When Doc Rivers made the decision to rest Kevin Garnett for Friday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns, many Suns fans considered the move a slap in the face.
Choosing to keep your best player out of the game because you think you can beat us without him? You can, but still…So Rivers, being a diplomat and all, said Well Shucks, sorry folks – But why don’t you get a load of Jeff Green instead.?
And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats…and Jeff Green showed the surgically repaired heart of a warrior, stepping up into the starting lineup and giving those fans a taste of the whip that they won’t forget for a while.
Green scored 13 points in the opening frame on his way to a monster 31 point effort in leading the Boston Celtics to a 113-88 win over the Phoenix Suns that was as bad as the score indicated. Green was everywhere and in addition to his game high point total, he also pulled down 7 boards, dished out 4 helpers and blocked 5 shots.
And the Lord did grin…
Chris Wilcox brought his game, scoring 14 points off the bench while grabbing a game high 8 rebounds. Jason Terry and Avery Bradley scored 13 a piece while new fish Jordan Crawford and Terrence Williams logged 10 and 9 respectively.
Williams had another solid game of the bench, his second game of 10 day contract, and Crawford impressed in his first game as a Celtic warrior more with his speed than his solid stat line.
Goran Dragic had a team high 19 points for the Suns to go along with a game high 10 assists. Marcin Gortat had 10 and Markieff Morris 11 for a Phoenix team that looked like they were playing out the string – and this just days past the All Star break, though the same could have been said of the Celtics from their performance in Los Angeles two nights ago.
Paul Pierce had a quiet 26 minutes, retreating to the bench for long stretches and getting some rest himself.
The game consisted of a tip off, a flurry of driving layups, thunderous dunks and rainbows from the parking lot – then Fab Melo, and then the game was over..
And it never ends for the Suns as evidenced by having to host the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday then welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves in on Tuesday as the Suns attempt to improve upon their bottom feeding 18-38 record while the road gets tougher for the Celtics as they travel to Portland to take on the always pesky Blazers on Sunday before catching the Red Eye to Salt Lake City for Big Al Jefferson and the Jazz on Monday.
So in the end, Doc was right all along and the people who thought it was an insult for Doc to be resting Garnett left at halftime, saving themselves the agony of watching the suddenly very athletic Celtics go all Barnum & Bailey on the hometown boys with that high-style, circus quality trapeze act.
And the thing is, this is what Green and the rest of the Celtics are capable of on a nightly basis. No one is naive enough to think that what happened on Friday night in Phoenix is what we should expect from the now very small and fast Celtics, because big bodies lie ahead in Portland and then the biggest team in the NBA the next night in Salt Lake City.
But at least once the Celtics get back to Boston, they will have had a decent cross section of work to look at in considering what the team looks like going forward. There’s a big body on the way in Forward D.J. White via another 10 day contract, as he and Williams are auditioning for the roles of their careers.
Anyone who counts in the Celtics organization is saying the same thing, that they really like this team. If they meant they like the breathtaking, high flying performance that we witnessed this evening, then there is indeed a lot to like.