The Boston Celtics won their third straight game, and solidified themselves as the best team in the NBA as they defeated the Western Conference leading San Antonio Spurs 95-93 Wednesday night in an exciting game at the TD Garden.
The Celtics nearly gave the game away late in the fourth quarter after building a 105-99 lead when Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili came up with back-to-back steals which led to points, cutting the lead to 105-103. Ginobili had a three-point shot opportunity to win the game with about six seconds, but was blocked by Pierce, giving Boston the well-deserved victory.
Rajon Rondo had a tremendous night for the Celtics, as he recorded a triple-double in just his third game back from injury. Rondo had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and an eye-popping 22 assists against the Spurs. Rondo was the clear spark for the Celtics offense Wednesday night, as he created more shot opportunities for the Celtics shooters. Rondo stayed on the floor for 44 minutes. Rondo became the first point guard to achieve 20 assists this season in the NBA, as he continues to show the Celtics how valuable he is to them.
Ray Allen was just one of the players who benefited from Rondo's ball distribution, scoring 31 points on an impressive 13 for 16 shooting performance. Allen was seemingly on fire from the field, only missing three shots, two of them three pointers. Wednesday night marked Allen's first 30+ point performance of the season. Allen had the opportunity to ice the game, but missed two rare free throws to give the Spurs a last shot opportunity.
Glen Davis had one of the best performances of his career offensively, as he scored 23 points, just one point short of a career-high. Davis, once again started in place of the injured Kevin Garnett, who did not play Wednesday night. Davis continues to show Doc Rivers that he shouldn't be counting the days until Garnett returns, as he has been in double-figures every night since taking over for Garnett in the starting lineup.
Despite being overshadowed by Rondo, Allen, and Davis, Paul Pierce once again turned in a solid performance. Pierce scored 18 points, which was only good enough for just fourth best on the team Wednesday night. Pierce also collected a game-high seven rebounds. Pierce recorded one of the best plays of the night as he blocked a potential game-tying shot by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili.
Shaquille O'Neal was seemingly the only Celtic Wednesday night that stayed quiet. O'Neal, whom only managed 21 minutes, was two of three from the field with a four point performance. Shaq didn't have the safety net of Jermaine O'Neal late in the fourth quarter, as he fouled out of the game with 3:13 remaining in the game.
With Wednesday night's win, the Celtics was able to prove that they are clearly the best team in the NBA by defeating the only team with a better record than them. This year's team is reminding is a lot of the 2007 team, who would take teams over late in the game. That team of course went on to win the NBA Finals.
The Celtics battle the Toronto Raptors for the third time this season Friday night at the TD Garden. Tipoff is expected at 7:30 p.m. EST.