hagrid is away for the weekend, so filling in for him today is 44Thrilla from JustBBall.com
This was the last of seven straight games against the Western Conference for the "Cardiac Celtics" as they were refered to by Mike Gorman, and they started it off great with the help of GP.
Gary started the game off by setting up his teammates for the C's first two baskets. He found Blount and Jiri for easy buckets and then took one for himself as he drove for a layup. All of these plays were on the break, which was a great sign for Doc and the Celts.
The C's continued their aggresivness on the defensive side, and they were limiting the Jazz to taking mid-range jumpshots late in the shot clock. By the 7:39 mark, GP, Blount and the C's were up by 9, forcing a Utah timeout.
The aggresive play kept on coming and there was lots of Tommy points to go around. The whole team seemed focused, and they showed a lot of hustle. Doc couldn't help but to smile as the team kept on making the extra pass. The ball movement was very impressive. For a second there I thought I was watching a Kings game.
But, as the starters started working their way to the bench, the bench came in and looked a little sloppy and couldn't maintain the level of play, but fortunately it didn't hurt at all as the Celtics closed out the first quarter with a 29-17 lead.
We got to see our first "Ricky Dunk" of the season, as he stole the ball and had an uncontested route to the basket. It was dunk contest material, but Danny Ainge didn't seem to appreciate it as he sat in with Mike and Tommy. He said he would prefer a lay-in off the glass.
Our buddy Walta saw some minutes in the early 2nd, and he showed off his penetration skills with a nice drive and and dish to an open Al Jefferson for a dunk.
Marcus Banks was called for 2 quick fouls, and most of the time he was in the offense was stagnant. The Jazz started playing zone, and the bench didn't know how to attack it.
On the other end, The C's played some great D, and caused the Jazz offense to go stagnant as well. It wasn't until the 8:16 mark that they got their first field goal of the 2nd quarter.
Around the 7 minute mark most of the starters started coming back in. Ricky was putting on an offensive show, and the C's were dominant in the paint.
Eventually, the jumpers that the Jazz were taking started to fall. The Celts were struggling against the zone D. They couldn't get inside and settled for 3's, Jim O'Brien would have been proud. The Jazz started running the fast break, and got some easy points getting the lead down to 9. But GP finally busted the zone with a drive and a layup, and Jiri nailed a jumper off a pick the next time down the court. The lead was back up to 15.
Okur was drilling shots for the Jazz, as they tryed to claw back into the game. The half ended with a dumb Jazz foul that sent Jiri to the line for 3 shots. At the half, it was 58-40. That was the most points the Jazz have allowed in the First Half all year.
Not a very thrilling quarter of basketball. The C's broke a 20 point lead, the continued to run as Utah took jumpshots. Okur started to become a threat when he caught fire, but they never really made a good run.
GP continued to find everybody on the floor for open shots. Jiri benefited from some GP finds, and he made some noise in the 3rd.
The starters played the majority of the 3rd. They maintained their consistent offense and defense, and the Jazz couldn't cut down the lead. Ricky and Al came in near the 3 minute mark, and Banks shortly after. The C's closed off the quarter with a 19 point lead.
Doc sent out a lineup of Banks, Ricky, Tony, Jefferson, and Walter, until Walter started launching 3's and was replaced by Blount. The young guys racked up foul after foul and the C's were over the limit at the 8:39 mark in the 4th. Big Al made up for that by putting on a dunk show. One dunk over 2 Jazz 7 footers was highlight reel material. Man, was that dunk pretty.
The Jazz were starting to close the gap, and I starting thinking about another 4th quarter collapse. They starting playing sloppy, and commiting turnovers. Jefferson threw one pass into the 8th row.
So, Doc thought the fun was over and sent Pierce & friends back in to finish off the game. PP got called for a Technical after he threw the ball at Matt Harpring because Harpring grabbed him after a whistle was blown.
Utah had another run in them, and got it down to 8 on a fast break layup by Carlos Boozer.
Mark Blount fouled out with 18 points(9-of-11), and 5 rebounds.
The game was unofficially put away when GP converted a 3 point play with about a minute left to begin garbage time.
Garbage time became a foul fest, and the game took forever to finally end. There were over 40 free throw attempts in the 4th quarter alone.
Final Score: 114-106
Player Of The Game: (Too easy) Gary Payton 27 pts. 11 assists.