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Indefensible Effort: Mavs 99, C’s 90

I wrote a lot of bullets about this game at halftime and more than 75 percent of them were positive comments about the C’s. Paul Pierce looked somewhat gimpy but looked efficient as ever on the offensive end. Sheed was containing Dirk and also limited his touches. Rondo was getting out and running, giving the team plenty of fast break opportunities. The ball was moving well offensively (15 assists on 22 baskets). Eddie made a couple jumpers and Ray looked to find his rhythm as well. The C’s were winning the turnover battle and things were looking rosy as the C’s headed into the tunnel with a 9 point lead.

Then the 2nd half started…..and the C’s turned into their worst defensive performance in a half that I can remember since the beginning of the Big 3 era. The Mavs came out of the locker room looking hungry, aggressive and the C’s just had no answer. I have seen a lot of trainwrecks that were more pleasant to watch than these 24 minutes.

So how exactly did this happen? And where do you begin to look to hone in on the problems tonight and potential solutions? Let’s try to unravel this situation.

First, let’s give some credit to where credit is due and that goes to the entire Dallas offense. For as pathetic as the C’s defensive effort was out there, the Mavs took advantage of literally EVERY opportunity the C’s gave them. Open jumpers, opportunities in transition, taking advantage of mismatches (Dirk vs. Big Baby) and get offense from unlikely sources (Erick Dampier) those guys had all their weapons firing after a very out of sync first half for them.

Jason Kidd was a maestro with the ball on his way to 13 points and 17 assists to go along with some timely 3 point shooting (3 of 3 from deep). Dirk was vintage Dirk against Boston, murdering the C’s from mid range while getting to the line plenty, exploding in the 2nd half to give himself 37 points on the night. The rest of the starters chipped in with some efficient shooting lines and you had an offensive performance reminiscent of the C’s massacre of Jersey last Wednesday in the Meadowlands….except this time the C’s got a taste of their own medicine.

So with all that credit out of the way for Dallas, let’s get into how bad this defensive effort was for the C’s. The Mavs shot 57.4 percent tonight from the field. That’s the 2nd highest FG Percentage allowed in the Big 3 era by this Celtic squad. (h/t Zach Lowe). 18 points was the overall spread in the 2nd half in favor of the Mavs but it felt it might as well been 30 points.

There is really no person in particular that stands out to take the brunt of the blame, as this truly was a indefensible effort by the troops. The pick and roll defense, the lack of switching, failing to close out on open jump shooters, whatever mistake the team could have made, they appeared to do it. I could go through a laundry list of deficiencies right now, but I will  leave it for Brendan to take care of that further. Just know this was the worst defensive effort I remember seeing out of this team. There was no life, no energy and no sense of urgency to respond and step up the intensity. To have a team shoot 65-70 percent against you in the 2nd half in your own building is embarrassing and you can bet Doc will let them know about that tonight.

To compound the C’s defensive problems was a shoddy performance on the offensive end. The sharp ball movement and transition opportunities we saw in the 2nd quarter faded, as the underrated Dallas D stepped it up and lured the C’s into taking tough shots and making foolish passes.

The C’s had 15 assists on 22 FG’s in the 1st half but were left with just 10 in the 2nd half, with a couple of those coming in garbage time when this one was long over.

A couple quick bullets before we hand this over to Brendan

  • Free Throws problems still loomed tonight for the C’s, with 8 of 16 overall from the line tonight. It wasn’t the Celts biggest problem tonight, but it sure didn’t help matters.
  • 75 percent shooting for the Mavs in the 3rd quarter. Just embarrassing.
  • Only 12 turnovers tonight for the C’s who won the overall better. Still costly miscues in the 4th qtr killed any chance the C’s had of making a run in this game. The usual suspects (TA, Perk) forcing passes that weren’t there reared their ugly head once again.
  • Best part of this game for C’s fans. Sheed’s loud exclamation after being whistled for a reach in during the 2nd qtr “NOW THAT’S A FOUL” to the ref who called it on him, after griping about some earlier calls. Some much needed comedic relief tonight.

That’s it for me. Brendan will have much more later on. Luckily for the C’s they have Detroit on Wednesday night to help them pick up the pieces, but with their 7 home losses on the year already on the year, being more than they had over all of last year, it’s time to ask how much are you worried about this team’s performance at the Garden?

  • dietcoke9

    im just sorta concerned because there was as you said no mental toughness, most of that defense was mental errors/ lack of intensity in the second half. dirk was also lights out. we just need to get healthy, this is a real rough streak, and we just need to get through it.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    The Cs were coming off of 3 days rest. Dallas was coming off of a back to back. I was looking at Kidd’s stats. I had no idea he shot 3s better than most guys on his team. I think the Cs were oblivious to that as well. I kept asking myself, ‘is Kidd coming out of the game? shouldn’t he be really tired? didn’t he just play last night? how old is he (looked it up = 36)? I mean Kidd is 36 & played 42 minutes tonight, & his effort just made the Cs effort look pathetic. He didn’t have 3 days rest. He just played last night at Toronto. Flying in to today’s game with how much preparation compared to the Cs ? I just don’t get it.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    injuries. guys are gassed out. must get healthy. kg. marquis. kg. kg. kg.

