Post-game Reactions

After weeks and weeks of us here at Celtics Hub dissecting every inch of Ray’s poor play this season, he explodes with 20 points on 8-12 shooting.  Last night, his shots looked fluid and back-breaking.  I felt this game was in the bag because Ray’s normal fair back-rims and rattles-home were replaced with smooth whip cracks.  So this begs the question?  Is Ray Allen back?  Are his shooting woes over?  In short, no.

Ray has been saying for weeks that his shot has felt good coming out of us hands, but lately it hadn’t found the bottom of the net.  Perhaps rudimentary mechanics do not apply to Ray Allen.  Perhaps the common excuses of ,”it slipped out of my hand,” or “I pushed it,” or “I didn’t get enough lift on it” just do not apply to a guy on his way to break the NBA three point record.  The man has been near machine-like for years and the impending record breaking attests.

The only problem is, even machines’ get old.  Machines wear down and cease to function as they once did.  This may be why Ray Allen can’t (or won’t) admit what is really going on with his shot lately (save for last night).  He might not be able to tell you.  A car’s check engine light doesn’t tell you what’s wrong with it, it tells you to go see someone and find out.  I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to find out.

A broken clock is right twice a day- which means Ray Allen will have games like the one he had last night again- but until I see him perform the way he did last night on a consistent basis, I will not say he is back.  I can not say he’s back because he is not.  20 points on 8-12 is a great performance and exactly what the C’s needed from Ray last night.  The problem lies in the fact that 20 points on 8-12 shooting should be the normal production the Celtics see from Ray Allen.  Those numbers should be expected.

Probably more troubling than Ray Allen’s recent sub par play is that Ray nearly disappeared in the second half of the good game he was having.  Last night, all four of Ray’s misses were from the second half and he only got one shot off in the fourth quarter- a desperation heave with 23 seconds left.  I realize that the Celtics tried to play out the clock, get high percentage looks, and Ray Allen bombing threes was not in the game plan.  My question to you is, should the game plan have changed at all?

The C’s have given away their fair share of leads this year which makes me feel as they do not know how to play with one.  Instead of running sets, getting good shots, and fighting for boards, they hand off to the running back and hope he can pick up a few first downs.  The Celtics throw it in the paint and let Perkins back his man down for a fade away jumper in the lane.  Usually that shot is a pretty high percentage one, but Perk was getting double-teamed and forced to take these out of rhythm and hope for the best.  The C’s stopped fighting for loose balls or rebounds in part because of foul trouble, but in part because they felt that, with a lead, it’s important to hustle back on defense and get into position.  This doesn’t do squat if Rashard Lewis can drive past you for uncontested lay up.

You know the play I’m talking about- the one I’ve been avoiding for two posts now.  The Celtics play 20 seconds of smothering defense, not giving up an inch and it’s all thrown away with an uncharacteristic “Olé” from Garnett.    Garnett has this to say about the game:

“No, tonight was definitely not my night. The one thing about me is that I will continue to work and continue to try to get better. Hell, some nights you look good; some nights you look like (expletive). And this was one of those nights I looked like pure (expletive).

“I just played like (expletive). It’s on me.” (Per the Boston Herald)

Doc echoed this sentiment with his own analysis of KG’s play:

“He was late on a lot of stuff, late on our offensive plays. Sometimes you wake up and you just don’t have it. It might have been one of those nights.”

[WARNING: What I am about to type with sound asinine, insane, and hilarious- but scarily warrants:]

If KG is playing poorly (injured?) and you know it, than wouldn’t it be better to put Brian Scalabrine in to guard Rashard Lewis?

Before Scal haters jump down my throat, I need to point out a few things:

1)  Did you see the smothering defense Scal put on Lewis in the first half? It was only for one play, but Scal moved his feet with Lewis and made him give up the ball after getting nowhere with a few dribbles and not being able to rise up over him.  We needed Scal to do that on one more play, but he wasn’t given the opportunity.

2) Scalabrine could do no worse than what KG did. Garnett essentially let Lewis go straight to the bucket, which is uncharacteristic for so many reasons.  KG believes in nothing easy, so I’m surprised there wasn’t a hack or even a grab on that play.  The usually vocal Garnett also didn’t even muster a peep as he watched Lewis scoot around him for an easy layup.  Shouldn’t Scalabrine have been given the chance to be embarrassed?

