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Celtics 104, Bobcats 80

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  March 3, 2010 05:50 PM

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It had been so long since the Celtics blew a team out at home that Doc Rivers almost forgot who Gino was. The Celtics' 104-80 win over the Bobcats was an important step in cleaning up the mess that Cleveland and New Jersey made on the parquet, Rivers said. He pointed to the Celtics 21-10 road record as a sign that they're one of the NBA's best teams, but admitted that the way they've played at home (17-11) has been a let down. The Celtics play 13 of their 23 games at the Garden and the schedule, for the most, part is favorable.

Asked if he could remember the last time he didn't have to sweat out a fourth quarter, Rivers said: 
gino.jpg"That’s a good question? What’s the guy? Gino? I can’t remember the last time they played him. It was December? That’s amazing. It really is. We’ve got to get it going at home. I look at our team, we’re tied for the best record in the NBA on the road. That tell you we’re a good basketball team, but our home record is what has let us down so far. We’ve got to get better at home."

CELTICS 104, Bobcats 80
piercecats (slim).JPGThat teams were no longer scared to come into the Garden was no longer the issue. The last time the Celtics were at home, Cleveland and New Jersey came in and rubbed their feet on the couches, handing the Celtics their worst losses this season and doing it on the parquet. 

The Celtics took a step toward rectifying the situation tonight by blowing out the Bobcats 104-80. It was their biggest win at the Garden since they beat Minnesota 122-104 in December and the first time they beat a team by 20 at home since the second game of the season when the picked Chicago apart 118-90. 

It was their biggest win since the last time Charlotte was here, when the Celtics held them to a franchise low 59 points. The Bobcats shot just 36  percent from the floor and missed all eight of their 3s, putting up their lowest point total since the 74 they scored against Portland in November.  

After taking a week to rest his sprained thumb and other assorted ailments, Paul Pierce left the rust in Detroit, polishing off the Babcats with a 27-point performance. Handed a 9-point cushion by the second unit, the starters looked rocky until Doc Rivers began to run the offense through Pierce, who was lethal from long range (4 of 6 from 3-point range) and equally efficient on the whole (9 of 13 from the floor). 

After throwing his coming out party in Detroit, Nate Robinson held the after party for the fans back home, scoring 16 points and grabbing four boards sparking the bench in the first half. He went on an 9-0 run by himself drilling a pair of 3s to end the first quarter then stopping and popping for another to start the second.
2:23 Celtics 103-74: For the first time in a long time ... Gino, ladies and gentlemen.

5:31 Celtics 97-68: The Celtics are on the verge of running up there biggest win since the last time the Bobcats were in town.

8:57 Celtics 88-63: 8:57, not a starter in sight.

10:15, Celtics
Tony Allen hit the floor hard going up for a dunk/lay-up, but shook it off and made the back end of his two free throws.

End of the third, Celtics 82-61: What are the odds Jordan has a No. 23 Bobcats jersey sitting in one of those red "In Case of Emergency" cases. There isn't a player in a Bobcats uniform that can stop Paul Pierce right now. He's got 27 right now on 9 of 13 shooting. He's made four of his 6 3s, all five free throw attempts and the Celtics are up 21 at home for the first time since December.

4:32 Celtics 72-52: Paul Pierce just hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night and knocked down the free throw after a Tyrus Thomas technical, giving him 21 points, his first 20-plus point game since going for 35 Jan. 29 against Atlanta.

5:57, Celtics 66-52: Kevin Garnett caught an errant Rondo lob and kicked it to Paul Pierce, open on the wing, for a 3-pointer that made it a 14-point game. 

7:31, Celtics 61-49: Paul Pierce and Stepjen Jackson jawed back and forth after Ray Allen swiped at Jackson for his fourth foul.Pierce and Jackson were each hit with technicals

End of half, Celtics 54-45: Paul Pierce essentially became the point guard in the final four minutes. It's something that happened late in games earlier in the season, but you don't really expect to see it with Pierce just coming back from a sprained thumb. He hit a turnaround free-throw line jumper in the Celtics final possession of the half and he had the ball in his hands the whole time. He's got the high right now with 14 points, and he was the stabilizing factor for the Celtics' first unit.

2:21, Celtics 52-43: The ball's going through Paul Pierce at this point. The Celtics cleared out, giving him room to drive by Stephen Graham for a hard lay-up. Piece scored all 7 of his points this quarter in a small burst these past couple minutes. Ray Allen just drilled a 3 from the corner to get the lead back up to 9

3:17 Celtics 45-43: Paul Pierce broke things up a little, driving hard to the basket, drawing the foul and hitting a pair of free throws, but Rajon Rondo's having a hard time keeping Augustin out of the paint. 

5:53 Celtics 40-35: Things got messy as Doc worked the starters back onto the floor. Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo turned the ball over. Rondo's TO led to a D.J. Augustin fastbreak layup. The Celtics haven't made a shot since Marquis Daniels hit an 8-footer at the 8:48 mark. 

