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12 November vs. Denver

Here's another win for Joe to savour...

C's get win #2: Boston 96 - Denver 86

The Celts got their 2nd win of the season,
in a situation that was tailor made for them.  No
mistake about it, this was not an artistic triumph
as the C's essentially won a war of attrition
against the Nuggets.  Denver easily outplayed the
C's for the first 30 minutes of the game, but
Boston kept the pace high.  Midway through the 3rd
quarter this began to take a toll on the  Nuggets,
who had played the previous night.

        Early on, though, it looked like a typical
Celtic's start, except more so.  The C's couldn't get
the ball to go through the hoop "no-how"  and trailed
by scores of 10-2, and 18-10.  Denver rook, Tony Battie
hit on 5-5 shots in the first quarter.  The Celts
rallied slightly at the end of the quarter to pull to
within 4, at 24-20

        The Nuggets went on a 6-0 run to take a 30-20
lead, behind rookie Eric Washington (who had 13 points
in the 2nd quarter, and then sat for most of the 2nd
half).  Danny Fortson also chipped in with some strong
work on the offensive baords as the Nuggets pushed
their lead up to 13 at 43-30.  The C's defense stiffened
and they held the Nuggets to just 4 points over the last
4 minutes of the half, and trailed by only 8, 51-43.

        Things looked no better early in the 3rd, as the
Nuggets scored the first 4 points of the period, to take
a 55-46 lead.  With the Celtics gaining little traction
on the Nuggets, Pitino went to the bench early, and brought
in Bowen, Brown and Edney into the game.  This group really
increased the C's intensity on defense.  Together with
offensive production from Walker and Knight (8 and 11 pts
in the period), the Celts got back into the game.  The Celts
went on a 19-7  run to take a lead (their first of the game)
at 72-70, at the end of the 3rd.

        Good things continued at the start of the 4th, as
the C's started with an 8-2 run (that's  a difference of
26-9 over about 8 minutes), to take an 91-78 lead.  At this
moment I thought the Celts might blow the Nuggets out.  But
Denver coach Bill Hanzlick called 2 timeouts in two possessions,
and put his most veteran players into the game.  The Nuggets
started to get back into the game, aided by incredible
offensive incompetance by the C's.  The Nuggets pulled to
a point at 83-82, but could never get the lead.  Knight made
a nice move agasint Battie down low to put down a crucial jam.
After the Nuggets scored again (85-84), Bowen fed Mercer for
a layup that triggered a 11-2 run, and enabled the C's
to go home with the 10 point victory, 96-86.

        The Celts won this game in the hustle categories, as
they caused 32 Denver turnovers and got 21 offensive rebounds.
This helped the Celts to take 23 more shots than the Nugggets.
And they needed every one as they only shot .374 from
the field.  The Celts were also helped mightily by hitting
a very uncharacteristic 24-27 from the free throw line.

Celts: Billups, Mercer, McCarty, Walker, Knight
Nuggets: Jackson, Stith, Newman, Battie, Garrett

Bowen: I though he was clearly the star of the game for the
Celts.  He and Brown were the only C's who could get anything
done in the first half, and they came back and keyed the
Celt's resurgence in the 2nd half.  He scored 9 points, had
3 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals in 23 minutes.  And that
doesn't come close to counting all of the turnovers he
helped to cause with relentless defensive pressure.

Mercer- When you hear about a college player with great
athletic ability, you tend to assume that you're going
to get a little inconsistancy along with that ablility.
Nothing could be further from the truth with Ron Mercer,
as early in the season he is the most consistent Celt,
and continues to steadily improve to boot (if that's
inconsistent for me to say; I don't care, it's still true).
16 points (8-18), and 6 boards in 33 minutes.

Brown- It really seems to be the case, at this point, that
the 3 solidest Celts are all 2 guards, and Pitino has
responded by finding increased playing time for them, as
Mercer, Brown and Bowen combined for 77 minutes in this
game.  Dee scored 8, had 2 assists and 2 steals in 21 minutes.
I think Dee has been on the court for nearly every stretch
of solid play by the C's the last 4 games.

Walker- Awful shooting night again at 4-15.  But he went to
work on the offensive boards and on defense with a vengance
in the 2nd half.  He ended up with 19 points, 12 boards, 5
assists, 3 steals and 4 turnovers in 40 minutes.  He was
10-11 from the free throw line.

Knight- Shot poorly in the first half, but made up for
it with a very good second.  Hit for 17 points, on 7-15
shooting, and added 6 boards and some nice "D" in 29 minutes.

McCarty- Shot very poorly in the first half, but came back
a little in the 2nd.  Scored 13 points and had 3 boards in 26

Billups-Scored 8 (2-2), had 6 assists and only 1 turnover
in 27 minutes.  It seemed that Pitino couldn't make up
his mind between him and Edney and constantly shuttled
them in and out of the game.

Edney- see above, very poor game offensively, though he
played a role in increasing the Celt's defensive intensity.
Scored 4 points, had 1 assist and 4 turnovers in 17 minutes.
Kept trying too hard on offense and making mistakes.

Ellison- Played fairly well in short minutes again, but
he just can't help out on the press like other C's big

DeClercq- scoreless, though he did make one nice defensive

Barros/Minor- got into the game when Pitino was really
desperate in the 2nd quarter.

Coaching-  The first real Pitino victory, as the Celts
took advantage of the tired Nuggets to score 31 points on
32 Denver turnovers.  Without that and the fine free throw
shooting the Celt's go down again.  But, of course, this is
exactly the type of win Pitino's system should excel at.

The C's are now 2-5.  They play again at home, this Friday
against Toronto.

"re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great
						-Walt Whitman

Peter G. Toner
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
The Australian National University
Canberra, A.C.T. 0200
+61 6 249 4419 (phone)
+61 6 249 2711(fax)
Peter.Toner@anu.edu.au (email)