I don’t know if I just get weepy when I see the usually strong Garnett get blown by on a drive to the basket- or if I just can’t stand watching him hobble through a whole quarter of basketball and claim it had nothing to do with his knee.  Whatever it is, Garnett and Allen are making me feel pretty low.  I remember watching Larry Bird retire and not understanding why he would ever stop playing (okay I was six, leave me alone).  The Celtics were a “young team” for so long that I haven’t gotten used to the thought of any of my beloved players hanging it up.  Most of my favorite Celtics over the last ten years have been role players that more of less stopped getting phone calls- Walter McCarty, Eric Williams- so their exodus was much easier to take/ gloss over.

Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are not done yet, but their days as elite players are numbered.  Call it naivete, call it denial- call it blatant homerism if you want, but I didn’t think this day would come this year. Unfortunately, I can see Garnett and Allen declining sharply this season and into next season.

Someone, anyone, leave me some words of encouragement.

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  • steve

    I agree on having Scal in for defense in that situation. I’ve noticed that Doc sticks with players sometimes even when they aren’t producing that night or are in a terrible match up situation. What ever happened to leaving a bench guy in who has the hot hand or who is shutting down the other team’s best player. Sticking to your substitution rotations isn’t always the best thing. By leaving the bench guy in you also give that starter more rest which adds up through the season.
    What does everyone think of Ray or KG becoming a sixth man, at least temporarily? We’ve seen it before with top players at this stage of their career. Just a thought.

  • DRJ1

    – Ray’s had a slump in every year he’s been with Boston. And every year, he pulls out of it. This year looks NO different from all the others. He seems to be pulling out of it now. Let’s see what happens next. End of story. No special reason to worry.
    – KG’s health is always something worth worrying about, of course. But his D on Lewis on that last play was not horrible. He looked good, mobile. It’s just that KG fell for a small fake and was caught leaning right when Lewis tore away to the left (and to the basket). It happens. It happens to the best and healthiest defenders too. By itself, that was meaningless. (His missed alley-oops were more worrisome.)
    – I didn’t see KG “hobbling”. He had a bad game tho, that’s for sure.
    – We’ll see tonight if KG is in trouble or not.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Doc has got a habit. Yes, our Doctor has a bad habit. The only thing that feeds his habit is more cowbell…. no, it’s gotta be mo starters & mo starters & mo starters. Remember when Doc confessed that he made a mistake with Paul at the Pacers. Paul, the coached player, was hobbled & Pacers were blowing by him like it was Indy, & he was in a jalopy. Paul wanted to play. Doc played him. Paul was killing the team. Doc kept him in. After the game, Doc said ‘I should have taken Paul out.’ Is it that Doc has NO CONFIDENCE in his bench to come through for ONE game? If so, Danny HAS to get someone Doc can put into the game for his starters. Or, could it be that Doc has a problem himself?

    Last night, KG is clearly stiff & hobbled. We keep him out EXTRA games to protect him & make sure he has made a full recovery. Yet, when we seem him hurting out there Doc refuses to sub. I agree that Scal was really moving his feet & playing much harder on Shard than any game previous. Scal’s D looked like the D he put on Josh that one night. Take the walking wounded out of the game & rely on the bench. If KG is hurting, how is continuing to play him going to help his injury? If anything, he could hurt himself a whole lot worse because KG’s mind is telling him to ignore the pain & play full speed. Doc has to know that KG is vulnerable to hurting himself much worse. Yet Doc has a habit. Keep that hobbled starter out on the floor, even if they are vulnerable & could further injure themselves. No confidence in the bench. If you don’t like or trust your bench then get on the phones.

    But wait, it gets worse. Paul goes 3-12. Every nba player has off nights. They keep shooting because every nba player is taught to think the next shot is going in. The COACHES JOB is to monitor shots (shots = 1 & done for the Cs because they have to get back before the ball clangs off the rim so there will be no offensive rebounding). Doc is supposed to monitor shots & performance & yank people who are bringing the TEAM down, no matter what their jersey says. He does this to some extent with the bench. Not so, with the starters. There is NO accountability for the starters. Pops, the great coach for the Spurs would have yanked any starter who was hurting his TEAM.

    You won’t see a bench guy going 3-12 because they will be yanked after missing several if they continue to jack it up. Paul also had 4 turnovers. Bench players would be reeled in much faster. If Doc would use common sense & sit ANYONE after missing 6 shots then that’s 7+ possessions back to hit a couple of shots & win the game. Doc won’t even tell a starter to get the ball to the better shooter that night. Doc talks about getting the starters more rest incessently. He could give the starters more rest when they are having horrendous nights.

