The Celtics' starters were just absolutely demolishing the Suns early. Just annihilating them. KG had 18 pts at the half, Rondo was playing well, Ray was hitting shots, just a massacre.
Then, about halfway through the third quarter, things changed. The Celtics had turned the ball over just once through the first half, but they were giving the ball up, getting trapped. The Suns had been slowed by the Celtics D early, but suddenly Aaron Brooks was tearing the Celtics defense to pieces. The Celtics were up 20 at the half, and still up 19 to end the 3rd, but by the 4th it was a game.
In the end though, it wasn't enough from Phoenix. Down the stretch, the Celtics did just enough. Just enough hustle, just enough defense, and just enough scoring. After the Suns had started the 4th with a 18-0 run (going back to the end of the 3rd), they just couldn't do enough to compensate for the Celtics' early advantage, and the C's managed to pull out a 10pt victory.
KG led the way with a spectacular first 3 quarters, and finished with 28pts and 11 boards. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce both had double-doubles of their own, and Ray Allen chipped in his now expected 19 or so points, going 4-6 from beyond the arc. Nenad Krstic continued to look like the more valuable piece of the Perkins trade. Maybe not the game you wanted to see play out after the first half, but in the end it was a game that was never really out of the Celtics' grasp.
Click after the jump to see 3rd and 4th quarter analysis.
-KG already has 20 points with the first bucket of the second half. Love the new 'scoring' edition of KG the last 10 games or so
-Krstic has a pretty sweet up and under move. And, I'm just going to say it...Perkins isn't making that shot on Robin Lopez.
-Vince Carter's beard reeks of resignation. Like he just doesn't care anymore. Maybe its the bone structure.
-Paul Pierce got himself a little bit too excited after a 'with authority!' dunk on Channing Frye, but you can hate on that all you want. I'll take a star who wants to keep pouring it on even with a 20 pt lead over a star that doesn't any day.
-KG loves taunting PG's on defense. Steve Nash, the latest to get the crouch.
-I don't know when it started or if it started, but I got the PHO broadcast tonight and the guys keep on referring to the starters as 'Rondo's Roughnecks'. I love it.
-Ray Allen only does significant things. When he shoots, its typically a 3. When he speaks, it is usually worth listening to, and when he dunks, you typically are amazed.
-The Boston Celtics didn't have the best end to the 3rd. Ended on a 9-0 run, but still only got outscored on the quarter by 1. Celtics up 91-72.
-I didn't get to watch parts of the first half, but the first shot I saw by Murphy? An embarrassing block from Gortat.
-The Suns get the score down to a 10 pt lead, and the Phoenix announcer says, "These Celtics fans are stunned, in shock right now" as the whole arena is screaming "LETS GO CELTICS!!!"
-Glen Davis hits a free throw at 8:17 left to end a 18-0 Suns run going back to the 3rd.
-This is early, and probably very immature, but Rondo and Krstic seem to have a much better chemistry on offense than Perkins and Rondo ever did.
-Things seem superficially dire when Phoenix gets the lead down to 8, but the Celtics doing just enough to keep the lead around 10 through most of the 4th. Its not that the C's are doing anything particularly well, but doing just enough to keep it around a double digit lead.
-Glen Davis with a hustle offsenive board off a FT at 2:15 left, and that's going to be the play the kept us ahead for the win. Or plays like it...because KG gets another board off a Rondo FT miss.
-Both teams over the limit at the 2 min mark, and this game becomes a free-throw parade. Rondo's inability to hit FT's with consistency becomes a glaring flaw.
-Pietrus's defense and hustle down the stretch along with Dudley's play at the end of the 3rd/beginning of the 4th are biggest elements of PHO still being in this game with less than 2 mins left.
-Glen Davis gets a wide open dunk and looks severely hurt. Just a silly injury at the end of a silly 2 mins of play. Hope he's okay.