Ford Keys to the Game: Hornets 87, Celtics 86

Hornets 87, Celtics 86
By Marc D'Amico, March 20, 2013

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics allowed a substantial first-half lead to slip away from them Monday night against the scorching Miami Heat. Sadly, they did so again Wednesday night in New Orleans.

Boston led by 13 points in the first half and by 10 as it headed into the locker room for halftime. It had control of the game until it went completely cold in the second half, shooting just 32.4 percent in the second half.

Paul Pierce did his best to lead the team to victory, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter, but his miss with 15.6 seconds remaining gave New Orleans a chance to win.

Boston led 86-85 at that point. Hornets coach Monty Williams called for a timeout and drew up his attempt at a game-winning play. He wound up going to his best player, Eric Gordon.

Gordon worked on Avery Bradley in an isolation play at the top of the key. He drove down the right side of the lane but couldn’t quite make it past Bradley's fantastic defense. Gordon still managed to toss up a running scoop shot off of the glass, but that shot bounced off of the front of the rim and missed.

All Boston needed to do at that point was touch the ball in some fashion and the game would have been over. The problem is, everyone on the Celtics, including Kevin Garnett, forgot to box out.

Anthony Davis, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, flew above Garnett and tipped Gordon’s miss back into the basket. Officials reviewed the play for a possible goaltend but it wound up standing, putting the Hornets on top of Boston 87-86 with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. The C’s couldn’t get a shot off on the ensuing inbound play and they wound up falling to New Orleans for the second time this season.

Key Box Score Line

Kevin Garnett typically struggles in his first game back after several days off. Proof of that fact is in these numbers: Heading into Wednesday’s game, Garnett had shot 55.8 percent coming off of no rest and 47.3 percent coming off of one day of rest; those numbers drop to 45.3 percent after two days off and 46.4 percent after three or more days off.

Prior to Wednesday’s tilt, Garnett hadn’t played in a game in a full week. He was supposed to be rusty against the Hornets, but he was nothing but gold.

KG finished the game with 20 points, which is a 33 percent bump from his season average. He made nine of his 16 field goal attempts for a fantastic shooting percentage of 56.3 percent. He also led tied Brandon Bass for the team high in rebounding with six boards while playing only 29 minutes.

Regardless of the fact that Garnett failed to box out Anthony Davis on the most important play of the game, KG still delivered a great performance in his first game back.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Paul Pierce scored a game-high 28 points.
  • No player in the game grabbed double-digit rebounds.
  • Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 21 points off of the bench.
  • The Celtics were outrebounded 45-28.
  • New Orleans shot just 43.7 percent in the game.
  • Jeff Green scored 11 points in the first quarter but just two points over the final three quarters.
  • Jason Terry went scoreless in 20 minutes of play.
  • Avery Bradley grabbed a career-high five steals.
  • Boston scored 26 points off of New Orleans' 20 turnovers.
  • Bradley and Courtney Lee each scored five points.
  • Pierce shot 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
  • Anderson made (nine) and attempted (11) the most free throws in the game.
  • Greivis Vazquez's six assists were a game high.

Quote of the Night

You could see it in the middle of the second quarter. We went from a solid, just good-looking basketball team, to showtime. I believe in the basketball gods. I think when you mess with the game, the game messes you up.
Doc Rivers on the Celtics' bipolar performance Wednesday night


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