7:47, Celtics 40-29: Big boost from the second unit on both ends. They held the Bobcats scoreless for 4:30 from the end of the first quarter through the start of the second and they've scored 18 of the Celtics 40 points. Doc's starting to rotate the starters back in.

9:46, Celtics  36-21: After review, that Robinosn jumper was called a 3-pointer.

11:04, Celtics 33-21: Nate Robinson stops and pops to start the second. Fair to say he's comfortable on the offensive end.

1:06: Celtics 31-21: The second unit gets stops, and Nate Robinson's 5-feet-9-inches of trouble. After drilling on three, Robinson stepped back on Tyrus Thomas and drilled another at the first-quarter buzzer. That quickly it went from a two-shot game to a 10-point lead.

1:42, Celtics 23-21: The Glen Davis Tyrus Thomas matchup doesn't look or feel the same with Tyrus in a 'Cats uniform for some reason.

2:31 Celtics 22-21: Dribble, spin, baseline, two-hand flush. Meet Gerald Wallace.

4:04, 19-17 Celtics: Back and forth -- Gerald Wallace slices through the paint for an easy lay-up, KG runs the floor and gets one of his own. Paul Pierce hits a 3 pointer, Raymond Felton races for another quick deuce. it's 22-19 and there's a good chance we could see another team shoot 50 percent on the Cs tonight.

5:08 17-13 Celtics: Immediate difference between this game and the last one here at the Garden: stops. As of right now, there are none.

6:06, Celtics 15-12: The Celtics came out gunning, making 7 of their first 10. Rajon Rondo drove by Gerald Wallace and got the foul, but didn't knock down the free throw.
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Michael Jordan's got the kind of aura that makes him present even when he's absent. Before the game, conversation centered around his newest investment and also that 1995-96 team that made the NBA look like an intramural league. Rivers said he was glad that Jordan's found something to challenge himself besides beating Ray Allen in golf. Allen said that he's excited to see what Jordan can do for small-market Charlotte with a coach like Larry Brown at his disposal and also without having to butt heads with management.

"He's always been a great competitor and the guys that get to have him on their team, just having him around has meant a great deal to the players," Allen said. "Sometimes he can be a little too imposing. Just from his stature. Young guys come in and they see him and they just get nervous. He hasn't played in 10 years and he still carries that awe-factor when he comes around and people see him. People still look at him like he just finished last year or he might even still be playing." 

But in trying to figure out the problem that's haunted the Celtics much of the season -- a tendency to feel like they can turn it on and off at will -- Allen thought back about Jordan's Bulls, the only team he's seen that could actually flip that switch.

Allen said:
 ray and mj golf (232).jpg"They kind of coasted and then in the fourth quarter they kind of flipped the switch and annihilated teams out there. I haven't seen a team since that has that capability. They had the best player of all time on their team ... There was one game I was in Milwaukee, we were neck and neck with them, it looked like we had a chance of winning. They just flipped the switch. It was done. It was over."
Kendrick Perkins is a go, meaning this will be one of the rare occasions this season that the Celtics are at full strength.


... where the Celtics are playing the new Jordanaires.

After taking the first game of the back-to-back last night (they're 5-0 on the front end), the Celtics are back home against Charlotte (they're 2-2 on the back end), looking to get things sorted out to some extent at home, where they just took two of their worst losses of the season (Cleveland and New Jersey).

Charlotte's not at all the team that the Celtics held to a franchise-low 59 points in October. They brought in Stephen Jackson for some additional scoring and picked up Tyrus Thomas at the deadline. And of course there's Michael Jordan's power move, purchasing the Bobcats.

Players -- Rip Hamilton and Kwame Brown excluded -- generally love having a legend around, but the Wizards and others will say that there's reason to doubt Jordan as a business man. The Charlotte Observer writes:

jordanJPG.JPGYears ago, Michael Jordan called his Durham Nissan dealership to say he was in town and wanted to drop by the morning sales meeting. When Pat Pascarella, who owned Michael Jordan Nissan with the basketball star for a decade, told him the team didn't meet on Tuesdays, Jordan said, "P-Squared, how many times have you seen the Chicago Bulls just come out and play?" Pascarella recalled."We've got sales meetings every day."

Jordan was a fiercely competitive, if hands-off, business owner, his former partner said. He'd review finances carefully and push for specifics on how the company could improve. And he'd stamp the dealership with his Jordan brand, from installing hoops in the showroom to rewarding employees with the latest pair of Air Jordans.

Yet despite his successes, Jordan's lengthy post-basketball resume is peppered with business plans, from car dealerships to driving ranges to restaurants, that didn't pan out.

Partners rave about his astute business sense, but others say he's not committed enough, dabbles in too much - that the skills that propelled him to six NBA titles, five MVPs and a 1982 NCAA title at UNC don't translate to the business world. Now, in the days since Jordan agreed to buy the Charlotte Bobcats, mixed opinions have surfaced on how he'll fare.

News, analysis and commentary from the following Boston Globe and Boston.com writers:

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