Let me open with something pleasant: Today, Red Auerbach took Delonte West, Tony Allen, Al Jefferson and even Justin Reed to lunch.
Now that I've gotten all the positive news from the first half out of the way, let's continue.
To put it in Red Sox vernacular, we stunk so bad that Former Celtic Milt "F'n" Palacio was making us look bad. To put it mildly, it was ugly. Not just us though, the whole game.
At the 6:30 mark in the 1st, the FG's were a respective 4/15 for the Raps and 3/10 for the C's. When I was younger, Syracuse University had a reputation for being a horrible FT shooting team. The local shops around the university stocked foam "Syracuse brick's" so that frustrated fans could throw them at the TV without breaking them. In the first half, I wish I still had mine.
Our defense was collapsing too much and giving up open perimiter shots (that thankfully mostly went missed by the Raps) and our offense (cough, cough) was stagnant with little movement off the ball. Paul Pierce collected 2 early fouls and sat most of the quarter.
I watched Mark Blount (good ole stonehands himself) catch, no,..... excuse me, collect a pass and score a short jumper after it BOUNCED OFF HIS CHEST, back into his hands.
Marcus Banks continued his growing pains, when Ricky Davis ran a screen cut under the rim and was so wide open under the rim that he literally stood there clapping his hands for the ball. Marcus never delivered it.
Just when I felt it couldn't get uglier, at 1:36 still left in the first, Walter McCarty entered the game. As I slapped my forehead with a Homer Simpson like "Doah", my wife looked at me and said "you know it's not a good sign when Waltah's in this early".
Somehow at the half the Score was only 52-43
And just so I'm not completely negative about the travesty that was the first half, We got word from a Willy May interview that Delonte West feels that he'll only be out 4-6 weeks, despite the post op prognosis that it could be 10-12.
Let me start by saying that somehow we managed to win this game. I'm going to spoil the player of the game by telling you it's Mark Blount, but before then, I've got to give credit where credits due,
Jeff, forgive me for the blasphemy, but on this friday, it's not TGIF, but rather TGIR: Thank God, It's RAEF!!!
I'm going to institute several awards tonight and a Hustle Award is one of them. It's inaugural winner is without a doubt, Raef LaFrentz. He cleaned the boards (12 rbs in all), kept balls alive, blocked and altered shots and just flat out busted his a**.
On one play, he scored a hoop, lost his shoe, picked it up, ran down the floor with it in his hand and got the ensueing rebound. I don't need to say anything more than that about his effort.
At 4:30 left in the 3rd Mike Gorman said "the Celtics are going to have to jump up and steal this game. The Raps have controlled it since the start".
That may sound like we'd been fighting an uphill battle, but keep in mind that Tommy said shortly afterwards, that Vince Carter "looked very unathletic" on a play. Hopefully that leads you in the direction of how ugly the play was in this game.
The C's got it close, when with rougly 1:00 left in the 3rd, the Raps got 2 technicals in short succession: one by Rafer Alston and one by Loren Woods. At the end of the 3rd: 68-66 Raps.
Jiri Welsch tied it up at 68 at the 11:25 mark with a short pull-up jumper off a break.
Once again, we revisit the Marcus Banks maturity saga: with 10:50 left in the 4th, the C's had a steal and a 4 on 2 break. The Raps defenders managed 2 consecutive blocks on the attack and Banks collected a rebound in the paint, which he immediately took back out beyond the arc and reset the offense. Well done Marcus.
Ricky Davis then got hot with 2 consecutive scores, one 2 pter and one 3pter and the C's had thier first lead of the game 73-72 with 8:41 left.
More random ugliness ensued until Uncle Milty tied the score at 87 all with 1:23 left.
RD, Raef, PP and Blount carried the way in several dramatic and several ugly plays that led to a 91-89 win for the Celtics. I wish my words could give the maylee that happened with less than 1 min left justice, but I'd be lying if I thought I could. Tonly Allen and PP missed FT's. Blount scored a big bucket. RD made a good defensive play and Raef blocked the final Raps shot.
Allow me to exhale for a moment.......Ok, now as Mike Gorman stole from me in his ending: A Win is a Win, is a Win. That about sums up this game. Paul Pierce gave a nice post-game interview, which I'm sure most of the regular media resources will carry so I'm not going to waste time repeating it here. Just know that he seemed jovial and over the issues of last game.
The other award is the Cheerleader Award (probably not going to be an every game award, but I want to emphasis when someone really stands out), which tonight goes to Tony Allen, who's attitude and delight for the game was fairly evident, both while he was on the bench and on the court. Good attitude kid.
Player of the Game: Mark Blount
22 points on 11/15 shooting and 4 rebounds. I felt it was probably the quietest, but most profound 22 points of his Celtic career. He "just did his job" to the point that it wasn't until he had 16 points that Tommy and Mike recognized the game he was having. Simply put, the points just seemed to sneak up on you. Then again, in a game as ugly as this one, the guys who bust hump, usually end up being the heroes.
3 game winning streak going into a 5 game Western Conference road trip. We're on the up slope, let's hope we stay there. Next stop: Sacto and the Kings