Post-game Reactions

ESPN Box ScoreBlog a BullBy The Horns

This contest was the ultimate battle of statement games.  The Celtics needed to come out with some urgency to back up their season-long claim of possessing the ability to “turn it on” for the playoffs while the Bulls needed to prove to everyone that they actually belong in the playoffs.  I am never happy with any Celtics loss, but there are some definite silver linings to this storm cloud:

  • A Bulls win means they are one step closer to getting the 8th Seed in the playoffs and a first round match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Celtics fans love to look ahead and if you are looking ahead to the second round, wouldn’t you rather have a Cleveland team that had to defeat a pesky Bulls team with a guy like Derrick Rose than sweeping a Raptors team all but ready to lay down?  I know I would.  That’s assuming the Celtics get out of the first round, of course.

  • Rasheed Wallace actually does look like he’s turning it on in time.  He was active on the glass tonight and took make-able shots.  He was 1-6, but his patented turnarounds weren’t falling and the one shot he did make was an off-balance leaner that only a player with ‘Sheed’s veteran savvy and length could make.  As for his now infamous “put-back” basket?  It happens- especially if you are seven feet tall.  The good thing is that the aggression was there, the lateral quickness was there on his help defense, and a big block on Deng was there.  Shots will fall, but I can live the effort even if they don’t.
  • Paul Pierce was in rare vintage form tonight and appeared to be in the playoff mind set, even if his counterparts did not follow suit.  He made tough shot after tough shot and attacked the basket relentlessly in the third quarter.  It was baffling that his first free throws came late in the fourth quarter, while Rose justifiably got the to line time after time.  The best part about Pierce’s aggressiveness was the lack of the pouting, scowling, and unhappy “heys!” when he failed to get a call.  He just continued to go to work on both the offense and defense end- a mindset a player has to possess for the playoffs.
  • In fact, the “Big Three” all had solid games, save for Ray Allen’s defense on Kirk Hinrich.  Still, Allen more than made up for it on the offensive end by being efficiently aggressive.
  • Doc Rivers effectively limited Kevin Garnett’s minutes.
  • The Celtics only committed nine turnovers with one being Marquis Daniels channeling his inner 2008 Tony Allen and just brain-farting a rebound out of bounds.  Another turnover included the “Perkins Shuffle” downlow.  It’s always pretty lame to play the “what if” game, but you have to admit that these turnovers are easily avoidable (Okay, so the Perkins’ one is going to continue to happen and is pretty much UNavoidable- but Daniels isn’t even going to be on the court for the playoffs.  Sooo….consolation prize? No? Okay, moving on).

Okay so those silver linings have to be around something dark and stormy right?

  • Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo could not defend any living thing tonight.  That actually might be a bit unfair.  Rondo could not do anything with Derrick Rose and as a result, Ray Allen could not catch up on his close outs; which allowed Kirk Hinrich continuously made the Celtics pay from deep.  As much as I don’t want to, I like Kirk Hinrich.  His shot is smooth, he’s got handles, and he wears Converse Weapon lows- seriously, what’s not to like?
  • Derrick Rose dominated this game.  The bad news is that Dwyane Wade is Derrick Rose only better.  He is more polished, more seasoned, and probably more athletic.  The only good news is that they don’t play the same position- so Wade won’t be feasting on size mismatches all game/ series.
  • Michael Finley is going to be a defensive liability in the playoffs.  Finley is just as much to blame as Nate Robinson for Hinrich’s (first) dagger.  He was late getting out to Derrick Rose (you know, the guy who was killing the Celtics all game) and Nate had to wait too long to switch on Hinrich.  Finley had another “break ya hip” moment when matched up with Rose in the first half.  Instead of really getting broken down defensively, Finley elected to give Rose enough time and space for a set shot- which he made.
  • While Pierce, Allen, Wallace, and Garnett might have put their mind in playoff mode, Glen Davis is still wasting his time lobbying the officials.  I understand it is demoralizing to get a shot blocked every time you attempt a putback but Davis has to recognize his strengths and limitations.  Being a big person, officials assume you can absorb more contact and any contact from you is devastating.  It’s annoying, but it’s the life of a big basketball player.

