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Celtics(W) vs Jazz(L) - 109-102: A Little Twaney, Twan, 'Toine...

You just can't script anything related to the Antoine Walker saga right now. Who would have thought this game would see Paul Pierce, Raef Lafrentz and Tony Allen all on the bench with 4 fouls during points in the 3rd. Ricky Davis not scoring a FG until 5:24 left in the 4th and Antoine just motoring along the whole time. The new Employee #8 reminded us on a few plays that he is the future and .... well, let's not get ahead of ourselves....

The Celtic Starters for this game were: Paul Pierce(PP), Antoine Walker (AW),Raef LaFrentz (RL), Delonte West (DW),and Tony Allen (TA).

The game started off ominously enough when at the 10:46 mark TA rolled his ankle badly enough that the C's needed to burn a :20 timeout to get him off the floor. He stepped out to defend on Raja Bell and stepped on Raja's foot, to roll the ankle outwardly. He left the game and went directly to the lockerroom.

Delonte west got into the offensive fray early with a long jumper from the elbow extension to make it 5-2 Celtics with 10:24 left. AW missed on a bunny opportunity but scored in the post on the next possession to make up for it and the C's led 7-6 with 8:52 left. Raef muscled his way to the hoop for 2, to make it 9-6 and 8:27 remaining. By the time 'Toine shot his first 3pt attempt as a Celtic again at 4:46 the game had gotten much tighter. DW hit a big 3pter to make it 20-18 with 3:42 left. However, when the Celtics called timeout at the 2:26 mark, Utah was leading 22-20.

**The Celtics seem slightly disjointed right now. They are passing the ball well, but the possessions seems to be short and rushed. Many of them are coming down to 1 on 1 controlled isolations. We're choosing iso's that are driving situations and it's not going that well for us.** Utah currently bests us in the assists category 9-3.

Pierce scored in the paint (where 40+ of the C's points came from tonight) to keep the C's with the Jazz 24-22. DW had the benefit of a new scoring opportunity as Raef redirected an offensive rebound to him. He hit the open 3 and the C's trailed 27-25 with :47 left. RD went strong to the hole and was fouled with :02.4 remaining. He hit 1 of 2 FT's. It would be the only FT he missed all night (and he spent alot of time at the line tonight).
End of 1: 27-26 Jazz

Big Al Jefferson opened the scoring in the 2nd with a big dunk to keep the C's close at 31-28 with 10:46 left. He then went down on the block to score with a soft hook and then again with a short, straight on floater in the paint. With 8:12 remaining, the C's trail 33-32. Jefferson was displaying some nice back to the basket work and just some general paint savvy. For a rookie, I love his footwork.

Marcus Banks (MB) had a nice open court steal and layup score to see the Celtics now ahead 36-33 with 7:50 remaining. I know I'm not supposed to chastize the opposing announcers, but would they please stop calling Mark Blount, Corey Blunt. I mean once is an acceptable slip, but it's happened at least 3 times already. The Jazz pretty much just kept plugging away, passing the ball and finding scoring opportunities. The score got close and lead changes were frequent.

Delonte pulled up for a long jumper from just inside the arc and the C's took the lead back 41-40. PP got nasty on Andrei Kirilenko (AK47) in the paint and threw down a fierce turn around dunk. However, AK47 returned the favor with a 3pter on the other end and with 3:35 to go in the half, the Jazz lead again 44-43.

Antoine got to the hoop with a short drive to make it 47-46 with 2:15 remaining. McLeod then left his mark on the half by hitting a 3pter with :36 secs left and then going strong to the hole and getting to the line and making 1 of 2.

At the half: 55-49 Jazz.

