Do the Celtics have their swaggar back?

By Ron Milton
Updated: March 26, 2010

Boston, MA—The Celtics met one of the NBA’s strongest teams, the Denver Nuggets for a classic matchup of power forwards Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony at the TD Garden with the Celtics cruising to a 113-99 win. The green machine played one of its strongest and energetic performances this season with outstanding play from captain, Paul Pierce (27 points, 10 for 16 shooting), Carmelo Anthony provided a formidable challenge (32 points) but struggled scoring against Boston’s big men on the inside.

The Celtics starters played an aggressive trapping defense making Denver’s post game totally ineffective.

Kevin Garnett, (20 points, 10 rebound) had a great game and is now showing signs that he is getting back into playing form.

Rajon Rondo, (triple double 11 points, 11 rebounds, 15 assists, and 4 steals) arguably one of the three best point guards in the NBA played exceptionally well, pushing the Celtics fast break and creating great scoring opportunities for his fellow teammates.

The big story of the night was the play of reserve swing man Tony Allen, (13 points).

Allen who has been relegated to limited play with the acquisition of Michael Finley and Nate Robinson came off the bench to energize his Celtic teammates with his great defense and fast break scoring.

Tony Allen also had the tough assignment of covering Denver’s top scorer Carmelo Anthony.

Marquis Daniels, who normally comes in the game before Allen had a bad night offensively, which created the playing opportunity for Allen to show his stuff.

When asked about this, he replied “Basically I’ve just been listening to the coaches, ‘stay ready!’ That’s what I’ve been doing, conditioning my body, working on my game with the coaches and the strength coach.

Today was a day my number got called and I took advantage of it.”

With 7:02 left in the second quarter the Celtic reserves sparked by Tony Allen, Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – back to back 3′s kept pace with the normally high scoring Nuggets.

At half time the Celtics went to the locker room with a 10 point lead, 61-51.

The Denver Nuggets playing without forward Kenyon Martin came out the third quarter trying to cut into the Celtics lead.

The Celtics, once again outperformed the struggling Nuggets who had problems with poor foul shooting and turnovers.

At the 6:47 mark at the third the Celtics took a lead of 20 points 76-56.

The Denver Nuggets, one of the most offensive minded teams in the league made a valiant effort to cut into the Celtics lead with scoring from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith (21 points off the bench).

Just before the third quarter ended J.R. Smith hit a 3 with time running out to cut the Celtics lead to 87-80. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, Celtics once again picked up their fast break tempo and high scoring from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and the amazing ball distribution of Rajon Rondo to put the game away.

The Denver Nuggets did make many attempts to head off Boston’s offense but never prevailed.

One bright spot of the evening for Captain, Paul Pierce was when the Garden crowd gave him a standing ovation for being named the Eastern Conference Player of the week.

Knowing the importance of this two week home stand, Paul Pierce stated “We’ve been saying of late that we have to play better at home.

We have been able to get the job done on the road, but this is where we eat, this is where we set out table.

We have to do a better job here.

If we played as well as we have the last couple of years at home then we would probably have one of the best, if not the best record in the NBA.

But it is what it is, but this two year stance that we have at home, we look forward to it and we want to get all of these games.”

The Celtics, just getting back from a successful road trip are determined to play better and protecting their home court. They will be challenged as their next few games are against playoff opponents. With many nagging injuries behind them, the Celtics are starting to capture their championship swagger of years past; next up – the Sacramento Kings.