Coming off a emotional game against the Miami Heat the Celtics moved on to a three game road trip starting in New Orleans against the Hornets. The Celtics got back their veteran center Kevin Garnett who returned from a leg injury and flu symptoms. The Hornet's Anthony Davis was also battling flu like symptoms but managed to play in the game and in the end was the difference maker.With KG back in the line-up against a team like the Hornets this looked like an easy victory after nearly beating the best team in the NBA.
The Celtics came out strong in the first half led by Jeff Green after his career performance last game. Jeff scored 11 points in just the first quarter seemingly picking up where he left off but couldn't keep it going, scoring just 2 points the remainder of the game. Coming out of halftime the Celtics held a 6 point lead but looked unfocused in the third quarter scoring just 12 points. The Hornet led by as many as 9 in this game and held the final possession down 1 point. With the clock running down Eric Gordon of the Hornets missed on a fade away shot but was saved by an Anthony Davis tip-in with just .3 seconds remaining stunning the Celtics 87-86.
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts as he is fouled by New Orleans Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu (0) while driving to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Coming off a game like Miami it seemed as if tonight's game was almost a sure thing. Doc's son Austin Rivers is out for the season since last week due to a broken hand that required surgery. This eliminated any potential distraction for coach Rivers and the players...or so we thought. The starters were led by veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who both had very effective scoring nights. Pierce finished with a game high 28 points on 9-17 shooting and was able to do almost anything to New Orleans SF Al-Farouq Aminu. KG had a nice game coming off the illness and injury finishing with 20 points and 6 rebounds.
Other than the two veterans play the Celtics didn't receive much support from the rest of the line-up. Doc again decided to go with with an eight man rotation which was unexpected against a team like New Orleans especially after signing D.J. White and Terrence Williams for the rest of the season. If you take away Jeff Green's 11 point production in the first quarter the Celtics bench only scored six points the entire game. This was and is very troublesome to see as the Celtics seem to have taken a step backwards offensively.
Jason Terry had the toughest shooting night of all players going 0-5 but did help out with 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Terry had been all the talk on news and social media outlets after LeBron's posterizing dunk on Monday. Some of his struggles today may be attributed to a loss of confidence but don't expect him to admit it. Terry is a seasoned vet and I'm sure he'll shoot down any potential assumptions that will be made.
New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks in front of Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) and Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu, center, in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The Hornets were led by their three-point shooting specialist, Ryan Anderson, who ended with 21 points. The Celtics seemed to over commit on Anderson biting on his three point attempts allowing him to penetrate and get to the line 11 times. With 35 seconds in the game and the Hornets down 86-83 they ran a play looking to get Anderson a corner three point attempt. Anderson missed the shot but was fouled by Pierce getting him to the line for three free throws. He knocked down two and after a missed Celtics possession the Hornet held for the final shot.
The Celtics did a good job cutting down on their turnovers tonight committing just 13 but were dominated on the boards. The team went into half tied on the glass but in the end were out rebounded by 17. It's hard to speculate on what happened after half. The Celtics started off playing extremely well and looked to have put the Miami game behind them. Nevertheless, like we've seen too many times this year, they simply didn't have it in the third quarter and were unable to battle back for a late game victory in the fourth.
This was a real bad loss for the Celtics who needed a easy win to start of their three game road trip. They face much tougher tasks this weekend as they face the Mavericks and Grizzles on back-to-back nights. While the Mavericks haven't been great this year they're no easy team to beat especially if we're losing to teams the Hornets. Hopefully the JET will have a bounce back game on Friday night against his former team and the Celtics can avoid losing their third straight.