**We didn't really seem to gel well as a team, but we were finding ways to stay in the game. 2nd quarter was better than the 1st and I think I know why I felt better about it. Most of the iso's were going into the post and our scoring opportunities were focused in much closer proximity to the basket.**

2nd Half

Raef and AK47 traded FG's to start the quarter. PP scored in traffic off a cut on an inbounds play. AW meandered his way to the hole for a score also and when PP left the game at 10:13 with 4 fouls the Celtics trailed 58-55. A swing around the horn saw 'Toine putting a turn around post jumper to get the C's to within 3 at 60-57. TA hit a 3pter at 8:27 and Raef was the finisher on a fastbreak and the Celtics had tied it at 62-62, 7:48 remaining. 'Toine took advantage of his matchup with the slower Collins and got himself to the line for his effort and a traditional 3pt play. 65-64 Celtics 7:18 left.

At the timeout with 5:55 remaining, the Jazz led 69-68. 'Toine scored on another low block, turn-around lay-in. It's now 75-70 and the Jazz just keep plugging away. You gotta love Jerry Sloan teams. They may not be talented, but he always gets the most out of them. AW scoring again in the post is helping the counter the fact that Harpring is killing us this quarter. Blount hit a jumper from the elbow to get it to 79-74 and then again scored with a low block turn around score to close it to 79-76. Delonte West was able to go coast to coast for a score before time had expired and at the end of 3: 80-78.

RD helped set the tone for the finish by taking an aggressive drive to the hole on the first possession. He hit his 2 FT's and tied the game at 80 ALL at only the 11:50 mark. RD's stat line to this point: 0/7 FG's 7/8 FT's. With Paul Pierce on the bench in foul trouble, RD was taking the initiative upon himself to make sure the wing positions continued to attack the basket. He got to the line the way PP gets to the line.

Banks hit an open 3pter at 10:57 and then another 3pter at the 10:00 mark, this time with company hanging around. 86-80 Celtics. Big Al scored on turn around move in the low post and was fouled. After he hit the FT, it was 89-82 with 9:00 left. As if dueling banjo's was playing in the background, Delonte West hit a 3pter at the 8:09 mark and the Celtics led by double digits: 92-82.

Blount pushed off while in his pivot, but no call and he then managed to deliver a pass to a cutting PP under the basket for a short hoop. 95-86. AW also managed to miss another bunny shot. As I mentioned earlier, RD FINALLY hit a FG with a mid range jumper around the elbow. 97-88 with 5:24 remaining.

Blount got a pass to AW in the box for a score at 4:51 to keep the C's ahead 99-89. RD got the the foul line for 2 more points and the C's retained that 10pt buffer at 101-91. The Jazz scored twice, the second when Harpring managed to collect a ball he kicked ahead of himself. I think everyone was watching to see if he was going to fall on his head. When he collected it and looked up, there was the basket and all the defenders were standing around. 101-95 and the Jazz just keep plugging away. Timeout Boston with 3:12 remaining.

Delonte West has 7 rbs at this point. I'm impressed. Mcleod was again involved in a late quarter charge by the Jazz as he was fouled taking a 3pter that he made. He had the opportunity for the rare 4pt play, but missed the FT. (The fundamentals will get ya every time.) 103-100 with 1:35 remaining.

**Antoine's choice to shoot a 3pter with :40 secs left and time still on the shotclock will be speculated over. For the record, I thought it was a poor shot choice. His only defense is that he was really the only person that was "on". I'd still rather have had a shot closer to the basket. That's just me. Mcleod scored on a driving layup and with only :36.6 left, the Celtics led by a mere point: 103-102.**

Blount was on the cut across the paint and was fed the ball. He was fouled on the attempt and missed the shot. He hit his 2FT's and put the Celtics ahead 105-102 with :16.6 remaining. The Jazz had to foul RD with :09.7 left and he once again visited charity lane, not once but twice more before it was over. He had scored 17 points and 13 of those points were from the charity stripe. More importantly, the Celtics had won: 109-102.

Final Score: 109-102 Celtics

Player of the Game: You call it!

Delonte West - 16pts, 7rbs, 3 assts, 2 stls. Not bad Rookie.

Ricky Davis - 17pts, 2 assts, 1blk. Hey, we applaud Paul for being productive this way, might as well be fair.

Antoine Walker - 24pts, 10rbs, 2 assts, 1blk Just 'Toine it.

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