The rundown (a quick look at the postgame headlines)
Let's make a deal?
The Boston Celtics headed their separate ways after Wednesday's 93-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets and, given their performance to close out the pre-All-Star Game portion of the 2009-10 season, it wouldn't be a surprise if the locker room looked a little different when the team reconvenes in Sacramento on Tuesday.
Hours before the Celtics fumbled away yet another double-digit, second-half lead, allowing the Chris Paul-less Hornets to rally from a 12-point deficit, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told sports radio WEEI (850 AM) that he thought the team needed at least a minor move to shake things up.
After Wednesday's performance, maybe it's time to consider a bombshell.
The Celtics had promised coach Doc Rivers that things would change after enduring an embarrassing third-quarter shellacking against the Orlando Magic on Sunday at TD Garden, where the Magic outscored Boston 36-11 in erasing an 11-point deficit before emerging with the win.
Rivers told his team Monday that it was time to stop talking about fixing problems and actually start doing that on the court. Yet, on Wednesday, nothing changed.
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The silver lining: Benchmarks
Here's the statistical breakdown of the Celtics' starters vs. the bench Wednesday. You decide which is which:
Group A: 15 of 40, 45 points, 23 rebounds, 11 assists, 7 steals, 2 blocks, 14 turnovers.
Group B: 19 of 32, 40 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks, 8 turnovers.
As you probably guessed, Group B is the five-man bench of Marquis Daniels, Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, Glen Davis and Brian Scalabrine. The bench compiled those numbers in 108 total minutes, while the starters did their damage in 132 minutes. What's more, the bench finished with a cumulative plus/minus of plus-14, while the starters were minus-54.
“Our starters struggled today, but our bench gave us several big plays," said Rivers. "Kevin [Garnett] struggled in the second half and Paul [Pierce] forced too much, due to the struggling of the team.”
Garnett and Pierce combined for a mere two points after intermission.
On the bright side, Daniels shined with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting with 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and a block over 24 minutes off the bench in his second game back after missing 28 contests due to torn ligaments in his left thumb.
“I’m still trying to get into my rhythm," said Daniels. "I’m still a little rusty out there. I’m missing some plays. There are still a couple of things that I have to get better at.”
Opposing view: Collison course
His teammates make him carry a pink "Little Mermaid" suitcase as part of rookie orientation, but Darren Collison looked like anything but a rookie Wednesday night while filling in for injured starter Chris Paul.
Collison scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting with 9 assists, 4 steals and 3 rebounds. He did commit 10 turnovers and was highly critical of his own play against Boston All-Star guard Rajon Rondo.
“It was tough on both ends," admitted Collision. "I turned the ball over myself, I don’t know how many turnovers I had [10 total], but I was mad at myself for giving away those possessions. All and all, I’m just glad we got the win."
So are his teammates, but that's unlikely to stop the hazing.
"Until they stop having me come in with doughnuts and carrying that [suitcase], I'm still a rookie," said Collison. "I like being a rookie. You learn a lot. ... I can't see why anybody doesn't like being a rookie."
Given their roller-coaster season, the Hornets didn't seem surprised by their ability to rally for a win.
“I’m not surprised, not this season," said Darius Songaila. "The first couple of quarters we came out slow, and got behind 12, 14, 17 points. We just came out in the third quarter and turned it around.”
Added New Orleans coach Jeff Bower: "We didn’t feel like we played well in the first half. We didn’t feel like the things that we were doing wrong were things that we couldn’t correct. We can play better defense, felt like we can take care of the ball better, and we felt like if we did those things then the game would turn, and we could put us in a position to win. We did a nice job tonight making plays to keep a little separation in the game.”
Materials from the Associated Press were used.