The Celtics Young Guns played great tonight. In fact, we owe them this game. They added energy, up tempo hustle and grit to this game. Marcus Banks, Tony Allen, Al Jefferson and Ricky Davis led the C's to victory with inspirational play.
Tony Allen did not start tonight, due to an unspecified disciplinary issue with the team. Delonte West got the nod tonight in his absence.
Raef, Paul and 'Toine all had good games, but I just can't stop thinking about the way the 2nd unit stepped up tonight. Banks in particular took advantage of some floor time and passed and shot his way into the fans hearts tonight.
You've gotta love the diversity this team possesses. On any given night, you have the usual suspects and at least 1-2 of the young guys/2nd unit stepping up and having a big game. You can't contend without that kind of support.
I wasn't particularly happy with the refereeing again tonight, as I felt they called a lot of soft fouls on the C's, while not calling the Wiz for the same type fouls. A 41-17 FT shooting discrepancy is pretty disgusting, IMO. Anyways, here's a short recap.
Tied 99 ALL with 1:34 remaining in the 4th
Hughes scored on 3/4 court run after collecting the ball after Jefferies stripped PP on a drive to put the Wizards ahead 101-99 with 1:01 left. PP missed an open 3pter on the C's possession. Raef came up with a nice block on an Arenas drive and the ball went off another Wiz player out of bounds. Celtics call timeout with :28.9 remaining in the contest.
The play drawn up went to RD, who squeezed his way between 2 defenders and into the paint, where Brendan Haywood got caught moving while trying to draw the offensive foul. RD made the tough floater and the FT and the Celtics now led 102-101 with :21.1 remaining. This proved to be the game winner. Out of the Wizard timeout, Doc sent TA back into the game to defend Jamison. It proved to be a great call, as TA combined with GP to pressure the Wiz into a turnover that netted TA 2 FT's with :15.5 left and the C's now leading 104-101. On the final Wizard possession, Arenas missed a long 3pt attempt over the top of a screen and GP collected the rebound and was immediately fouled. He iced the game with :09.5 left by hitting the back end of his charity trip and the Celtics win 105-101 to go 4 games ahead of Philly in the race for the Atlantic.
Here are some "young guns" highlights:
'Toine had a big block that TA collected and pushed up the court, pulling up around 18ft to beat the half time buzzer and make sure the C's went to the lockerroom with a lead: 53-50. Even Wyc was on his feet for the play.
A sequence of plays between the 9th and 6th minutes saw the following -
Banks with a drive, draw and dish to TA underneath who flushed a big 2 handed dunk. On the next trip down, Banks got the rebound in the paint, pump faked twice and then scored in the trees.
TA drove and dished to Big Al for a low post score and one play later was on the receiving end of a swing around the horn that saw TA net a 3pter. Banks stole the ball and drove into the paint but missed his attempt, but Big Al trailed the play and grabbed the rebound for a huge follow up-dunk. Banks made the top of the key his favorite spot tonight for jumpers as he hit one at 6:05 to put the C's ahead 91-89. The Wiz called a timeout and the Celtic players on the bench came out to congratulate Banks on a great stretch of play.
We're coming around folks. It's not always pretty and we still experience some lapses, but the teams definitely coming around.
Player of the Game: 2nd Unit
50 pts/ 21 rbs/ 13 assts. They provided the spark and energy that got us this win. It's a strong reminder that while we've got All-Star quality players, teams win games.