    All of this is unfair to the other players on the TEAM who are shooting well & playing hard but not getting the ball. This is unfair to the fans who have to watch an injured starter hobbling behind the player they are supposed to be guarding. This is unfair to the fans to have to watch ONE player shoot & turnover the Cs out of 13 possessions when each possession is like gold. We can’t get any second shots (extra possessions) because we would rather concede the offensive rebound & run back on defense. This is unfair because it keeps happening again & again & again & again. A starter is having a bad night. Answer, leave him out there until we need a stretcher. There is ZERO confidence in the bench to step up & take the hobbled or off night starters spot for ONE game. Paul was killing us last night, & Doc kept feeding him bullets. Doc has got to change this bad habit of holding the bench accountable but not the starters. Doc has got to get a bench if he hates or does not trust the one he has.

  • foudufafa

    It is really becoming a pattern for the Cs to play well for 2 quarters and poorly the other 2 and here is how it went:

    First 2 quarters, Rondo runs the ball, moves from left to right on offense and you can see all players in movement off the ball.

    Last 2 quarters, Rondo walks the ball, waits 10 seconds at the top of the key, waits for Ray or Pierce to come free, and then run iso plays.

    Problem is:
    (1) Pierce has no lift. Probably his knee.
    (2) Pierce is now more looking for a foul rather than a basket. How may times can we watch Pierce waiting for his defender to jump, then Pierce bounce into him, throws his hands up like he was dismembered looking for the call. Well, guess what, Pierce. All your defender are aware of this trick and it doesn’t work anymore. So rather than try iso plays, just rotate the ball.
    (3) Kevin is injured, no questions about it. He has no lift, limps when he runs the court.
    (4) Rasheed is just lazy and looks for the easier play he can get. Throwing 3s.
    (5) Rondo seems to slow down in 3rd and 4th quarters. I am not sure why. Maybe his leadership is not respected enough to tell Pierce to stop his iso plays, or to overly rely on Pierce and Ray to finish games. But it is very frustrating to watch Rondo not using his skills to wreak havoc the other team defense like he does during the first half. To me, Rondo is the heart and soul of this team. He is the engine and is able to set the rhythm for his team. If he slows down, the whole offense becomes stagnant, and it is painful to watch. If he runs, the whole offense moves and it is a pleasure to watch.

    Conclusion: I think this team is too banged up to get deep into the season. I think it is time to hand the reigns of this team from Pierce to Rondo. It is time to let the old guys play only 30-35 minutes and whatever happens, happens.

  • tm

    I noticed Rondo basically disappeared in the second half other than the runner near the end. I couldn’t recall a play where he made things happened, maybe the steal before.

    Scal played better against Lewis than Big Baby simply because he is not 6’6!!! At least Scal is fat and tall enough to somewhat bothered him, god I am sick of Big Baby with his BS

  • tebucky

    This game is not the end of the world, and proves I am not afraid of the magic. If you wanna talk subs that should have been made, why is Sheed in the game over Perkins? There’s no way Perk is face guarding Howard and allowing that layup to happen, Sheed is the worst.

    The worst execution of the last minute came when the C’s had the ball with :40 left and could have executed a 2 for 1. Instead they got the worst case scenario, a garbage FG attempt which left the Magic with a chance for the last shot. Awful.

  • Brendan Jackson

    I agree with Tebucky, no point in Perk preserving that sixth foul if the game’s over. They clearly weren’t playing for overtime with the two last second plays being three point looks.

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  • Boston Harbor

    I think it is safe to say that this Celtics team will not win the NBA Championship.

    The big 3 is really the big 1, with only Paul Pierce showing some resilence.

    With that understanding in mind, it makes all the sense in the world to trade up for monta Ellis, the heck with team chemistry, because even with team chemistry, the Celts are not going to win it all this year, so might as well get younger, and also it would give us a chance to get rid of
    brian Scalabrine, in the process.

  • tm

    That’s right they can put up 16 points easily against the Magic in the first half. Most of the games they lost they held a lead at one point of another. If they get their act together, they will be fine. Stop being a bandwagon fan

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  • Eddie

    I have nothing good to say about this game. I just hope we get a guy like Salmons before the trade deadline. We need more off the bench. At this point in the season KG and Ray should be playing in the low 30s high 20s for minutes. Pierce should be playing mid 30s. Im just praying Daniels comes back strong, KG takes a week off and gets as healthy as possible, and that in the playoffs Rondo can play as well as last year.

    By the way I cried myself to sleep last night.

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