Since this was on the Duece (ESPN2) I'm not going to get into details, as most of the world had the opportunity to watch this game, or at the very least, tape it.
Let me start by saying (since we won, I can) that the referees, in my opinion, blew more calls and ignored more fouls than I could stomach tonight. I spent most of the 3rd quarter screaming at the television. Don't tell me about the FT discrepancy in the Celtics favor. If you watched the game, you KNOW what I'm talking about. I wish each referee who called the game tonight one hour in hell for every obvious call they blew. Yes, I'm that annoyed. (Sorry to all the parents of youngins out there for that last remark. I know it doesn't necessarily stay with our "family atmosphere".)
Now, back to the game. The 76ers came out hot, shooting 60% in the first quarter and jumping out to as much as a 15 pt lead. However, the Celtics battled back to take the lead 34-33 at 8:19 in the 2nd quarter. We can credit alot of that run to RD going 8/8 at the FT line and Al Jefferson working the post for some nice interior scoring. Al eventually became a non-factor in the 2nd half due to foul trouble, but he certainly helped alot in the 1st half. Take what you can get, I say.
At halftime, the Celtics trailed 54-50.
I had several questions in my notes at the half, here they are in no particular order:
1.Why were we standing around the arc for the last 4-5 minutes of the half?
2. In that same regard, why weren't we still attacking the basket, after getting several key 76er players in fouls trouble?
3. Why didn't we go to 'Toine more? I can count the number of plays called for him in the 1st half on one hand and thumbs don't count for this one.
I think I already expressed my thoughts on the 3rd quarter. Just once, I'd like to see Paul Pierce get the same kind of fouls called for him that Allen Iverson does. When the ESPN announcers called AI "the best actor in the NBA" several times during the course of the game, somebody in the league office should take notice.
Still, the Celtics managed to end the 3rd tied with the 76ers: 78 All.
I'm also at a loss for why Tony Allen didn't get more playing time? With Delonte basically out with a thumb injury (Doc said "If you see Delonte in this game, you know we're in trouble"), TA should have gotten more burn, particularly given his defense. However, Banks did his best to get the job done and had his moments, good and bad.
I'm not going to rant much longer and should lighten the tone by saying one simple statement: "In Paul, I trust". If you want to know why we won this game, look no further. He hit the floor for loose balls, rebounded like a champ and led the team in scoring. Given the fact that he couldn't seemingly buy a call in the 1st half, I thought this was a hell of an impressive game for him, particularly the rebounding numbers.
In closing, the Celtics sucked it up and got the job done. It wasn't always pretty and I'm sure there's plenty of Celtics fans out there with heads of hair numbering less than when the game started. However, we hit most of our FT's down the stretch and played much better defense in the 4th quarter than I felt we played all game. We pulled it together when it counts. That's what good teams do. Let's hope it continues.
Final: 105-98 Celtics Win and take a 3 game lead in the Atlantic division race.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce
27 pts, 13 rbs, 4 assts, 2 stls, 1 blk. PP simply got it done tonight.