Solid Bench + Clutch Plays = Big Road Win | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Solid Bench + Clutch Plays = Big Road Win

This quote from Doc Rivers sums up last night's win over the Cavaliers:

“The second unit saved the game for us,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “And then the first unit down the stretch won the game for us.

When Doc began substitutions late in the 1st quarter, the Celtics were trailing 21-12. When all the starters returned to the floor with 4 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, the Celtics lead 39-38, courtesy of Rasheed Wallace's two 3s (watch video), four points from Marquis Daniels, four free throws from Shelden Williams and one Eddie House three-point bomb.

The starters stretched the lead to 15 in the 3rd quarter, and by the team they returned to the court in the 4th, the reserves maintained a 9 point lead. LeBron and Cleveland made a run, but were rebuffed by clutch Celtic play:

  • Celtics lead 80-76 at 5:43 – Pierce dishes to Perkins for layup and foul. He makes free-throw.
  • Celtics lead 83-79 at 4:03 – Pierce nails 17-footer
  • Celtics lead 85-79 at 2:43 – Garnett banks home a ridiculously difficult 13-footer (watch video)
  • Celtics lead 87-83 at 1:03 – Pierce seals the game with an 18-footer after LBJ missed a 3

The bench depth did prove valuable late in this game. With the Cavs playing off Perk, Doc made the move to Sheed. Even though he missed two threes, the substitution changed Cleveland's defensive scheme. After Pierce nailed that 17-footer, Doc pulled him for Marquis Daniels because Pierce had 5 fouls. Would Doc have made that same move if say, Tony Allen was coming off the bench? I doubt it.

I know it's just one game, but the formula for success is something we should see all season long, no matter who the opponent.

Today's Links: GlobeNew Look Celtics Make Statement | Win Was a Benchmark (Ryan) | Garnett Stands Tall | HeraldCs Win Ends Slump in Cleveland | KG All Good After Hard Hits | Glen Davis Suspended for Fight | Yahoo! SportsRondo, Cs Back at Bargaining Table | Sheed Eases Pain of BBD Blunder

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  • Josh

    if you think back to last season, how many times can you say the bench saved the game?
    this is going to be a fun season to watch if we can rely on the bench to extend leads and give extra rest to the starters.

  • Bas Rutten Jr.

    Kinda off topic here, but I don’t think any outlet has made mention. Remember the possesh where Rajon grabbed two offensive rebounds in a row? And then went for a third (I think that’s how it happened), and took a HUGE spill. He got his legs taken out from under him and landed flat on his back. Anyone else see that?? I was holding my breath for that one. Of course that bag of rubber and muscle came jogging, albeit slowly, up the court a little while later.

  • AboveTheRim

    Bas Rutten,
    Yeah i thought Rondo was dead on that play. Took him forever to get up the floor too…Shaq wasn’t having any more of being out rebounded by a 6’1 guard and dropped his ass. Scary play.
    Kids young, he’ll bounce back up like Iverson in his days.