Bad half for the Celtics . No other way to say it. Even without Kevin Garnett , and his loss has been felt in a number of subtle and over ways this afternoon, these are games the Celtics need to win to keep pace with Cleveland for the top seed in the East.
THIRD QUARTER WRAP: After decent start to the half, the Celtics are basically right back where they started, down seven heading into the fourth quarter. They are going to have dig in defensively if they are going to pull this one out.
Third Quarter Observations
— How do the Celtics miss Garnett? Besides defensively, there have been a number of times when Rondo has broken down the defense and looked to kick it to a big man who is either not in the exact right spot or is not the shooter that KG is. Early in the quarter, Big Baby rolled down the lane and got an easy layup. That’s the kind of positioning and away from the ball movement that has been missing without Garnett.
— Perkins has been pushing Rasheed further and further out on the block for that fadeaway. Perk has done a fine job defending Sheed in KG’s absence. Of course just as I typed that Wallace got an and-one against Perkins. But the point still holds.
— It is getting really physical. Rip just launched Ray Allen  with a hip check and the elbows are working overtime away from the ball. That’s not to say that it’s chippy, because it’s not. As mentioned before, Joey Crawford is working the game. The two things are almost certainly related.
— This quarter has been a complete reversal from the first two. The Celtics are getting stops, rebounds and then running when it’s there.
— Presumably the second unit is going to have to make something happen for the Celtics to win this game. Outside of Leon Powe , they didn’t exactly rise to the occasion in the second quarter.
— Pierce has gone wire-to-wire today. They really need to figure something out in terms of a back-up for him.