 4th in favor of Eddie House as they were sagging off Rondo on defense. Rondo finished with no points but had 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. House struggled with his shot but hit a couple of big shots when the Celtics needed them as they pulled away in the 4th quarter. He finished with 8 points on 3-10 shooting to go with 1 rebound and 1 steal. Tony played 12 minutes, including some at the point, and continued working on getting back to the old Tony. He finished with 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 2 blocks.
The Celtics are winning in historic proportions. At 12-0 they will tie the best home start ever in Celtics history. The 1984-85 Celts opened 12-0 at home and won and were 19-2 in their first 21 games. The Celtics can tie that record on Friday when they face the Milwaukee Bucks at home.