This year's Boston Celtics team is easy to like and easy to root for. Last night the Celtics grinded out their fifth straight victory, defeating the Atlanta Hawks in overtime 107-102. Kevin Garnett told Boston.com after the game Friday night that the team is showing their character.
"We're grinding," said Garnett who became the NBA's 10th-all time rebounder during the game.
The hard fought effort, defense and strong bench play is making the Boston Celtics a team to watch in the playoffs. The Celtics are now just 1 1/2 behind the Brooklyn Nets for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference standings which is hard to believe for a team that has lost both All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and promising rookie Jared Sullinger for the season.
But the hard work and emergence of Jeff Green demonstrates the fight of this team. Coach Doc Rivers is loving the play and expressed his delight in the teams overtime victory which was their 11th overtime game this season which is a franchise record.
"The good part is that we're winning them," said Rivers, who is putting on one of his best coaching performances and should be a major contender for coach of the year.
But at the same time, with two of the team's leading players over the age of 34 in Paul Pierce and Garnett, the extra minutes can come to take their toll. That's why the play of Jeff Green and the Celtics bench is so pivotal.
In last night's game, the Celtics led by 12 points before Atlanta went on a 20-8 run to end the 4th quarter and force overtime.
Jeff Green put the Celtics ahead for the first time in overtime with a prayer shot from the left corner and after Josh Smith's 3-pointer put Atlanta back ahead 101-99, Piece answered with his on 3-pointer putting the Celtics back up by 1.
Then after a steal by Jason Terry and a key offensive rebound by Avery Bradley, Terry nailed a 3-pointer to ice the game and collect a hard fought victory by the team.
Impressive in the game is that the Celtics bench outscored Atlanta's bench 46 to 8.
The bench will be key if the Boston Celtics are to make some noise in the NBA playoffs this year.