I know everyone feels as if the Celtics loss tonight is directly indicative of how they will fare in the playoffs and the best I can ask of everyone is for their patience.  Seriously, let us just wait and see what happens.  Regardless of the outcome of tonight and tomorrow night’s games, the Celtics are in the playoffs- not barely, solidly in. Which means that whatever you think of their chances, they are still in contention.

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  • What silver linings are you referring to? The C’s went stone cold offensively throughout much of the 4th quarter—-Again —- Their defensive rotations were pathetically slow–Again–And their rebounding was sub-par–Again– Is this what it has come down to now,columns that are written in order to rationalize each and every poor outing this team has. When you are this late in the season and your grasping at straws like this–It’s over.Do me a favor and the rest of those that will read this slop. Please—Give it a rest,will ya!!!!

  • Jay Cutler

    Wow. I think you’re really reaching for silver linings here. (Anyone else feel the same way?)
    The C’s got into the playoffs largely because of their first half play. Had the season started post-all star break, well, we’d all shudder.

    And I think Sheed’s bobble just said it all about his contributions to this team.

  • RBD

    I don’t really think tonight makes a damn’s worth of difference in the scheme of things.

    Long before tonight, we knew what this team was.

    There is no switch.

    They’ll beat Miami and then go golfing.

  • Sav

    In no way is Wade more athletic than Derrick Rose.

    Okay, continue with the Celts talk…

  • DRJ1

    Didn’t see this game. (Stopped watching about 4 games ago, waiting for the playoffs.)

    But I don’t understand the OP’s 2nd sentence: “The Celtics needed to come out with some urgency to back up their season-long claim of possessing the ability to “turn it on” for the playoffs” – Huh? Was this a playoff game? How then could the Cs’ prove anything regarding the ability to turn it on “for the playoffs”? Where’s the extra “1” that makes this 1+1 equal 3?

  • Jason

    “The Celtics needed to come out with some urgency to back up their season-long claim of possessing the ability to ‘turn it on’ for the playoffs”

    This is basically the SOLE thing Celtic fans have been simply hoping is the case, the reason for the months of inconsistent play, the only reason to think this team is really more than what it has shown itself to be. That singular mythic ability. And if tonight was indeed the chance/time to show it (and I’m in the camp that believes it was), the ONLY conclusion can be EPIC FAIL.

    Then again, there are at least three things (others can probably add more) I could think of to refute that conclusion. First, two free points from Sheed. Thanks Sheed. Two, KG limited minutes.

    Three, at the end of the game, Chicago flat out made shots and give them credit, but let’s look at those possessions. First, Rose pounds the ball and eventually shoots a jumping-back, contested, long two. the vast majority of times, that’s an empty possession and a crunch-time shot I think the Celts are happy to force. It so happens, he made it. (Btw, let me state it feels like 100% of these shots have been falling for C’s opponents this year. It’s ridiculous, like 82 consecutive bad beats or something. Majorly frustrating year.) Then Kirk hits a 3. Then Kirk hits a long 2.

    Sure, the Celts couldn’t get 3 straight stops, but they were 3 long jumpers. You usually win when your team consistently forces long Js. So, evaluate what they forced and not so much the ultimate result and you get a “rosier” picture of the defense (at least at crunch time).

  • RBD

    @DRJ1 The theory (see PP’s pre-game tweet) was that the team really wanted this game. And therefore the failure more acute as a result.

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  • Jason

    It was a decent game with some promising and not so promising things. Promising things include Pierce looking again for the second consecutive game. He’s been dead on with his pull jumper from the elbows, which have been more miss and hit this season. When he’s confident with the step back, that’s when he’s raring to go. Another good thing was Garnett’s lift; he just had a little extra clearance to get off his shots in the post and he was generally pretty effective down there.

    As for the bad things, Rondo’s defense. Ugh, it’s been bad pretty much all season save for some games. He’s fails at the single most important thing on defense, that of keeping your man in front of you and when you do that against big points like Deron and Rose, your team is going to get killed on defense. Another bad thing was the play of the bigs besides Garnett. Can someone please drill it into the heads of Perkins and Davis that they have almost zero chance of finishing inside. Instead of beating their heads against the wall time and time again, can someone please tell them to pass it out instead of trying to slow asz jump up against bigs?

