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Celtics Get Stung…

 

A tragic comedy in four acts.

ESPN Recap (Hornets 93, Celtics 85)

Overture

This game was so frustrating I really felt like turning it off- and I never feel that way.  I’ve watched the Celtics my entire life and loved every second of it, but watching tonight’s game was brutal and afterward, left me feeling sick to my stomach.

The Celtics had such amazing success in the first half that I thought for sure this would be the high note they could stick in their pockets for the Allstar break.  No such luck.  The Celtics came out after halftime with big smiles on their faces feeling like they had already won- and proceeded to have the 12 point lead they built wiped away.

The worst of it is, Doc lied to us- again.  He’s said almost every game that he wanted to limit the starters minutes and get them more rest and has failed to do so until tonight.  But he also said that if a player makes a mistake, he was getting subbed immediately.  Quite the high school tactic to be sure, but he still failed to do it once in the third quarter.  A quarter rife with mistakes and thus, opportunities to yank someone out in favor of bench player- a player that came to play tonight.

The Celtics lost tonight.  It wasn’t David West exploding for 30 points, and it wasn’t Darren Collison running all over Eddie House.  The Celtics beat themselves tonight, plain and simple.

Act I

The game started out a little uneasy.  The Celtics played pretty well but the end game was really just trading baskets and New Orleans made a living going back door.  The best defensive team in the league should not get beat back door as much as the Celtics did in the first quarter.  This type of smart play by the Hornets hurt the Celtics enough to put them in a two point hole by the quarter’s end.  A two point hole, despite Pierce attacking Peja Stojakovich off the dribble and either drawing fouls from the help defense or getting great looks within five feet of the goal.  The bench also came in and provided a much needed lift on the offensive end.  This had all the ingredients of the Celtics gearing up to go on a run- and they did.

Act II

Doc put five bench players out on the court to start the second quarter and it paid dividends.  Glen Davis played as if his football team had just won the Superbowl, mixing an array of turnaround jumpers with quick feet that slid in step with David West’s strong moves to the bucket.  Rasheed Wallace also continuously abused Darius Songaila in the paint with turnaround jumpers, bank shots, and spin moves.  Songaila had no answer for Rasheed Wallace on the defensive end.  On the offensive end, Songaila was routinely left alone to jack wide open 18 footers, which he made with regularity.  Songaila was so open so often, it was really a surprise that they Celtics were able to build such an impressive lead by halftime (12 points).

Marquis Daniels also came out and made every Celtics’ fan fall back in love with him.  This dude just plays the right way.  He will dribble through you with aplomb and he will always be in the right position on the defensive end whether it’s within the team defense or heady one-on-one play.

The second quarter had all the makings of a Celtics blow out, a la the first 10 games of the season.  All it needed were the starters to start the second half on a tear and really step on the throats of the Hornets…

Act III

No such luck.  Dammit.  The Celtics, per usual, came out flat and resorted to ineffective one-on-one match ups with Garnett and Pierce, and made everyone remember how poorly this Celtics team takes care of the ball.  I’m going to watch this game again and count how many unforced turnovers the Celtics had in this game, nay, in the third quarter.  Just appalling.  The worst of it is that Doc did nothing but provide a few head shakes and exasperated arm raises.  I understand that this is a Celtics team with a lot of veterans on it who really know what they need to be doing.  That said, if this team could coach themselves, it would.  But it can’t.  There are no more player/coaches in this league.  The Celtics needed Doc to be strong tonight and stick to his guns about yankin’ mistake makers- but he balked.  Doc kept his starters in until they had completely squandered away a 12 point lead and left the bench to fend for themselves with a five point deficit.

Pierce could not do anything productive in this quarter.  His shot wasn’t falling and his quick first step was gone.  And I mean gone.  He could not get by Stojakovich, which to me is a red flag.  Doc should have pulled Pierce and given Marquis Daniels a serious run in this game.  Daniels was playing so well tonight that he even if the Celtics didn’t have an outside shooter on the floor, they still would have made up for it with good looks.  Besides, the Celtics finished the game 1 for 7 from deep- they weren’t getting any production from deep anyway.

Act IV

The bench came in and played so well I sincerely thought the Celtics would come back in this game.  Not a chance.  The starters were so inept on the offensive end that their frustrations started to spill over the the defensive end.  Kendrick Perkins resorted to hamming up the complaining whenever a Celtics fouled (not even when he himself was called for a foul, but when anyone else was whistled too).  Rondo’s reaching came back to bite him in the backside and Collison found his way to the tin way too many times.  Pierce decided that he needed the ball in his hands to make this team come back and he couldn’t get anything going.  Tony Allen was the only Celtic starter to finish with an over 50% field goal percentage.  Deplorable.

