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The Mavs Bring Out Interesting Observations

“This just in, where to begin? Grin and bear it, it’s bare and grim.”

After almost 24 hours of digesting last night’s loss, all I can muster is a terrible song lyric from a terrible 90s band.

I’ve read every recap and they all say the same thing:  the Celtics are old, gave lackadaisical effort, and played unexpectedly bad defense.  Rondo reached too much instead of staying in front of Jason Kidd and allowed Kidd to dish out 17 assists, an impressive number even in Kidd’s heyday.

But I’m not interested in what that means for last night’s game.  It’s over, done with, and filed haphazardly in to the loss column.  I am more interested in what the C’s can do to look forward, what they can learn from this loss…

…thus, I’ve looked at last night’s game in context with some of the other C’s losses and the following are my findings:

1)  What is with the third quarter?

The Celtics give up the most points on average in the third quarter than any other quarter (HoopsStats.com).  What accounts for this, I can only begin to speculate: if they have a lead at halftime they get complacent,  if they sit too much they lose focus and get cold,  Doc Rivers’ halftime speech is uninspiring,  the C’s bench gets a lot of run in the third quarter if there is a substantial lead.

Who knows?

I do not.  But I do know it that it has to be improved upon.  There are a lot of opportunities for games to be won in the third quarter and starters to be rested well in the fourth.

2) What is with the C’s playing poorly at home?

Wasn’t the exact opposite a problem in the playoffs two years ago?  Oh yeah, it was.  The Celtics could not find a way to win consistently on the road in the 2008 playoffs and have come out this year and seem to have put that problem to bed, posting one of the leagues best road records.  Unfortunately, they’ve awakened a new problem, unforeseeable before the season: the Celtics can’t win a prime-time home game.

The Celtics are 2-4 in Friday night home games with losses against Atlanta, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.  Seven out of their twelve losses have come at home.  So what gives?  Are they complacent at home?  Do they have two many distractions?  Are the fans bad fans?  I’d say two out of three have some merit.

It’s always nice to work closer to home.  You drive to the arena yourself, you can sleep in your own bed, hell, you can even simulate the game on your Sega Genesis or whatever you kids play today.

3) Practice makes perfect.

Doc was quoted after the Bulls game as saying, “practice is the last thing we need” and there is some merit to what he’s saying.  These are veteran guys and without imitating Iverson for the umteenth time, I think an actual practice wouldn’t benefit the C’s old legs.  But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be thinking about the games, do walk-throughs, and mentally prepare themselves.

If your the Celtics, you have to know that Dirk Nowitzki hits any open shot you give him.  There is no excuse for the lack of hard close-outs and intelligent help defense.  Practice is also not cut and dry in terms of who needs it and who doesn’t.  Last night, Big Baby looked like he could have used a few minutes over the three day lay off to discuss how to defend Dirk.  Maybe just a few.  Oh and it may have been beneficial to remind Rasheed Wallace that Dirk really gets abused in the paint by long power forwards that can shoot bank shots over him but defends the perimeter really well…especially against shooters as inconsistent as ‘Sheed.

4) Rondo gets up for some and lets go of others.

It’s been well speculated that Rajon Rondo gets himself more pumped up for games against the likes of Chris Paul than guys like Jarrett Jack- and for a lot of reasons that stands to reason.  At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome or the way either PG plays, Rondo is still better than Jarrett Jack, still better than Jason Kidd, and still better than Mike Conley.  It’s only natural that Rondo would have a little extra motivation when playing the Chris Paul’s, Deron Williams’, and Steve Nash’s of the world.

It seemed like Rondo thought if he continued to just out run Jason Kidd, Kidd’s weathered legs would buckle under the demand.  They didn’t and he dished out 17 assists while Rondo continuously went for his patented reach around steal attempt which yielded few positive results.

5) Some guys can match up really well against the C’s.

These are mostly guys who fall under the “match up nightmare for any team” and “gonna get his” categories.  Still, the C’s have a huge disadvantage when trying to defend more mobile power forwards like Dirk, Durant, and Stoudemire.  I don’t even see this changing much when KG gets back.

The bottom line is, I don’t see things changing much when KG gets back overall unless he proves he can play at the same level he did in 2008.  Until then, C’s will still struggle in the same unconventional ways as they did last night against the Mavericks- and I’ll still get terrible 90s pop songs stuck in my head as punishment.

  • Rocci

    Hey, what did Stroke 9 ever do to you?! That song is catchy!

    On topic though, I don’t get why the offense just kind of stopped in the 2nd half. Run some stinkin’ plays or something. We stopped passing completely, and as much as I love him, I think that starts with Rondo. Frustrating.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Sometimes it looks like there is a lack of strategy or the guys are not executing the game plan. Kidd is burning it up from 3 BEFORE he came into this game. Why would you leave him? That was 9 points right there off of stupid defense. IF Doc said ‘don’t leave Kidd’ , & his order is being disobeyed then sit the guy who is not listening. It will help everyone to listen better in the future.

    I see the Cs playing tight on players who struggle to hit the outside shot. I see the Cs sagging off of guys who nail 3 pointers. Where is the order? Where is the game plan? Where is common sense? I hear Doc in interviews sound off with frustration over players not doing what they are supposed to be doing, going rogue. Does he sit these players? No. It’s all bark with no bite. I think if Doc would get out of preordained, magical rotations & sit guys who are not playing ‘Celtic’ basketball it would send a message—-and not just to the player who is having to sit. What is the use of whining about players not getting back etc. if there is NEVER any punishment or in-game justice. I like Doc, but he wants to be popular more than he wants to win. Doesn’t everyone here think that just about every player in the league deserves to be benched once in awhile??? Why is this taboo for Doc ?

