I have not seen a better 1st half from the Boston Celtics in a long time. Everything was clicking; Rondo was driving and dishing, Pierce was attacking, KG was nailing jumpers and everyone was playing great defense. The C's held the Jazz to 37% from the field, and only turned the ball over 2 times. Rondo and Ryan Hollins connected on 2 alley-oops, and the C's went into halftime up 46-35.
The 3rd quarter started with more of the same-Pierce driving for a layup & and-one, KG hit a couple of buckets, and the C's were up by 18, 61-43 with about 7 minutes left in the 3rd.
Then the C's let their foot of the gas and stopped doing what was working. Blame it on a thin bench, or being tired, but the C's simply stopped attacking and let-up on defense. The Jazz then went on an 18-7 run and the game was tied at 66 early in the 4th. C's fans on Twitter (where I was tonight during most of the game) feared another late-game collapse.
But some big shots by Sasha and Keyon Dooling got the C's back-up 78-70 with 6:54 to go in the game, and KG, Bass and Pierce took it from there. Al Jefferson struggled most of the 1st-half, but got into a groove in the 2nd half to score 16 of his 18 points. Gordon Hayward led Utah w/19.
Rajon Rondo was phenomenal tonight. He had some highlight-reel passes and a couple of sweet alley-oops to newcomer Ryan Hollins. Rondo had 14 assists, 6 points and 4 boards. He's got to stop getting too cute on that "roll the ball" play though. Anyone who saw his costly turnover happen because of it tonight knows what I mean. KG continued to defy-age and critics alike to score 23 pts and pull-down 10 boards. That is his 7th double-double this month. The Big Ticket also had 4 assists, 2 steals and a block. That mid-range game of his has allowed him to continue to be a huge contributor to the C's offense.
Paul Pierce had another solid game, putting in 20 points, and more importantly getting to the rim and the FT line where he was 7 of 7. He struggled from downtown though, going 1 of 6. Brandon Bass chipped in 19 points, and hit some key jumpers in the 4th. Greg Stiemsma continued to be great on defense-he had 3 blocks and was active all-night-drawing charges and patrolling the paint. C's are now off until Friday when they are back on the road to the face Kevin Love, who is on an absolute tear right now, and the Wolves.