Yes, rebounding is that important.
Then again, so is scoring – but the Boston Celtics did precious little of either, as Doc Rivers’ kid Austin and his New Orleans Hornets teammates punked his old man’s Celtics 90-78 at the TD Garden on Wednesday night.
The Hornets dominated the boards, which goes to figure since the Celtics were clanging bricks off them all night. The 48-33 rebounding edge for New Orleans also included 11 offensive boards.
Greivis Vasquez pulled down 11 boards to go along with his 15 points and rookie Anthony Davis had a pair of 10′s for New Orleans, who has now won six of their last 7 games and stand 13-26 on the season. Al-Farouq Aminu led all scorers with 18 points and cleaned the glass for 9 rebounds.
Rivers played well in a reserve role, scoring 10 points in 23 minutes and Center Robin Lopez poured in 17 while grabbing 6 boards.
Boston was paced by Kevin Garnett’s 15 points, while Paul Pierce and reserve guard Jason Terry notched 12 points each as the Celtics posted only three players in double figures. Pierce grabbed 10 boards and Brandon Bass pulled down 7 to go along with his 9 points.
Garnett passed Patrick Ewing on the all time scoring list, elevating himself to number 16 – but the severity of the loss made the mark bittersweet.
The Hornets couldn’t have played much worse to start the game, going just 3 for 13 overall and donut for 5 from the arc, throwing the ball away a half dozen times – yet, curiously, trailed by only five points going into the second frame.
Boston should have taken that as a sign of what was to come, because when the Celtics cooled off in the second quarter, the Hornets heated up and took control of the game. New Orleans took the lead for good during an 11-0 sprint midway through the quarter to lead by one at the half, then went on an 8-0 run to start the 3rd and never looked back.
The Celtics were actually able to take more shots than the Hornets, but Paul Pierce’s dismal 5 for 16 shooting performance – including a lean 1 for 7 from the arc - coupled with the deficit in rebounding, the number of second chance shots that Boston allowed and the clutch 12 for 13 free throw shooting of the Hornets’ Aminu doomed Boston to their 1st loss in seven games, dropping the Green to 20-18.
Having that 6 game winning streak snapped, Boston will look to rebound against a good Chicago Bulls team on Friday night, a game that will mark the end of this five game home stand, as they will travel to Detroit on Sunday and Cleveland on Tuesday before returning home to host the hated New York Knicks on Thursday.
The Hornets look to take their hot hand back to New Orleans as they host the Warriors on Saturday and the Kings on Monday before traveling to San Antonio on Wednesday.
It will be interesting to see how long the Hornets can keep their momentum going, as they are in the infancy of a particularly brutal stretch that sees them playing teams over .500 in seven of their next 9 games, including a season high 5 game stretch to finish out the month – and so far, so good…
…and for the Celtics? Well, they can’t like what happened this evening, nor how they played two nights ago against Charlotte – sometimes long home stands tend to summon feelings of complacency, so hitting the trail for two games early next week then returning home with the Drama-filled Knicks in house should be enough to get their blood pumping again.