One silver lining that has developed as a result of the string of injuries has been the maturation of the bench. They stepped up and delivered a win last night. Steve Bulpett summarizes:
New Jersey won the first and third quarters - mainly the starters' province - by a combined 58-44. So while Rajon Rondo [stats] was generally incredible with 31 points, one off his career high, it was the lift from Eddie House (15 points), Stephon Marbury (four points, five assists in 15 minutes), Mikki Moore (nine points on 4-for-4, nine rebounds) and Tony Allen (six rebounds, tough defense) that got the Celtics their fifth straight triumph.
The bench crew brought the Celts back in the second quarter from a double-digit deficit to the lead. And when the Nets had come back from nine down to tie the game, the subs were the main ingredients in a 9-0 run that gave the C's the lead for good.
"They pretty much won the game," captain Paul Pierce said after a 10-point, four-turnover effort. "Shoot, (coach) Doc (Rivers) could have probably left them in the whole game and it probably wouldn't have been as close. They have great energy. Stephon is doing a great job getting into the defense and finding guys. Eddie House is shooting lights out right now. Mikki Moore is being active. We're extremely happy with the way the bench is coming in and picking up the starters when we're down."
Tommy and Mike talked about this during the game, but it bears repeating. Marbury and House are developing a nice little chemistry on the court. Eddie finds a sliver of open court and Steph finds him with crisp passes. If they can keep that up in the playoffs, they can provide that scoring punch the 2nd unit was looking for early in the season.