Monday, November 25, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Celtics 96, Bobcats 86
By Chris Forsberg
Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 96-86 on Monday night at Time Warner Cable Arena:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Maybe it shouldn't surprise us that Gerald Wallace felt particularly comfortable in Charlotte. Back in his old stomping grounds (Wallace played 5+ seasons in Charlotte, leading the expansion Bobcats to the postseason), he scored a season-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block over 35:44. Jordan Crawford scored a team-high 21 points (4-of-6 beyond the 3-point arc), while Brandon Bass added 16 points and five rebounds while staying in the starting lineup. Kemba Walker (28 points on 11-of-17 shooting) and Gerald Henderson (20 points) paced the Bobcats.
The Celtics were up 10 in the third quarter before the Bobcats rallied to tie the game late in the frame. Unfazed, Boston embarked on an 11-0 burst during a 3:24 stretch spanning into the fourth quarter. Early in that final frame, Jeff Green had a driving layup, Courtney Lee hit a 3-pointer, and Kris Humphries had consecutive buckets to put Boston out front 77-66 with 9:15 to play. Phil Pressey (team-high eight assists off the bench) sparked the second-unit's efforts with his playmaking abilities.
Jared Sullinger had five points and a team-high eight rebounds, but his biggest contribution might have been on defense pushing around Al Jefferson and never letting the Boston draftee get too comfortable. Jefferson finished with 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting and had only three rebounds. ... Kelly Olynyk (sprained ankle) Keith Bogans (illness) remained out for Boston. ... MarShon Brooks was the only healthy DNP. ... Avery Bradley finished 1-for-6 for two points over a mere 8:42, sitting much of the second half in part because of foul trouble. But the inspired play of Pressey and Crawford allowed Bradley to take it easy on a night when he struggled. ... Lee was a team-best plus-18 in plus-minus while scoring 11 points over 15 minutes, and Humphries (plus-17 over 16:20) was right behind him.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have now won two straight, finishing strong during a stretch of five games in five cities over seven nights. Boston heads home for Thanksgiving, but it has a pair of games sandwiched around the holiday with visits from Memphis (Wednesday) and Cleveland (Friday). Regardless, a daunting November schedule is winding down and the team will have additional practice time and fewer games as December arrives. It's a chance to build off a dizzying streak-filled start to the 2013-14 season.