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Recap: The Proof is In the Paint

 

boshawks

That game had everything you could want.  Players being unselfish, flying around the court playing very uptempo, and a rookie point guard who continues to show his opponents, no matter who they are, that he is not afraid.  I, of course, am not referring to Lester Hudson, but to Ty Lawson and the rest of Denver Nuggets blowing out the Lakers.

The Nuggets blowing out the Lakers was probably the only good thing to come out of last night.  To put it another way, this morning I had to stand in as a “patient” for my buddy Flynn’s EMT class.  Being poked, prodded, wrapped, bandaged, shaken, felt-up, and trached (not seriously) was a better experience than watching last night’s game.  For a Celtics fan, it’s very hard to see Mike Bibby win anything.  The only case where Mike Bibby winning something would make me happy would be if he won a Dr. Evil look-a-like contest.  (Seriously, look at this and then look at this and tell me who’s who).

It was tough, but no matter how you want to rationalize it with insulting guys like Mike Bibby or Zaza Pachuca Sunrise, the Celtics earned their second loss of the season.  Zach touched on the statistics of why the Celts didn’t win and he also gave the Hawks some credit for being young and talented- of which they are deserving.  However, I hate to cop out but the Celtics lost more than the Hawks won.  While it’s true the Hawks hustled for offensive boards and played good perimeter defense, that still doesn’t directly translate to the amount of offensive boards the Hawks got and the amount of threes the C’s didn’t make.

The game essentially boiled down to three things:

  • Rebounding. The Celtics don’t box out.  They just flat out don’t and it’s beginning to annoy me.  They are such a veteran team that plays stellar defense, one would think the diligence used to be effective in those areas would translate to the glass- but it doesn’t.  In the last couple of games, I can recall at least six glaring instances where a simple box out would have secured a rebound, but instead went as a second chance point for the other team.
  • Last night I also realized that when the Celtics take a shot, they have one guy in the paint left to battle for the board while the other four players have already set up their defense.  The Hawks, on the other hand, hang around to pester the outlet pass or in some way hamper the quick transition.  To be honest, I don’t mind at all if the Celtics rush back on defense immediately.  I only wonder whether or not this quick recovery on defense is due to the fact that everyone on the Celtics loves shooting the three more than doing anything else.  Which brings me to my next point…

  • Threes. Love or hate them, the C’s live and die by them.  Tonight they died and it was no surprise.  If you shoot 1-15 from three, loosing is not only expected, it’s pretty much guaranteed.  It’s clear that Rasheed is taking too many and he needs to go back to what he does best- everything.  Rasheed has a great inside game both going strong and fading away and that’s where the Celts need him.  Eddie House needs to get going somehow.  Everyone knows that when he’s on, he is unstoppable.  When he’s not, he’s useless.
  • If three more threes find their way in, the game ends much differently.  Threes can be such a momentum killer depending on if they are made or not.

  • Momentum. When everything is going well for the C’s, they gel on offense and give people fits on defense.  When they get behind in a game, more often than not they rely on Pierce to take his man one-on-one, which he does quite well.  Still, it doesn’t get them anywhere.
  • It was clear the Celtics were frustrated last night with some of the non-calls, which really hurt their momentum.  I can remember two specific instances where the C’s stopped and complained about not getting a call instead of getting back on defense- once with Marquis and once with Perk.  Seriously guys, what’s the point?  They refs are not going to go back in time and blow the whistle and your team is, meanwhile, short-handed on the defensive end.  I know players talk to the refs for the next call but there’s a time and a place- when the ball is dead, not when the other team is fast-breaking.

Last night’s game was a clear example of how I don’t like to lose.  I have newly decided that I prefer to lose when the team plays well.  While it’s awful to see your team play well and still lose, it’s not as painful to watch when your team is bricking shots and giving up rebounds.  It would have been so much better if Jamal Crawford and Rasheed Wallace both lived up to their hype of being the potential sixth man of the year- instead of Crawford running away with it.  It was also sad to see Shelden, in the midst of playing the best basketball of his NBA career, come in and play poorly against the team that gave up on him.  He did have one great rebound but missed on some makeable shots and had one ugly take hoping in vain for a whistle.

Let’s look for the C’s to get back on the horse tonight with Indy.  It won’t be easy seeing as how Paul’s knee’s a little tender and the Pacers have a nice young team like the Hawks.  Still, I see the bench living up to its billing tonight and beating up on the Pacers, but then again, I saw the Celts beating the Hawks as well.

  • steve

    Painful to watch the rebounding against the Hawks. Work hard on defense, force a tough shot, then don’t box out and give them another chance. It seems worse that it happened time after time. You would think there would be a concious effort by everyone after the first half to get defensive rebounds. While you can give the Hawks some credit for their speed and athleticism a lot of it was the lack of boxing out. This seems correctable, or is it? It also seemed that Rondo finally realized at the end of the game that he could drive at will. Why wasn’t that happening earlier? Rondo doesn’t need to shoot jumpers, just drive, force the defense to commit and find the open man. He does a great job and can get around most any guard covering him. Hopefully back to hitting the threes and running against the Pacers and all will be well again.

  • Sophomore

    Obviously, rebounding and poor outside shooting were the big problems. That hurts.

    What also sucked is that when the Cs were not bricking up three-point shots they were able to create layups and high-percentage shots almost at will. There were a *lot* of layups and open shots coming off sweet ball movement. Want the proof? The Cs shot better than 60% from inside the three point line. You read that right – they were 35 out of 58, for a hair better than 60%.

    To get that kind of execution inside and still cough up the game… argh.

    One last point – while the Cs defense was generally solid, there were some real lapses in the 3d quarter when the Hawks made their run. Go back to the DVR and you’ll see a number of uncontested shots. Guys often got stuck on picks and just didn’t get through, leading to breakdowns on the defense.

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