March 12, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers small forward Caron Butler (5) and Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) battle for the ball during the first quarter of the game at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Tonight, the Celtics behaved like proper pirates. YAHRRR.
According to a Clippers fan on their Clips Nation SB Nation blog, it looked like Boston fans were outnumbering Clippers fans 80 to 20 in Staples Center. That's how you take care of boarding the clippers. Our squad? Well, they took care of the pillaging part.
Brandon Bass and Blake Griffin didn't waste a second making it clear that there's no lost love between them. Play was chippy from the get-go, as evident by the 5 technical fouls called in the first half: double technicals on Griffin & Stiemsma in the first quarter, and in the second quarter on Deandre Jordan and Kevin Garnett followed by a technical on Doc Rivers in that same quarter.
As always, we lost the battle of the rebounds (31-45 in their favor) and most of our problems during this tight game, came from the 20 (!!!) offensive rebounds they gathered. It's pretty clear we could've done with Chris Wilcox as Bass' foul trouble made us go to small ball more often than what would've been good for us... luckily coach Vinny Del Negro decided the Clippers would go small as well, to counter our... under-size "advantage". Bless.
You wouldn't notice from the box-score (12 points and 10 assists being rather pedestrian for him) but Rajon Rondo definitely made a strong case for the game ball. Holding Chris Paul to only a single field goal in the first three quarters, just 5 assists in the game with 3 of 12 shooting, the battle of the point guards was decided in favor of the green corner.
Another contender for said game ball would be the captain, Paul Pierce, as he led all scorers with 25 points, adding 7 assists. For those who care about that kind of thing: he led the Celtics with a plus-minus of +19.
Ray Allen seemed occupied for most of the game, following Mo Williams around the court. Mo went off for 21 points, fortunately connecting on just a single of his 8 three point attempts. Ray rolled his ankle in the waning seconds of the 4th quarter, crawling off the court on all fours before being helped to the locker room by head trainer Ed Lacerte. He came back out seconds later, ready to play, but Doc decided against putting Ray back in.
Though invisible for most of the game, Michael Pietrus came up clutch near the end of the game, defending, stealing and rebounding when it mattered most.
Also worth a mention: Avery Bradley played decent for a stretch, even on the offensive side of the ball, and had a pretty sweet dunk.
A tough, hard fought, much needed win, on this long road trip.