Shamrock roundup: Celtics collect two wins in slow week
This week’s slate of games saw the Boston Celtics grind out a win Monday against the Utah Jazz and net a better outing defensively Friday against the Golden State Warriors.
Celtics vs. Jazz
Final score: 110-107 Celtics
The game against the Jazz came at the heels of a five-game road trip. The Jazz took the Celtics to overtime, but Paul Pierce had seven points in extra time to put the Celtics over the top.
“That’s why they call him The Truth,” said Utah center Al Jefferson, who scored 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
Kevin Garnett buried a mid-range jumper with 48.1 seconds left in extra time then fouled Paul Millsap instead of allowing a potential tying three-pointer with the clock winding down.
“Playing a tough team in a tough place to play,” said Garnett. “They’re fighting for something, we’re fighting for something. All of it on the line — and then you go to OT. It wasn’t an easy game at all.”
This would be the Celtics’ 10th overtime game, and 15th overtime this season. This meant that half of those overtime games had a second overtime.
The Celtics lost the interior game — the Jazz had 44 points in the paint to the Celtics’ 28. Double-digit games from Jason Terry, Brandon Bass, and Courtney Lee made up for the poor play in the paint.
“We have champions,” Terry said after the game. “When you have champions that have been through so many tough games as we have, then you know you’re in good hands.”
The fourth quarter was tough for the Celtics, as Jazz players opened the quarter with a 13-2 run before Doc Rivers started yelling for his team to pick up on defense.
The Celtics made enough stops along the way to secure a hard win. As of this game, the Celtics are 6-4 in OT games.
Celtics vs. Warriors
Final score: 94-86 Celtics
While the young players can only benefit from more experience, the over-30-year-old legs benefited more from a softer schedule. After the game against the Jazz, the Celtics had only one game to play for the next seven days. That extra rest helped prepare for the Warriors and a dangerous scorer in Stephen Curry, who torched the New York Knicks for 54 points last Wednesday.
With 1:48 to go in the first quarter, Curry had one point. He later scored two points in the third quarter. In the fourth, he airballed an open three-pointer, and the Celtics took advantage by scoring on six straight possessions after to maintain the lead.
“Obviously my shot wasn’t falling,” said Curry, “I was kind of out of rhythm all night.”
It was an overall team effort and a surprising zone scheme that Doc Rivers threw at a team loaded with shooters. Avery Bradley got into foul trouble early, and picked up his fifth foul minutes into the third quarter. Even so, Bradley was effective in slowing down Curry.
“I just tried to make everything hard on him tonight, just tried to tire him down,” said Bradley.
Curry made 11 three-point attempts. Only three went in. But he was a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
Paul Pierce had 26 points and eight rebounds. Jeff Green came off the bench with 18 points. Kevin Garnett had seven points and 13 rebounds. Five other Celtics scored seven or more points.