Epilogue

I’m not saying what’s on every one’s mind for a reason.  The bench also played so well tonight, I can actually think back with some fondness over this game.  The problem is, this team should already have these sorts of things “figured out” but they don’t.  The good news is, there’s a lot of season left and the role of the bench isn’t going to change- although the personnel might.

*On a lighter note, feel free to decide whether or not New Orleans assistant coach Tim Floyd and actor Josh Brolin are the same person:


  • KY Celts fan

    There are… no words.

    Well, actually, there are, but I’m not sure if I can say any of them here.

  • Rob

    I for sure thought daniels would start over allen but thats besides the point, this game proved once again the mediocrity of our team in recent weeks. All i can say is, Rock on celtics….rock on

  • Rocci

    I really don’t know how that third quarter completely catches me by surprise every time. I’m still completely dumbfounded to why that keeps happening.

  • I love Green

    I’ve already vented my many many many many many many many many many frustrations with this team on the celtics hornets conversation board. And I punched a hole in 2 of my doors

  • hank

    Rivers needs to be fired or put on the hot seat.Hes doing a terrible job.This isn’t a team being beat by much better clubs. They are losing cuz they are sloppy and disorganized which is the coaches fault.

  • MikeD

    I am usually a pretty big Doc supporter, but bringing back the starting 5 to close out the game after how they performed all night was simply inexcusable. The bench once again was making a nice run in the 4th fueled by Marquis. Doc should have sat Pierce the entire 4th quarter, he just didn’t have it tonight and needs to rest that foot. The only positive to come from this game is that the bench proved it is one of the best in the league with all of its pieces in place. If the starters can get their act together, the C’s are still a force to be reckoned with.

  • yordgreat

    it’s OVER……rooting for the nuggets now.

  • David

    The way the Celtics are playing, Toronto porbably will win the division over them. This idea didn’t seem posible at the beginning of the season, but now kg,Pp,etc look like a group of senior citizens playing ball. At least now Danny A knows that this team can’t win a championship this year or in the future. Unless they make some big changes next season.

    I read on another blog, were they were comparing the Celtics and Spurs. I think that is a great comparison. They also in the blog, mention how both teams are suffering from what the old Houston Rockets suffered from, when they brung in Scot Pippen to play with Barkley. That Houston team was just to old to when a championship, just like these teams.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Has anyone seen the Celtics 3 point line defense? Can’t remember where I saw it last…..it is easy to recognize because it is shiny & looks brand new, like it has never been used before. If so, please forward it to Sacramento. They’ve been looking for it for quite awhile. Sorry, there is no reward because it’s just not that important to them.

    It was extremely interesting to hear 2 guys from Louisiana announce the game on nba tv. It was funny to hear how shocked the Orleans announcers were at all the turnovers. They were clamoring & carrying on like they had just seen a martian. Seriously, I thought one of the announcers was going to need an ambulance from turnover shock. Suddenly, I realized how desensitized I had become to all these turnovers. Sadly, my expectations have dropped so pathetically low that it seems natural now to constantly throw horrendous passes. I rationalized how we could throw the ball to fans, maybe that red haired, big breasted woman does look like KG from that bad passing angle. But now they’ve stumped me. Apparently, we are now passing to phantoms or ghosts or the invisible man or wonder woman’s plane. There is no consequences for the turnovers so just keep slinging it around boys.

    One announcer basically asked, ‘why are they looking to make the sensational play all the time?’

    Doc lied to us. It sucks. I wanna like Doc, but where is the leadership here? Is there anything which will make Doc take Paul out of a game when he is playing like crap short of the bubonic plague??? Our only hope is if the poorly playing starter gets in foul trouble. I decided not to listen to Doc’s post game comments. What’s the point? The man complains & threatens & says vague things, but nothing changes. The rotations are fully decided before the game even begins, and there will be NO changes. It is sickening. Quis was playing great. He should have played 40 minutes. TA did some dumb things, but he was definitely the lesser of several evils going 6-9 with 3 steals. I’m sorry but you guys were right in the Orlando game about this, E House is a very bad defender. But WORSE IS THAT DOC SAT THERE & WATCHED EDDIE GET BEAT OVER & OVER & OVER AGAIN & DID……NOTHING!!! Is Doc blind??? Even pee wee league coaches could do better than this.

    Imagine this, and it is not a joke……. the best C lineup tonight would have been Quis TA Sheed (if he continued to play in the post) Glen & Shelden. What is that saying?

    The Orleans announcers AND the nba tv half time/post game crew BOTH constantly talked & were shocked at how poorly KG was moving. I’ve just been trying to ignore it, but does anyone else have a sinking feeling in their gut that there is something worse going on here? Has KG’s knee been examined lately?

