As you can imagine with 2 of the highest scoring offenses in the league meeting up, the action can get fast and hairy. These 2 teams didn't really disappoint, providing plenty of offense. Like good teams do, the Kings hung around all game and then got it done late. The Celtics were shooting 55% FG and had a 46-22 advantage in Point in the Paint after 3 quarters. We out fast broke them, held as much as a double digit lead in the 3rd quarter and in fact led most of the game. Then we get to the 4th quarter, which was when Sacto tightened up the defense and the C's went too much 1 on 1 on offense, after being so successful sharing the ball most of the game. I think this, along with Sacto being in a funk for a little while after the loss of a key cog in the machine early in the game contributed to the game playing out how it did.
Fairly easy buckets and a fast pace opened the tilt. The Celtics got out front 12-8 by the 7:58 mark and Paul Pierce (PP) had a quick 6pts. Around 6:48, a rebound and Celtics break the other way saw Peja Stojakovic hobble straight to the Kings bench, instead of joining his teammates defending thier goal up court. This left the Kings shorthanded and after the patience of 2 passes, the Celtics found the open man in Raef LaFrentz for a 3pter and that stopped play. Out of the timeout, Gary Payton (GP) stole the ball and fed a streaking Tony Allen (TA) for a big 2 handed reverse dunk and the Celtics leading 17-11 with 6:21 left in the 1st quarter.
Raef had a nice tip-in, off an offensive board that saw the C's lead now 19-15 with 5:15 left. The rest of the stanza went into one of the games predictable slugfest type scoring runs with both teams scoring on seeming every possession. With just under a minute left Blount finished it up with a score on a feed from GP, after rolling to the middle on a screen. He was fouled, but failed to convert the FT and the quarter ended with the Celtics leading 29-26.
Celtics shot 52%FG and had 20 points in the paint (pip)
Random Stat: The Celtics are 10-5 when Perkins plays 10 or more minutes.
Ricky Davis (RD) was double teamed and passed out of it to a wide open Kendrick Perkins (Perk) for a monster two-handed jam at 11:22. Perk then returned the favor by setting a screen for RD that he used to pull up for a 20ft jumper. RD scored on a spin move on the baseline for an easy layup and then at 4:45 tied the game at 42-42 with a mid-range jumper.
On the next possession, RD got to entertain. He recieved a kick out pass on the left baseline. His defender responded to it by running out to meet him and then after biting on a pump fake, enduring the indignity of watching RD blow by him and throwing down a big, sweeping hook of a one handed dunk. GP ran over Bibby, off the dribble, and was called for the offensive foul. He then compounded the issue by getting T'ed up for complaining about it. After all the FT's, the Kings had tied it at 47 apiece. (By my count, that's 4 technicals this season for GP. Don't you sit a game when you reach 7?)
Blount actually scooped up the ball off the floor from a bad pass by RD that went to his feet. Blount collected the ball and scored from deep in the paint to give the C's a 51-49 lead with 1:31 left in the half. RD helped push the ball up the floor and rewarded Raef for getting up it as well, when he delivered a nice pass that Raef dunked overtop of Brad Miller, drawing a foul with 1:12 left and the C's now leading 54-49. However, after a quick score, Cuttino Mobley (Cat) hit a 3pter with :05 left and tied the game at 54-54.
At the Half: TIE GAME - 54 ALL
The C's jumped out to a relatively quick 10pt lead (64-54) by the 8:41 mark. GP scored on a tough drive at 7:19 that made it 68-56. On the next end down, he earned a Tommy Point for a nice piece of defense that saw him contest a Bibby drive well enough that Bibby missed a shot from within 1 ft of the basket. Miller, CWEBB and Bibby kept at the Celtics defense and by 4:11 had cut the C's lead to a more manageable 70-64 after trailing by twice that. Maurice Evans hit a 3pter for the Kings that capped off a 9-0 run and now saw the C's lead diminished to 70-67.
CWebb had collected a triple-double by the 2:00 mark in the 3rd. Mobley torched RD on a drive to the hole at 1:42 and the Kings had tied the score again. A closing fury set upon both teams. PP hit a jumper near the FT line to make it 77-75. CWebb answered on the next trip down. GP scored on a drive the following possession. GP then collected a steal and an assist when he pushed the ball backup the floor and fed Blount for a score with :25 left. (This is a fair example of the way runs went during the course of the game.) The quarter ended with no more offense and the Celtics led 81-77.
Tom Gugliota(Googs) got into the mix early in the final stanza with a big block and then hustle to keep it from going out of bounds. Delonte West again saw short time. He collected 2 quick fouls during his time in the 4th. However, he challenged a bigger Evans on a break away dunk attempt, which I thought spoke well of competitive spirit. He got called for the foul, but kept Evans from dunking and did it safely.
However, after a Bibby steal and score, the Kings now lead 85-81 at 10:13 and had just went on a 8-0 run. A deep RD jumper with a defender hanging on him stemmed the tide temporarily. 85-83 Kings, 9:38 left. Bibby then continued his tear with another 3pter, this one from the baseline. With the score the same, Raef collected big rebound from within a sea of Kings and even managed to induce a foul doing it. 88-83 Kings, 8:18 left.
PP went to the FT line on 2 consecutive trips and got the C's back to within one at 88-87 with 7:18 remaining in the contest. Evans fought hard to get to the hoop and score to give the Kings a full possession cushion, but PP hit a 3pter to tie it at 90 ALL with 5:48 remaining. Blount directed and tipped out a rebound to RD at the right elbow area. As the defense reacted and moved to RD, the Celtics continued to move on offense and a cutting Raef was hit with a bounce pass deep in the post for a short floating bank shot. Timeout Kings at 4:53. 92-92.
Raef gave the C's a brief lead at 3:54 with 2 FT's, making it 94-93. Blount hit a 15fter to get the C's ahead 96-93, but another Bibby 3pter at 2:48, knotted it at 96. RD hit a tough 10ft fall-away shot with 2:19 remaining. However, CWebb answered with a short hook shot inside the paint and it was again tied, this time at 98.
A timeout came at 1:36 with the score still even at 98 ALL. PP was drawing alot of attention from the Kings defenders. Cat Mobley et al had done a fair job of making PP miserable most of the 2nd half. Doc was clearly calling PP's number, but he just couldn't get open enough to get off good shots. RD looked like a better scoring option at this point. He seemed to be able to get free of his matchup and I'm surprised that Doc didn't make this adjustment quicker.
Pierce FT's got the C's ahead 100-98, coming out of the timeout. Cousy, Gorman and Heinsohn all chastized CWebb for a behind the back pass to Bibby very late in the game that netted the Kings only 1 of 2 FT's. However, Bibby hit another 3pter after collecting a loose ball Cwebb had bobbled. He advantagiously used the reaching CWebb as a screen and and drained the open shot. Trailing 102-100 with only :38.2 left, the Celtics took a timeout. At this point, the lead was enough to secure a win for the visitors. The longest remaining possession saw a scrum of wannabe rebounders continuously tipped the ball for about :08 until someone collected it and got it out to Evans. RD got back and challenged the play so as to not give up the easy bucket, but Evans hit his FT's anyways and it was over. Celtics Lose......
Final Score: 104-100 Kings Win.
Player of the Game: Raef LaFrentz
PP, RD, and GP all deserve some consideration for thier efforts. However, Raef put up 25pts and 9rbs and played some pretty decent defense as well.