After the bench rescued the Boston Celtics in a 95-92 win over the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night, there was plenty of chatter about the five-man reserve unit featuring Tony Allen, Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis, and Rasheed Wallace. A quick sampling of the verbal bouquets:
Coach Doc Rivers: “The bench was terrific. I thought that they saved the game for us. The first half, I think it was a two-point game when they came in and left with a 10-point lead."
Kevin Garnett: "The bench came in with unbelievable energy. They came in and took the momentum and once they got that the starters were able to get into a nice groove. I think for the most part it was a team effort tonight. Without the bench I don’t think we would be able to stand out there like we did.”
Ray Allen: “Rasheed [Wallace] was big for us. Tony [Allen] had great minutes. Marquis [Daniels] came in big. Glen [Davis] came in and was big on the glass.”
Wallace: "The camaraderie on this team is very high. We look out for each other. Yet on the same note we are very critical of each other."
You can read more on the bench's exploits in our postgame thoughts. As flawed a stat as plus/minus can be, we do believe it's a decent barometer for a player's performance, and here's all you need to know about last night: Boston's bench was a combined plus-39 (led by Wallace, Daniels, and Davis as plus-10 or better), while the starters were a combined minus-24 (with Garnett a team-worst minus-8).
On the flip side, the Kings' conversation centered around their inability to make free throws (19 of 30 overall), particularly in crunch time. Sacramento's night can be summed up when Omri Casspi made a free throw with 4 seconds to go and his team trailing by two, when he meant to miss it for a chance at a game-tying tip-in.
Coach Paul Westphal: "I don’t know how to measure frustration. It’s obvious that we lost the game at the free throw line. That’s the big difference. We missed nine free throws in the second half, just about all of them in the fourth quarter it seemed like. When we tried to make them, we missed them; when we tried to miss them, we made them. That was strange too. I told our players, I said ‘you guys are good shooters, you’re clutch players; you missed them. You just put them in the clutch-make bank for later on.’ Everybody has missed a free throw that matters and we missed plenty of them tonight. But I want those same guys at the line shooting free throws and I like our chances in the future.”
Jason Thompson: "We make 50-plus free throws after every practice and we keep track of the percentages. Everyone is a great shooter and we make free throws at a high level, we just have to concentrate and make more free throws and do the same thing in the game.”
Casspi: "We missed free throws and they made theirs. It was little stuff like that. It’s tough. I have made my free throws in around 95 percent of our games. The one I tried to miss tonight, I made it. We competed against one of the best teams and to lose the game on free throws (is tough). ‘It’s a game of free throws’ they say.”