Boston Celtics: 2010Game 23
--NO STYLE POINTS AS STREAK REACHES DOUBLE FIGURES--
The Celtics have slowly put together one of the ugliest 10-game winning streaks in NBA history, but homecourt advantage in the playoffs is decided by wins, not style points. Boston came out flat, watched Ray Allen and Paul Pierce struggle from the floor (combined 2-for-11 shooting in the first half) and turned the ball over nine times before the intermission, yet still led by 10 points at the break. The Celtics shot a season-worst 43.7 percent overall and gave the ball away 19 times leading to 17 points (27.5 percent of Charlotte's total output was off of turnovers) and still won the game by 31 points. There's something to be said for finding a way to win when you're not at your best, and the Celtics have pulled out two in a row -- once at the buzzer, one in breezy fashion -- when things were not always clicking. Boston players and coaches are fond of noting that, by taking care of games like this, the Celtics are hoping to avoid a situation like last year, where the most important game of the season was on the road.
--DEFENSE NEVER RESTED, EVEN WHEN OFFENSE DID--
--SEMIH'S SLEEPING LATE ON SUNDAY--
Making his second consecutive start with Shaquille O'Neal sidelined again by a sore right calf, rookie center Semih Erden logged a career-high 41 minutes, which left Celtics coach Doc Rivers joking after the game that Erden was "probably passed out in the locker room." Only once before had Erden played more than 20 minutes (21:13 vs. Washington on Nov. 17), but he responded well to increased time, registering 10 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, a steal, and a ridiculous plus-35 in the plus/minus category (Marquis Daniels was second best on the team at plus-24). Erden highlighted his night with a emphatic late-game alley-oop slam off a fastbreak lob from Von Wafer (Nate Robinson and Allen springing off the bench to celebrate the jam that left Erden swaying on the rim for a few moments). With Boston desperate for healthy big bodies, Erden is playing through the pain of left shoulder and right thumb issues, and only getting better with increased action.
--A TRADE RUMOR REVISITED--
In early February, trade rumors suggested the Celtics and Bobcats were involved in discussions about a deal that would have been built around a Glen Davis-for-D.J. Augustin swap. At the time, it made some sense for Boston as Davis had missed the first 27 games of the year due to an off-the-court incident that left his right thumb fractured, while Augustin would have added much-needed point guard depth (the Celtics later obtained Nate Robinson from the Knicks). But examining that trade now, it's almost laughable considering the divergent performance of the two players Saturday night. Davis continues to make a case to be in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year, chipping in a team-high 16 points off the bench, while adding seven rebounds, a block, and a plus-14 in the plus/minus over 25 minutes (not to mention another charge, his 27th of the season). Augustin started at point guard and missed all eight shots he took in a scoreless performance, while committing four turnovers and finishing at minus-12. Needless to say, Celtics fans would scoff at such a proposal now, even with Davis in a contract year.
--KICK OFF YOUR SHOES, RELAX YOUR FEET--
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