This quote from Doc Rivers sums up last night's win over the Cavaliers:
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: Globe – New Look Celtics Make Statement | Win Was a Benchmark (Ryan) | Garnett Stands Tall | Herald – Cs Win Ends Slump in Cleveland | KG All Good After Hard Hits | Glen Davis Suspended for Fight | Yahoo! Sports – Rondo, Cs Back at Bargaining Table | Sheed Eases Pain of BBD Blunder