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Friday, April 1, 2011
Kids don't be scared: Zombie Jermaine O'Neal is here to let us know the playoffs are coming
The San Antonio Spurs, the NBA's best team (record wise), came into last night's game on a four-game losing streak. They had never lost five games in the Tim Duncan era. They sat Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Antonio McDyess on Monday to get them set for their meeting against the Boston Celtics.
Short of Las Vegas taking this game off the board, this seemed like a lock for the Spurs since the Celtics were in a tailspin.
That's why they play the games folks. Boston conjured up its best effort in weeks with a 107-97 at the AT&T Center. The Celtics (52-22) finish 2-0 against San Antonio (57-18) in the regular season. The Bulls and Lakers are on fire right now but who knows, maybe we'll see these two teams meet again in June.
For the second straight game, Rajon Rondo was special. He had a team-high 22 points, 14 assists (no turnovers) and five rebounds. Most surprising, he kept knocking down important jump shots. (Rubs eyes) Is that the same Rondo I know?
Paul Pierce nearly had a triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while Kevin Garnett had 20 points and nine assists. Ray Allen (3 for 11) continued to struggle with his shot but he had 13 points.
The only bad news coming out of the game was the possible serious knee injury suffered by Nenad Krstic. His knee bent very awkwardly as he ran the floor and he's scheduled to have an MRI this weekend. If he's done for the season, it would be a big loss. Glen Davis stepped up off the bench as per usual and put up 16 points and eight rebounds.
Jermaine O'Neal played for the first time in two months, scoring five points in 11 minutes. Anything you get from that corpse is a bonus at this point. Von Wafer also returned (for 2 minutes) after missing a few weeks with a calf injury.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with a game-high 23 points and eight assists. Tim Duncan had 20 points and 13 assists with Richard Jefferson adding 14 points. Ginobili was held to nine points.
San Antonio came out flying and led 33-31 after the first quarter but it was knotted at 49 at halftime. Boston looked the NBA title contender it should be with a strong third quarter (28-21) and the fourth (30-27).
The Celts shot 54.8% to 43.3% for the Spurs. San Antonio hit six more 3-pointers (8-2) while Boston knocked down two more free throws (13-11). Propelled by Rondo's perfect night, the Cs had eight more dimes (29-21).
Boston plays in Atlanta tonight. It's a back to back so I'm not going to pretend that the Celtics will play anything like they did last night. However, the Hawks are so up and down that this might be the rare occasion that Boston can steal a back-to-back on the road.