The game started a little after 7:30 pm on the east coast, but the Celtics didn't show up until around 9:00 pm when the second half was under way. Luckily, they could afford to play one half of basketball tonight against the lowly Nets, and the Celtics prevailed, 96-87.
With a performance so uninspiring in the first half, they needed a fire lit under them. So, Doc must have really given it to the team at halftime, right? Nope.
"I didn't say much- very little- at halftime, if anything," said Coach Doc Rivers. "I basically said, ‘I don't think I need to talk. We're a defensive team and tonight we want to outscore them.' And I said, ‘Good luck.' And that was about it."
Well, as short as the message was, it was loud and clear to the team as they came out in the second half with a little more energy and tenacity. After shooting at 63% clip in the first half, the Nets were held to a measly 29% from the field in the second half, scoring a total of 32 points.
"I think it was just one of those games where we weren't getting stops defensively, weren't talking, weren't communicating; we just weren't doing our jobs individually and collectively as a team on the defensive end," said Eddie House. "I think when we came in and saw they were shooting 63%, we made a conscious effort to make it a little harder for them and everybody was just taking care of their man and just rebounding the basketball."
Glen Davis and Eddie House provided the much needed spark off the bench in the second half, as House scored all ten of his points in the fourth quarter and Davis was very active on both ends of the floor.
"Our defensive energy picked up [in the second half]," said Rivers. "And that's why we won the game. I thought Baby (Glen Davis) has just great energy tonight in the second half. Those plays where he kept the ball alive, took a charge, I just thought he came and played with great energy. And obviously Eddie [House] making shots bailed us out."
"Feed the pig," said Rajon Rondo when asked about his passing of the ball to Eddie House in the fourth quarter. "Whoever has it going, whether it is Ray, Kevin, or Paul."
Rondo notched yet another double-double, his 23rd of the season, as he scored 17 points and dished out 11 assists. To put into perspective the improvement Rondo has made this season, he had 23 double-doubles to his name for his career prior to the start of this season.
Ray Allen scored 15 of his 27 points in the second half as he ended the game shooting 9/17 from the field with seven rebounds.
"Ray shot well tonight," said Rasheed Wallace, who scored seven points, grabbed three boards, and dished out five assists. "He shot the three ball pretty good, he carried us and gave us big buckets at times when we needed them."
Kevin Garnett passed Gary Payton for 23rd all-time in scoring with 21,816 points. He is four rebounds shy of passing Dennis Rodman for 20th all-time in rebounds at 11,954, which may very well occur during Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic, a game in which Kevin Garnett knows is important.
"I think for ourselves, we don't want to put too much emphasis on it but we do know that it is a big game, and that we do need to play better. I don't think we are fully satisfied with our current play. I won't make an over-emphasis of this game, but it is a big game."
Kendrick Perkins was quick to agree with Garnett on the subject.
"It's huge after blowing it in Orlando, obviously we want revenge but we can't talk about it we just have to come out and do it."
The Celtics will not be able to show up midway through the game against Orlando if they want a win, so that defense and energy shown in the second half will have to carry over to Sunday.