BOSTON (CBS) – It wasn’t pretty, and it went on for an extra 10 minutes, but the Celtics double overtime win over the Mavericks is just that: a win.
And the Celtics will take it.
“This is a good win, especially with the huge road trip coming up,” said C’s captain Paul Pierce, who scored a game-high 34 points . “Our defense was kind of up and down throughout most of the night, but the positive part is we turned them over. We allowed them to shoot a high percentage, but it says a lot about how this team has grown when you can win games like this.”
“I told our guys I was proud of them,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought we made some mistakes that, later in the year, we can’t make down the stretch of games. You know, foul to give, didn’t call a timeout, passed the ball so we couldn’t advance it before first overtime. Those are plays that can’t happen. But through all those mistakes, we still won the game. So as a coach, you’ll take that.”
The Mavericks gave the Celtics every chance they could to blow them out, turning the ball over 28 times leading to 34 Celtics points. Boston held a double-digit lead in the third quarter, and led the entire game up until the final two minutes of regulation. But somehow, the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavericks made it interesting, and gave everyone a little more basketball for their buck.
“When you look back you can say it shouldn’t have (gone to overtime); we had a chance to put a team away,” said Pierce, “but sometimes these close games are good for you because you learn from them. You can learn from losses, but like I say, you can learn from wins also.”
There are plenty of bright spots from the W. Pierce showed he can still score in bunches, and while his 11-for-25 shooting is a little discerning he made the shots he needed to in order to get the Celtics the win in the second overtime. Kevin Garnett played 40 minutes, and was still active in the second overtime with little rest — pulling down three of his five rebounds on the night. The Celtics continued to be aggressive on defense, and only allowed seven offensive rebounds over 58 minutes.
It was sloppy, but honestly, what win hasn’t been rough on the eyes or hard-fought for Boston’s basketball team this season? Aside from blowout wins against the Blazers and 76ers in the last two weeks, the Celtics have had to claw for each victory. That trend will likely continue for another month or two, so buckle up.
“It’s a learning process still,” said point guard Rajon Rondo, who had a near triple-double with 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds. “We can take from this game that we won, which is positive. There are some things that we made some mistakes on. Continue to build, come in tomorrow, watch some film and get on the plane and head to Houston.”
The Celtics improved to 12-9 with their second straight win, and are now gearing up for a three-game road trip with stops in Houston, San Antonio and Chicago. If it wasn’t easy at home against a short-handed Mavs team, just imagine what Saturday night in San Antonio will look like after a Friday night meeting with the up-and-coming Rockets.
But this is what is to be expected from the Celtics — at least for the near future. It won’t be pretty every night, and some nights will be downright ugly. As long as the Celtics are winning, and learning from their mistakes, that’s all they are concerned with.