    It seems like with defense, which we all love, there has to be the acknowledgment that there is no real ‘perfect’ defense so you are going to have to give something up. You can’t steal or block the ball every time so common sense says the other team is going to get a shot at the basket, right? The 2 things which you hate to give up the most are 3s or the lane. The lane is not only a place for easier shots, but it is also offensive rebound & get to the foul line paradise. The one shot which you would prefer the other team to take is a deep 2. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the Cs challenge a deep deuce & give the guy a wide open path to the lane. It’s just 101 stupid basketball. Many teams dare Rondo or Perk to take long jumpers. That is an intelligent ploy. That is smart to try & bait them into that kind of game. I think teams are now playing way off Sheed on the 3 pt line (hitting 30%). Maybe they might guard him if he hits about 3 of them, but he has to prove it (& 70% of the time he can’t=way to help the opposition’s defense). This totally destroys Doc’s Sheed stretching the floor philosophy. Teams are doing the opposite & sagging with good reason. It’s ironic that this strategy has so completely backfired. Sheed can do work in the post, but not if you are going to keep passing the ball to him outside the 3 pt line (too much temptation). The other Cs see themselves as good teammates, ‘loyal’, by passing the ball to Sheed at the 3 pt line– ‘believing’ in him. Hopefully, this loser mentality will be shattered before the Cs make an early exit from the playoffs.

    Other teams give the Cs certain shots. I see the Cs trying to take away everything with uber aggressive D, & it ends up giving the other team better shots than long range 2s. If Dampier is going to hit long range 2s then so be it, but don’t let him have layups & 3 foot shots. It would be great to see the Cs stay in front of their man, deny the 3 & lane, & give up deep 2s & then block out. That is common sense defense. It would also be great to see Doc sit anyone who breaks his ‘rules’.


    I dont have anything to say about this article . . . I just read you guys elected a fu&*ing republican. . . you guys are bigger douchebags than I thought

  • Mitch

    laker fans rioting and burning down buldings isnt the act of a douche bag??? shut the hell up retard…west coast blows

  • Mitch

    not to mention, your govenor is a movie star…how much of a joke is california…..you keep your gangs, rapists, and prison facilities…and we will keep out pubs, librarys, and ivy-league schools…loser L.A trash

  • Conall Mac Michael

    Didn’t see the game but the highlights of the second half said it all, as well as the frustration jumping off the page in each blog I’ve read about the game. Rondo being outplayed by JKidd is inexplicable, and at this stage unforgivable, but it doesn’t take an X’s and O’s master to know that Dirk will murder shorter opponents who can’t challenge his shot. Wish I’d seen the game for more insight but it sounds like the team is just gassed right now. On another note if we were half the commenters (I love making up words) the Cptn Bubbles is the world would be a better place. Take a bow sir. Maybe comment leavers is more appropriate????


    Lol Mitch, you obviously didn’t attend any of those ivy league schools . . . . . it’s librarIEs.

  • tm

    I was at the game Monday. Let me just say the D was terrible. Once Sheed got into foul trouble, we were doomed as Scal/Big Baby could not guard Dirk. Scal actually played him well except Dirk was so clever that he kept putting the spin move on him when he tried to body him up (which he did well on). Big Baby was just useless, all his shots were getting blocked and Dirk were just shooting over him.

    My friend and I had a drinking game where we would drink for every TA dumb play (which there was). Big Baby would have at leas one shot blocked (which there was). Please try it next time you are at the game.

    Take your political BS elsewhere, this is sports talk.

    Now who wants to buy some cheap Clippers tickets, I cant go to the game Monday

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  • Mitch

    laker fan, i am content with my spelling error….i am also content knowing that you support a rapist in KOBE…..so maybe i am not the greatest speller…and maybe you have no life since you post comments on a celtics blog without being a celtics fan. Why don’t you start putting out those constant california wildfires and stop worrying about what goes on in massachusetts…go to hell scum bag

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  • hamedgol

    we are alomost half way to trough the season and shows that our team is too old to compete with the others, specially if they are young team no matter if they are good teams or very bad team and young, from the begining Doc start saying that he is going to play his vetrans less minutes but that hasn’t happend yet, unfourtunatly he is not a young player coach, I don’t think he can coach a young team, that’s why he relly on his vetrens to pull the wins and pull the team out of the sitution that they are in. Yes the Dricks off the world will punish the teams that don’t have player tall enough to defend him, but still team should be able to defend as a group, if one person can not do it by themself, it should be another one to go help out. All these dicesions should be coming from the coach and the players should be redircted by him. I liked Cpt Bubbles comments, if someone don’t listen to you (coach) sit him down, no matter who he is. You are there to win a game not a popularity contest. I don’t think Doc has any more thing or can say any more to push these guys to guid them to another level. Having the knowladge and ability to make changes when its needed and put different order in place the way that you dont hurt the team are the real differnce between good coaches like Adelman and Jackson and Riley and Popovich and some others that are still coaching and coaches like Doc and Mike Brown and Stan Van Gundy…
    I believe that the players don’t buy Doc’s stategy anymore and kind of got cold and don’t have the fire that they had when they started the season, if you look at the first ten games of the season and the last ten games that they played you will see that the fire is not there any more. I am hoping that Danny can think off something before the quick exit from playoff.

  • tm

    An extra 7 footer who can move work fix a lot of problems (Big Baby is like 6’6 with 12″ vertical leap)..

  • Wally M.

    Abysmal grammar – take some English lessons, jock-headed ignoramus!

  • Rav

    Isn’t Durant a a small forward?

    Anyway, the real problem is the PGs we’ll likely be playing in the playoffs are Mike Bibby, Mo Williams, Jameer Nelson and Derek Fisher. Not CP3 and D-Will and Steve Nash and Derrick Rose.

    Can Rondo pick it up when June time comes around?