Let’s start the analysis with this: Oh hell yeah. Raps coach Jay Triano is upset that Pierce’s mean face/tough guy reaction isn’t “sportsmanlike,” and of course he’s right. But every single NBA star reacts this way when they dunk on someone. This is actualy fairly mild compared to some other reactions I’ve seen, and it only looks worse because Bosh was hurt by the ol’ knee to the groin. But I don’t think Pierce knew that immediately.
In any case, here are the efficiency numbers from last night’s game:
Pace: 91 possessions (slow)
Offensive Efficiency: 127.4 points/100 possessions (well beyond league best)
Defensive Efficiency: 113.1 points allowed/100 possessions (league worst)
And of course, the focus is all on how terribly the Celtics played on defense, save for the 3rd quarter. Some sample quotes:
* Steve Bulpett in the Herald, pulling out all some classic Canada jokes:
The way they allowed the Canadians unfettered access to the lane and the hoop most of last evening, it’s a wonder our folding money doesn’t have pictures of the queen and waterfowl. In fact, go check your wallet just to be sure.
* And Gary Washburn in the Globe:
At this point, even home games against inferior teams are challenging because the Celtics are so inconsistent.
The problem with this sort of analysis is that it ignores the fact that the Toronto Raptors are a really good offensive team. The Sixers tossing up 110 points in Boston on Wednesday is a far more problematic thing than giving up 113.1 points per 100 possessions to a Raptors team averaging 113.1 points per 100 possessions—the 3rd-best mark in the league, behind only Phoenix and Denver.
It’s worth remembering that the C’s are still #2 in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 99.8 points per 100 possessions. Is that mark a bit inflated (or, I suppose, deflated) because of the fact that the C’s have already played the six worst offensive teams in the league? Maybe. But they’ve also played #1, #3 and six of the top 12 in offensive efficiency.
Point being: Give the Raps a little credit. The C’s defense has been inconsistent, and the team isn’t playing with the same destructive fury this season that it played with during the 27-2 start last season. The best thing to do is just accept it. It makes for a more interesting ride.
Also “interesting”: Sheed’s needless post-game rant.
One of the nice things about having Sheed around is that he’s an interesting quote and a guy who seems to enjoy having smart discussions about basketball. I just wish he wouldn’t say things like this (about his collision with Hedo Turkoglu that resulted in him getting a technical last night):
“I didn’t use no profanity, I just said, ‘He’s a flopper,’ ’’ Wallace said after Boston’s 116-113 victory at TD Garden. “And [Malloy] gave me a tech for that. The league should make that a rule – flopping.
“It’s not like I threw my shoulder into him, or it was a hard push, or real hard contact. Come on, now. Showing on a pick, I’m already there, he touches me – ‘Ohh,’ he acts like I shot him or something. ‘Ohh.’ That’s not basketball, man, that’s not defense, that’s garbage, that’s what it is.’’
And even worse—his comments about the technical on Pierce (via the Globe):
“They set rules on us to the point where you’re taunting. When Paul dunked it and then, Paul didn’t say nothing, he just looked at him. Let The Golden Child do that or one of the NBA [Basketball] Without Borders kids do that and it’s all fine and dandy.’’
Let the record show that Wallace is (sort of) right about the Pierce technical, though I think he’s wrong about singling out LeBron or even saying the Pierce techincal is unjustified. He’s right that stars—and non-stars—get away with similar mean face/flexing/standing-over-a-prone-guy taunts all the time. He’s right that what Pierce did would often not result in a technical. But this isn’t a case of there being one standard for LBJ and another for the rest of the league. It’s a case of inconsistent officiating and human judgment.
As for the whole “the international guys flop” notion (which I think is what Sheed is hinting at in his “NBA Without Borders” comment), I wish he wouldn’t have said it. Sure, some of the most high-profile floppers have been international guys (Ginobili, Varejao, Divac), but American-born guys flop, too, and comments like Sheed’s ignore the contributions international players have made to the NBA by reducing them all to floppers.
They also amount to tossing another log on the already-huge inferno of mutual hatred burning between Sheed and the refs. Don’t wonder why you get T’d up so often, big fella.
Oh—Sheed’s probably still bitter about the 2005 Finals. Remember this classic clip?