It had been over two weeks since the Boston Celtics stepped foot in the TD Banknorth Garden, but it felt great to return home Wednesday night with a huge 92-87 win over the surging Cleveland Cavaliers. The C’s were in control most of the way which pleased another sell-out crowd of over 18,000 fans and brought them to their feet for the games final seconds.
Not only did Celtics supporters get to see a great game, they got to witness a piece of history as Lebron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 10,000 points. He did it in 23 years and 59 days, which was more then a year faster then it took Kobe Bryant to reach the milestone when he was 24 years and 193 days old.
“It doesn’t make me happy to do it in a losing effort,” James said on NBA.com.”To be in the record books is a tribute to my teammates, myself and my family.”
The historic basket came on a thundering dunk with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter that cut the Celtics lead to 9 points (63-54) but 21 seconds later after a Rajon Rondo floater put the C’s back up by 11 and the double-digit lead held until the final minute of the contest.
“We had our hands full (with James), but I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Ray Allen on NBA.com, “I think we gutted it out.”
Allen led the Celtics in scoring with a 7-10 shooting performance, good for 22 points in 36+ minutes of action. Kevin Garnett also contributed with a double-double grabbing 11 boards, hitting for 18 points, and snatching a game high 4 steals. Paul Pierce and Leon Powe were also in double figures scoring 12 and 13 points respectively in the win.
At one point mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Celtics lead was as high as 16 points.
This is a big win for the club, especially coming off of a sub-par road-trip in which they went 2-3 over the week. Now, in the midst of a five game home stand, the Celtics hope to defend their home territory and stay a top of the East. The Cavaliers game was exciting, but the gem of this home stand is the match up on Wed. March 5th, vs. Detroit. The Pistons are currently 3 games behind the C’s for the top spot in the East, but the Celtics have not forgotten that it was the same Pistons who handed them their first home court loss of the season back on Dec. 19th.
In addition to the victory, the Celtics also announced yesterday that they had signed veteran PF/C P.J. Brown for the stretch run. Brown plays aggressive low post defense and once in game shape will be used off the bench when Garnett and Kendrick Perkins are in foul trouble. The leadership role he will assume immediately will be more influential than his physical presence on the floor. He’s not a selfish player and truly believes in the concept of team, and that’s exactly the type of guys the Celtics could use.
“First and foremost, [I'm] just try to be even more of a stabilizer on the bench, being there for the guys, being another pair of eyes on the bench, another voice in the locker room and keep them going in the right direction,” Brown said on Yahoo Sports. “I know I’m probably not going to be playing a lot here real soon, but just being there for the guys for whatever they need – encouraging, supporting and being the biggest cheerleader I can possibly be as of right now.”
Looking at the rest of the Celtics current home stand, they will battle it out with the Charlotte Bobcats March 29th, and then the Atlanta Hawks come to town for an April 1st contest. Mark your calendars if you haven’t already for the war with the Detroit Pistons on April 5th and to cap off the stand the C’s will welcome the Chicago Bulls to town for a game on April 7th.