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This team is starting to look old: Pacers 113, Celtics 104

 

ESPN RecapEight Points Nine Seconds

The Celtics have played four back to back games this year. During the 2nd half of those 4 back to backs, except for their game against Charlotte after the opener, they have looked flat out sluggish. The trend continued last night in Indiana, as The Pacers walked all over The C’s to the tune of 113 points. Danny Granger was…..well Danny Granger. Dhantay Jones was motivated by my preview apparently where I degraded his shooting abilities and exploded to the tune of 25 points.

Paul Pierce was the main culprit in Jones being so effective, clearly laboring on his knee while gutting it out after injuring it Friday night. Make no mistake though, the entire Celtic team were equal opportunity offenders in putting up arguably their worst defensive performance in The Big Three era.

The Pacers shot 53 percent from the field, a season high for a Celtic opponent as well as 50 percent from downtown. The Pacers were hot from the perimeter all night long, turning Jones and company into all-stars but make no mistake The Celtics were largely responsible for this explosion, giving the Pacers wide open looks that they were happy to knock down.

Before we get back to the C’s, a quick sidebar on The Pacers. After opening with three losses, they have won 4 straight games and I have to say I am impressed by this team, who in all honesty was an afterthought when the season began. They moved the ball with great precision last night to the tune of 31 assists on 40 baskets, an incredibly percentage.

The Celtics couldn’t match their energy and sense of urgency over the course of the night despite the fact Indy was shorthanded without big men Troy Murphy and Jeff Foster. Jim O’Brien has this team playing small ball in the meantime with their athletic lineup and he had them doing it well last night. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Pacers threaten for a playoff seed at the bottom of the East when all is said and done this year.  More thoughts on this debacle, after the jump

Donny Marshall talked a bit in the postgame about what this team was lacking in this contest. Were the C’s overconfident in these games against inferior opponents? Lacking a sense of urgency? It seemed to be all of the above on Saturday. Athletic teams have given the C’s trouble in the past and last night it didn’t look like respected The Pacers outside shooting. Grant it, their season percentages indicate they shouldn’t have had to, but you can’t give your opponents countless opportunities over the course of the night and not pay for it. The C’s learned that the hard way last night.

I don’t want to go to overboard here in ripping the C’s for this loss. Perhaps some of the reason that most fans are so upset by the effort is because it is so uncharacteristic of this team to play so poorly defensively. So while the defensive effort may have been an aberration, the flaws this team has (age, athleticism) are becoming more readily apparent in the tail ends of these back to backs. Doc and company are going to have to do something to address these concerns against their more faster paced opponents as the year progresses. Luckily, the C’s have three days off right now to help right the ship.

A few bullets before we go:

–In the good news department for the game, The C’s at least addressed their rebounding deficiencies from Atlanta to the tune of a 43-34 edge over the Pacers to go along with 14 offensive boards. Perk and Shelden did most of the tough work down low, but it was good to see the big guys reestablish themselves after being embarrassed by The Hawks the night before on the glass.

–Only 2 three point attempts by Sheed last night. Naturally he missed both, but I hope this decreased number is not an isolated incident.

–15 free throws attempts for Dhantay Jones? Really? You know Paul Pierce was really hurting defensively with that number along with the -13 plus minus he put up when he was out there. Made it look like Doc should have just given him the night off.

–Joey Crawford may have it out for the C’s but Doc deserves his fair share of the blame for not keeping his cool in this one. He earned one of his the team’s 3 T’s of the night from Crawford, perhaps unfairly, but Doc has shown the tendency to provoke those kinds of technicals from officials a couple times a year and this was bad timing for it to happen. Still I hate entitled refs.

–Only 18 assists for the C’s. Despite scoring 104 points, they looked out of sync down the stretch offensively. They couldn’t keep pace (no pun intended) with Indiana’s firepower.

–Danny Granger really knows how to fill up a box score. The guy can do it all.

–Eddie House still can’t get it going from the outside. This may be the longest shooting funk he has had in a C’s uniform.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Sorry everyone, but I gotta let loose. I’ve heard several times that the Cs have the fewest # of back to backs so I’m not so concerned about tiredness. I’m actually more concerned about attitude. I don’t see it. They have become the hunted instead of the hunter. They are allowing themselves to be the nail instead of the hammer. Shooting is going to be hot or cold, but Defensive EFFORT should be consistent or even get better. I think the very 1st thing we are taught in basketball is how important it is to stay in front of your man. Staying in front of your man is not optional. You can at least slow the guy down so others can help. There seems to be too much El Torro D going on out there. What makes it worse is when your guy beats you & then you just stand there and watch–instead of doing something to help like assuming the guy is going to miss & getting that rebound or rotating to a potential shooter. If you have to give up something let it be the mid-range up to 3 point line JUMPER (as Barkley says, ain’t no jump shooting team gonna win the title). Make that team shoot the shot you want them to shoot. I don’t remember seeing a single charge taken this whole season and not many hard fouls. Hard fouls can change everything. I remember McHale’s foul in the playoffs & how everything changed. To this day I have much respect for McHale because it seemed so out of character for him to do it. That is a moment I will never forget. The Cs stopped playing like sissies & LA was totally taken out of their fast break game worried about being tough (I saw a Magic interview where he confessed that they quit playing their game after that & that cost them the title). Sorry, but I gotta blame Doc on something. If you see Paul hobbling & struggling you gotta take him out. The good news is that the Cs should now be angry & play harder. By the way, to quote the great, sagacious philosopher, Kimbo Slice, “I’m gonna get hit.” The Cs need to stop looking for fouls & realize they are going to get hit. The refs are going to miss calls. Take all that anger for the ref. & make it useful by taking it out on the other team. Go dunk on them or take a charge or steal the ball back or block a shot or get a rebound. It is useless to take your anger out on the ref., but it is beneficial to take that anger, say, ‘it’s on now’ & go beat down the other team. I love seeing leading by example. It is normal to feel shame when you see someone else playing harder & consequently, up your game. If there is no shame & somebody is not playing with the same intensity as others on the team then it is Doc’s responsibility to sit them. I have a feeling that Doc is going to have to hurt some feelings and sit people. If Shelden is rebounding & playing harder than others keep him out there. If some combination is working stop worrying about minutes and milk it. Ray Ray only got 8 shots vs. Atlanta. He hit 5 of them. That’s not milking it. KG was 7 of 11 vs Pacers. I agree with Tommy, give him 20 shots. Milk it. Finally, I would much rather see the Cs hold a team to 70 than see the Cs score 120. I know that some nights the Cs are going to be shooting bricks, but I really wanna see ANGRY intense RAPACIOUS Defense. Defense with an attitude. That’s why I buy Cs gear, tickets, NBA league pass, cheer, & write entirely too much here. You never know. Maybe one C will see this & stop reacting, stop being the victim & be the Hunter, be the Hammer. Props to KG for not leaving the post load on Perk & trying to do some work in the paint against Indy. I saw that effort to post, & I was shouting for ya big man.

  • http://espn jonathan

    well first of all i think the c’s biggest problem right now is the they think no body is better than them wich is real good but don’t understamate the other teams becuse their’s competition out there and ya have to play like their better than ya!! that way every night ya play with real heart on the court…. so lets do the tham thing and win on deffens i know ya can dot it, but don’t talk about it just prove it by playing real ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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