UPDATE (2:47AM): CSNNE's Abby Chin reported late in the broadcast that Ryan Anderson suffered a cervical stinger in the back of his neck and was taken to a local Boston hospital where he will receive further treatment. Anderson is expected to remain in Boston overnight along with the team's assistant athletic trainer and a member of the Pelicans' security team. Thankfully, Anderson is expected to be just fine.
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Tonight’s affair got off to a pretty slow start as the Celtics and Pelicans shot just 33 and 30 percent from the field, respectively, during the game’s opening minutes. But following a timeout that was called around the six minute mark, both teams seemed to snap out of their early-game funks. The Pelicans went on to shoot 75 percent from the floor for the rest of the frame and their efficient scoring ultimately resulted in a 14-4 run as the quarter wound down. Luckily, the Celtics were able to take advantage of some solid offensive rebounding from Kris Humphries. In fact, it was the second chance points that Boston was able to accumulate off of those boards that kept this game close at 22-17 heading into the second.
The second quarter featured a lot of the same from both sides; a fast-paced, jump-shot-happy quarter that never really resulted in any significant runs for either squad. Neither team made it a point to get anything going towards the basket and they combined for just 10 attempts from the free throw line in the entire half. Despite some extremely solid play from the New Orleans bench (Evans 10 points; Stiemsma 8; Anderson 10; Roberts 6) the Celtics went into the locker room trailing by just six points thanks in part to Brandon Bass' 12 points on 6-6 shooting from the floor.
When the Cs and Pellies reconvened for the second half, the two clubs began the third quarter trading baskets one after another. But mid-way through the quarter, Avery Bradley made a phenomenal one-handed block/strip on New Orleans point guard Jrue Holiday which he then took and pushed hard up the floor for an easy Boston bucket in transition. From there, the Celtics rode the momentum sparked by Bradley’s scrappy defensive play and ripped off a 13-4 run between the four and a half and two minute marks, taking a small 69-67 lead. However, a Roberts three and a Stiemsma dunk on either end of the Cs next bucket gave the Pelicans a 73-72 lead going into the final stanza.
Unfortunately, Ryan Anderson sustained a very scary neck injury at the beginning of the fourth after colliding with Gerald Wallace prior to a Pelicans in-bounds pass. Anderson immediately fell to the floor and laid there still on his back until team doctors and on-hand aid determined that he would need to be taken out on a stretcher. The game was delayed about five to six minutes while Anderson was tended to, no doubt sucking the life out of both teams.
However, there was still another 11 or so minutes that needed to be played before New Orleans would be able to check in on their fallen man.
As you might expect, both sides were relatively flat when play resumed, especially the Celtics. Brad Stevens’ crew went through a stretch where they missed 11 straight field goal attempts but somehow, someway managed to stay right in the game with some solid defensive play and six straight makes from the charity stripe via Jared Sullinger.
After a few minutes of extremely sloppy play, this game came down to the wire. With just under a minute remaining Jeff Green knocked down two key free throws to narrow the Pelicans’ lead to just one. Then, with 20 seconds remaining, Humphries came up with a key block on Evans as he drove to the basket. The ball deflected off of Evans prior to falling out of bounds, giving the Celtics another shot. With that possession, Avery Bradley took the ball straight to the rim looking for a foul after a failed layup attempt. Only the foul never came and Anthony Davis came down with the rebound.
Brian Roberts subsequently knocked down two free throws after an intentional foul and an errant turn around three point attempt by Sullinger slammed off the side of the back board and harmlessly fell to the floor, marking the Celtics’ 20th loss of the season.
Pelicans’ bench outscores Boston’s 50-20.
Celtics grabbed an unheard of 21 offensive boards; Sullinger had 9, Humphries had 6