    I think the promising things outweigh the negatives…if the rotation gets shortened. If Pierce and Ray and Garnett can get it going and physically, they all looked pretty sharp, then I like the Celtics shot without say Big Baby being left out to commit three fouls, fail to block out and get stuffed at the rim in the span of 4 minutes. With less tolerance for the mistakes of Big Baby, Perkins and Wallace, and more minutes for Garnett, they should be better.

  • Jrmz

    Slow, old, couldn’t defend if their lives depended on it. Outrebounded and if you’re a struggling superstar only scoring 10 points in your last 20 games, all you have to do is play the Celtics and they’ll make you look like Michael F**king Jordan. Thats what the Celtics do good…they make guys look like hall of famers. Everyone from Durant to Hinrich has torched us..Sigh..

  • legs-diamond

    Has it occured to anyone that the turnover argument does not matter so much with the Celtics results? … Seems to me that the Celts win as many games (if not more?) with high turnover number, often losing the games where they “take care of the ball.” … The high turnovers, I think, correspond with the amazing amount of Celtics ball movement, and when they don’t turn the ball over, their offense seems more stagnant….Is there a study on this somewhere?

  • disappointed

    you all need to wake up. they have not been consistent this entire year. they’re 26-26 or so since christmas. this is not a title contender. cavs will own these guys in 5

  • Jay

    I live in Chicago and had great seats to this game. One thing defines this game from a pro-Celtics point of view: NO energy.

  • Perry


    It wasn’t a bad outing. Celts had some offensive droughts, but mentally they matched the Bulls intensity all night long. With Rose and Hinrich shooting lights out I would have thrown Quis at Hinrich instead of opting for Finley. Quis’ length might have disrupted his rhythm. On this night Rondo could not handle Rose — ergo the Celts didn’t have much of an answer without TA.


    Yeah, Pierce looks good. The Big 3 were solid tonight. If they play at a high level, with Rondo on his game, we’re a tough out.

  • Paolo

    now here’s something that i’ve been thinking about since this loss. this is not the playoff rotation that doc said he was going to use, and i can’t help but think that it might have affected this game. TA recorded “NWT – Sick” and seeing Marquis play again was probably the last thing we needed.

    but then, rondo and ray’s non-existent defense ultimately killed this game. this is certainly a game that TA might have been the x-factor yet again, and I absolutely can’t believe I’m saying this, but we need TA if we’re going to have a chance for the playoffs.

  • matthew

    i’ll kill my pet parrot if the celts beat the cavs… as much as i love ‘Twitchy’, i love the Cs more and will not hesitate to decapitate him if these Boston dinasours win. lol

  • joe

    .. and the celtics lose yet another game to a sub-.500 team. Title contender? I think not

  • Jay P


    That was pretty disturbing. I suggest you seek counseling.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    i am also optimistic. the results of these games don’t matter (agree its good the cavs play the bulls) but i feel like the guys are looking better (individually), fine-tuning their games and getting rest to turn it on. and yes, i fully believe vets can turn it on and come together when they want.

    will be interesting to see if doc is willing to put TA on wade for major minutes early at the expense of ray’s floortime (quis should not see the floor all playoffs). ray is key on offense, but slowing wade = saved points. i’m expecting the Cs to create very low scoring and ugly grind-outs all playoffs.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @matthew. PETA will be on you. i think the Cs have a legitimate chance against the cavs. hawks and magic are much worse matchups.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    also, i really, really like this bulls team. they have a lot of solid pieces that play both ends of the floor. they just have no go to guy (but they were smart to avoid paying gordon).

    if they land bosh or wade (or maybe even amare or booz), along with a top flight coach, they will instantly be a legit contender.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    re playoff seeding. leave it to STAT to break news on this one….mind on his money & money on his mind….

    But Stoudemire pointed out an additional benefit of finishing third over fourth. “Well, the playoff check would be a little bit more,” Stoudemire said.


  • I love Green

    We will judge the status of the Celts based upon their first 2 playoff games. If they win easily, I will feel better about their chances against the Cavs. We gotta either win in 4 games or 5 so we’re as fresh as possible for the semi finals.

  • I agree with you, I lOVE GREEN however I doubt at this point that a 4 or 5 game series is possible.