    There is a disconnect between Doc & this team. He was yelling at them to foul & NOBODY WAS LISTENING. How embarrassing does it have to get??? All these seconds were ticking off till finally Rondo fouled. This team looks dysfunctional. We have a coach who will not coach or hold anyone accountable & now Doc reminds me of Rumsfeld—ignore reality & just keep staying the course. KG looks hurt to the point where it’s hurting the team. Paul also looks hurt or has lost a step. Ray’s #s show decline, & he has been healthy. This is just not looking good people…….

  • steve

    Turnovers and missed free throws to the extreme.
    Daniels comes in and plays great and Pierce struggles immensely. Maybe leave Daniels in the game, just a thought.
    Rondo appeared to really put out some great effort on defense in that first half. He seemed committed to not let his man get past him. Of course then there was the second half.
    Again, limit turnovers to season average and make free throws and the C’s win this game. I could not believe that trip after trip down the court they just threw the ball away on horrible turnovers, not on great defensive plays.

  • GranTur

    SWEET MARQUIS DANIELS IS OUR BEST PLAYER!!!!!!!!!

  • hallik

    I am completely frustrated…I feel like The Celts on 2k10 play better than this…geez…Paul should have sat out…I would feel better about the loss then…Sheed is a scrub, im done with him..even if he played well tonight.

  • Jay P

    I’ve been saying it for awhile now, and it’s never been more apparent. But we need to start point that finger, and right now, it points at Doc.

    Daniels was the only reason we were still in that game mid 4th quarter (actually Wallace *Gulp* played extremely well too… shocking) why in gods name Tony Allen was in to finish that game, I cannot fathom. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, I don’t understand it, was he even watching the game? Did he see the fact that noone on the floor could guard Daniels and he was consistently getting easy post up jumpers, and layups?

    The bottom line is we’re now realizing Doc is not a good coach, many have said it for years, but he’s ridden the coat tails of his talented players to an NBA championship, and now it’s all falling apart.

    He’s a players coach, guys like him, they like playing for him, and when everythings going right, he’s a great guy to have there, he definitely knows how to cater to talent and keep people happy. What he doesn’t have any freaking clue about is how to fix fundamentals, coach consistency, and pick his team up when their down, and his substitutions baffle the sane mind…

    I walked away from the game at the Pierce turnover with about a minute to go. It’s the first time in 3 years I’ve not sat through and watched the last second of a game tick down… I feel sick to my stomach right now.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    The turnovers. Please stop the turnovers.

  • http://celticshub.com Brendan Jackson

    I think that’s where ‘Quizy comes in. He’s incredibly careful with the ball and consistent. He averages 1.4 TO’s per game for his career, which is better than both Paul (3.0) and Ray (2.3). Obviously they have the ball in their hands more often and have through out their career, but Marquis is still very careful and consistent. Much more so than a hurt Pierce and a healthy TA.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Brendan: I agree. But as I found in that post I wrote a few days ago, the C’s only commit one fewer TO per game when Quisy plays than when he sits (at least so far this season). The problem is so deep that one guy can’t make a huge dent, unfortunately.

  • http://celticshub.com Brendan Jackson

    @Zach: In the context of last night’s game, Marquis should have played for Pierce, as he was unbelieveably ineffective. Pierce’s quick first step was so hammpered by his hurt foot, he couldn’t get by Peja Stojakovich. I like stats, but applying them without context is useless. Marquis may only stem the rising turnover tide by one, but he could have provided an offensive boost last night.

  • Jim MacIndoe

    One thing I never hear mentioned is Leon Powe. I think back to the beast he was on the boards. We have no one like that now. Marquis Daniels looked great tonight. Turnovers and missed free thows seem to doom this team night after night. I now find myself expecting the Celtics to lose every game . The starters are looking bad. We have Perk and Rondo who are such poor free throw shooters I cringe everytime they get to the line. I think the team needs to be blown up after this season. Hope has quickly faded. The problems are so deep there is no easy fix. I also believe Doc is now part of the problem. He leaves guys in way too long. He has run Ray Allen into the ground. His legs must be shot with all the minutes he logs.

  • Jay P

    @ Brendan, I agree. Which is exactly my point on Doc. Daniels should have been in the game last night, he was the only good thing we had going. It was obvious Pierce was a step slower then usual. Peja is one of the worst small forward defenders in the league, if he’s giving Paul trouble, something is seriously wrong. So why is he in the game? It baffles me how Quisy played for incredible, Paul is obviously hurt and is hurting the team, and yet Quisy sits the bench. You can’t expect Pierce to take himself out of that game, he’s a competitor, and will refuse to admit injury, it’s up to Doc to do what’s best for the team, and he failed miserably.

  • matthew

    Please fire doc rivers!!! PLEASE! My god!! I can’t believe he’s still relaxed and all smiles when his team is going through hell right now!

    They should allow the trading of coaches in this league. Then trade doc for someone like Jerry Sloan… or Kiki Vandeweigh.

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