  • dude4pres

    Mavs fan here just weighing in on the Celts home record. The same kind of thing is going on here in Dallas with the Mavs being 14 – 7 at home this year. It seems like the fans here have taken advantage of having a decent team here over the last 10 years, and the players seem almost too relaxed when they play at home. There been a lot of big early deficits where the team almost looks disinterested then comes back strong in the second half just to tire out and lose it in the end. I’m expecting that with veteran teams like we’re both fans of it’s something that will be taken care of come playoff time. Hopefully they at least play well enough for it not to affect seeding for the playoffs.
    On a side note I’ve read quite a few posts here since I found the site after the game tonight and I really enjoy the writing. Keep up the good work.

  • DRJ1

    I can think of one “person in particular that stands out to take the brunt of the blame.” Rajon Rondo. From about 9:30 of Q3 on, he suddenly and inexplicably STOPPED PLAYING. Suddenly, he was walking the ball up, suddenly he stopped driving, suddenly his D morphed into an occasional jab-from-behind at the ball. And the smooth machine of the first half turned into a clunky, choking, barely-mobile lemon of a team in the 3rd quarter and beyond. It all started with Rondo.

    But of course, plenty of blame to go around. Like careless, brainless passing from Paul, Perk, Sheed and yes, Rondo too. (Not TA, tho… he had only 1 TO in the game.)

    And Doc, forced to sit Sheed when he picked up his 4th foul, had NO backup plan for guarding Dirk. Baby on Dirk? Are you kidding? Scal?…huh? Dirk barely had to jump to shoot over these guys. With Dirk, it’s a simple matter of inches. He’s a 7′ great shooter. To guard him, you GOTTA BE TALL. This is real simple basketball, Doc. With KG out, and Sheed on the bench… what do you do? GIVE UP? Because that ‘s what Doc did. There was one other guy on the floor (approximately) tall enough to bother Dirk, and that was Perk. Don’t want Perk running around on the perimeter? He’s not used to it? Awww… poor lil baby Perk. Next time, give him a hanky and tell him to go run around after Dirk and make him STOP shooting (and hitting). Why? Because there was no one else to do it. End of story. That one’s on Doc.

    But mostly, I blame Rondo. He just QUIT… right around 9:30 of Q3. Just quit playing, for no clear reason. Well… maybe he was hurt from that hard fall… maybe. Hope that was the reason (and that it’s not serious, of course)… because otherwise, it’s pretty scary.

    One thing’s clear… to win it all, whether or not they get a backup PG… Rondo is going to have to play at least 16 great games in the playoffs. This team goes nowhere without him.

  • I tweeted (as the kids say) about 10 minutes into the game that Rondo was gambling too often. He played his worst game of the season, excluding his nice-looking J early.

  • steve

    I’ve said this before but Rondo seems to come out of his game sometimes. Sometimes it goes the other way where he walks the ball up for the first 2 or 3 quarters and then decides to drive to the hoop and score or pass. Games like this it seemed he had it figured out by driving and pressuring the defense and then suddenly you never saw it again. They somehow have to find a way to give guys easy open looks. KG always seems to find those 15 footers with no one around him. It would be nice to see the other guys find those spots instead of having to work so hard to get off a shot or have a defender draped all over you. Didn’t really expect this kind of loss at home with rest against a team on back to backs.

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  • Idaho

    I know there are a lot of Rondo bandwagoners on here so I rarely post my true feelings about the kid. Thank you DR and Steve for not drinking the koolaid.

    I am glad we have a solid pg. But I hate to watch people who don’t try. Rondo flat quits. It is pathetic. If he is such a great defender why do so many guards get 10+ assists on him night in and night out. You can say he wasn’t guarding them the entire time but if we are going to call him a great defender lock up a decent PG once this season (i.e. rose, kidd, nash, davis, etc.).

    C’s need to stop the bleeding.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Doc talks about it over & over & over. He wants Rajon to push the ball up. We see much easier baskets when he does. McHale was going on & on about it last night. Rondo is also smart enough to pull the ball out if the initial push / probe is well defended. For some reason, especially when they get a lead, Rajon starts the walk the ball up campaign, & the Celts respond by doing a lot of standing around with maximal ball stickage or individual dribbleathons. I don’t know if it is laziness, tiredness, we’re so good we can beat you playing granny style or what, but it does not work.

    What the Cs really need is a backup POINT guard (not another shooter) who can get the ball up the court really fast without to’s. A guard who can handle the rock with his eyes closed who laughs at pressure or double teams, traps, etc. He doesn’t need to be a shooter, just a quick, great assist man who can play some D. Think about it. The Cs have guys who can bring the ball up, but they have no one who handles the ball with authority and speed (except Rajon). When I’ve seen TA or Quis or Eddie try to dribble fast & pick up the speed it looks highly unstable, kinda reckless.

  • Idaho

    DJ, now there was a defender and gave 100% night in and night out. I would love to see a highlight (or lowlight) reel comparing possessions when DJ/Rondo (Or anyone for that matter) taking a possession off. DJ’s would be about 5 minutes long, Rondo’s 5 hours. I can’t stand to watch him on defense.

  • strips

    so i guess this proves we really need a stable pg coming off the bench…

    would nate really fit in there? i know zach talked about this extensively already, but nate’s numbers are becoming more and more convincing…

    if only nate wasn’t a jackass…

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