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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Celts ring in New Year's Eve with a no-show matinee at the Garden

I don't work in Las Vegas at a sportsbook but there's a few certain telltale signs for NBA games that almost always come true: teams struggle in back to backs and also after losing their stars to injuries.

With the New Orleans Hornets in Boston yesterday afternoon, the Boston Celtics had to take time away from planning their New Year's Eve appearances and parties to play a game without either Rajon Rondo or Kevin Garnett.

Things went predictably poor for the home team in their first game since KG went down with his latest mysterious calf injury.

The Hornets (19-14) held on for a 83-81 win that was bizarre since the Celtics (24-7) went for the winning 3-pointer by Ray Allen (18 points) and then when he missed it, they didn't foul and let the last few seconds tick off. Uh ok, guess Doc didn't want them going to overtime.

New Orleans didn't play particularly well either but Chris Paul was his usual versatile self: 20 points, 11 assists, six steals, five rebounds and he got some help in the form of David West (19 points) and Emeka Okafor (18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks).

Marco Belinelli added 10 points for the Hornets.

With Nate Robinson (11 points, 6 rebounds) starting for Rondo, Glen Davis took KG's spot and he was awful. He had only eight points on 4 of 14 shooting and he looked like a player that excels coming off the bench but isn't built to be a starter. The world needs ditch diggers, right?

Paul Pierce had 12 points for Boston, Shaquille O'Neal and Marquis Daniels added 10 points in a forgettable game that will hopefully be swept under all your Happy New Year merchandise and related crap.

New Orleans was up 23-19 after one quarter but Boston led by a hoop at halftime: 39-37. A big third quarter by the Hornets (29-18) and the Cs got back in it with a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter (24-17).

The Celts will try to readjust to life without Rondo (for not much longer) and KG (for two weeks - wink) as they travel North of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night.

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