Celtics

Celtics

NEW ORLEANS – The Boston Celtics had the look of a tired, worn down team which isn’t all that surprising considering the brutal road schedule that mercifully was coming to an end.

But there was no time to think about fatigue.

The goal?

Find a way to win which is exactly what they did in pulling away in the second half for a 111-93 win.

Even before Monday’s game, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was impressed with the effort that Boston plays with on a nightly basis.

“They play as hard as anybody in the league,” Gentry told reporters. “They are a physical, hard playing team. The games they lose, it’s because they just don’t get it in the basket or some team happens to shoot it well.”

And the Pelicans? Shooting the ball well?

That’s not happening most nights, and Monday was no exception.

Boston got what seemed like a break in the first quarter when New Orleans All-star Anthony Davis picked up his second personal foul at the 6:15 mark of the first quarter.

He went to the bench and didn’t return until the second quarter, which was a good thing for the Celtics, right?

Not when it meant more Ryan Anderson, one of the top sixth men in the NBA who tends to play some of his best basketball against the Celtics.

Anderson kept the Pelicans in the hunt with 14 first-half points while Jrue Holiday chipped in with 10 first-half points and five assists.

 

But the Celtics had some strong offensive performances of their own, with Isaiah Thomas leading the way.

The Pelicans, one of the worst teams in the NBA defensively, could do little to contain Thomas who finished with 22 points. Boston also got another big scoring game from Kelly Olynyk who came off the bench to score 21 points.

And a big part of Boston’s scoring success was their ability to rebound the ball and get out in transition quickly.

Jared Sullinger dominated the glass like we have not seen before this season, finishing with a season-high 20 rebounds.

And then there were the usual cast of characters chipping in as Boston (12-9) opened the third quarter with a 20-9 run to lead 73-53, following free throws by Jae Crowder, and took a comfortable 81-67 lead into the fourth quarter.

New Orleans continued to fight and scrap their way through the game, and pulled within 81-71 after a basket by Dante Cunningham.

But the Celtics responded with a 10-2 spurt of their own to increase their lead as their control was never in question afterwards.

And with the victory, Boston improved its road record against Western Conference teams to an impressive 4-1 this season.