Blount Goes for 16, 16, and 3 in W


There may have been times this season when you wondered if Mark Blount really was worth all the fuss, not to mention the $38 million. Sunday night (6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, 18 minutes) might have been one of those times. Last night was not.

Last night Blount delivered his first real macho game of the season, admittedly against an undersized foe. In the end, the Celtics' 7-footer played like one, and left the FleetCenter floor with 16 points, a season-high 16 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and a big hand in the Celtics' 101-100 victory over the Bucks.

   On a night that will best be remembered for Paul Pierce getting yanked for a two-minute "timeout" in the fourth quarter - and being none too pleased - it was people such as Blount who made the big plays in helping the Celtics to their second straight win. Basketball operations chief Danny Ainge even made a point of giving Blount a fist bump after the game (that's a good thing, although it's funny seeing Ainge do it).

Rebounding is generally at or near the top of Doc Rivers's worry list before any game. There's a good reason for that. The Celtics entered last night's game ranked 24th in rebounding and next-to-last in offensive rebounding. Eight of Blount's rebounds were on the offensive glass, as the Celtics scored 21 second-chance points.

Asked about his haul on the glass - his previous season high had been 10 and he was averaging only 5.5 - Blount shrugged and said, "It helped us win the game. That's what it's all about. It helped us win the game."

Five of Blount's rebounds came in a wild fourth quarter that saw four lead changes and two ties. He even picked up an assist on a Raef LaFrentz hoop, swatting an errant Pierce shot back to the basket, where LaFrentz guided it home. That was one of just two Boston baskets in the final eight minutes.

"He was big," LaFrentz said of Blount. "That was a great effort on the glass."

This is why Ainge ponied up the big bucks last summer and why Rivers went out of his way to convince the free agent Blount to come back to the Celtics. They know they're not going to get twin 16s from him every night, but this was a guy who averaged 10.3 points and 7.2 rebounds while being the only Celtic to go wire to wire last season. This season, he's averaging 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds; both LaFrentz and Pierce average more rebounds per game.

Until Monday night in Orlando, Blount had failed to crack double figures on the boards this season. He hauled in 10 against the Magic - this coming 24 hours after his substandard submission in Miami. But the Orlando intake didn't come until the 13th game of the season. There were more nights like Miami, or the loss in Philadelphia (8 points, 3 rebounds), where Blount looked out of sorts and out of synch. In the first 12 games, he grabbed as many as eight rebounds only twice.

Asked if he was being more aggressive on the boards last night, Blount said, "That's just the way the game went." He pointed out that the Bucks are an excellent shooting team, "but we got the stops we needed and went from there." Asked which "16" meant more to him, he said, "I'd just like for everyone to play team defense and move the ball on offense. Whatever comes to me, I'm going to take it."

He took a lot of things last night, most of them good. The Celtics needed it all. On this night, he looked like one good investment.


FLCeltsFan said...

Ewwww. Mark Blount was the one Celtic in all of Celtics history that I really didn't like. (not counting Pitino - he wasn't ever really a Celtic).

Lex said...

I still remember the game where he complained about touches and doc ripped him a new one about getting one rebound

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