With trade rumors swirling around a possible acquisition  of Nate Robinson , the Celtics  found themselves locked in an offensive struggle against one of the fastest-paced teams in the league. That might have been OK to play the Sacramento Kings  style earlier in the season, but the Celtics can’t afford to mess around with sub-.500 teams anymore.
Enter the bench. The very same bench that Danny Ainge seems determined to try to tweak between now and the trade deadline Thursday.
Playing one of their most inspired quarters, the second unit took an 11-point lead behind the hot shooting of Eddie House  and the interior defense of Rasheed Wallace  and Glen Davis . The Celtics rode that effort, and survived a shaky fourth quarter, en route to a 95-92 win over the Kings Tuesday night.
Wallace, Davis, House and Marquis Daniels  all played major roles in the victory and helped the Celtics overcome a lackluster performance from the starting five. It’s only one game, of course, but if they had played that well for the majority of the season (and been healthy enough to try) Ainge wouldn’t be attempting to perform a makeover at the deadline.
Turning Point: Despite the bench’s efforts, the Celtics still had to work for it. Paul Pierce , who had a sub-par shooting game otherwise, drilled a 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining that put the Celtics ahead, 89-87. The Kings helped out mightily by missing four free throws down the stretch.
Player of the Game: Rasheed Wallace. The backup big man has maintained throughout the season that he, and the Celtics, will get things right when it counts. Tuesday night was a step in the right direction. Wallace finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks, but it was his play down low that was so effective. Wallace dominated on the block in the first half and was also an active presence defensively. He shifted back outside in the second half, but he served a reminder that once again he is the Celtics best post-up player. When he wants to be.
* The starters were shredded defensively in the first quarter as the Kings shot 55 percent and made 5-of-8 from 3-point range. A balanced scoring effort and a lack of turnovers helped the Celtics match the Kings, 30-30.
* Kevin Garnett  had nine rebounds through the first three quarters and almost recorded his first double-digit rebounding game since Dec. 18 against the Sixers, but he couldn’t get over the hump.
* Eddie House made four 3-pointers, something he hasn’t been able to do since a Dec. 30 blowout loss to the Suns.
* Glen Davis had five offensive rebounds in just 17 minutes of action.