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Clean It Up, Boys

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about the C’s grit in the 3rd quarter, let me say this: They were lucky to win Game 2 after gifting the Lakers eight points on mental blunders. Eight points. That’s, like, 8 percent of the number of points a team typically scores in a game. That’s a lot.

Let’s review.*

*Again, I apologize for the lack of video today. My DVR stopped recording around the the 7:00 mark of the 2nd quarter. I have no clue why. I would like to blame Time-Warner, every New Yorker’s least favorite company, but my hunch is that in all my nervous moving and jumping on the couch, I landed on the “stop” button at some point and just didn’t notice. This also means I can’t re-watch these plays as much as I’d like, so I’m going on my notes, the highlights (in one case) and my memory. If any of you have the recordings, please add your thoughts in the comments or let me know if I’ve missed some key detail.

(4:13, 2nd): Rasheed Wallace rebounds a Kobe missed three. Boston is rolling, up 47-35 with LA’s offense unable to generate anything in the paint as long as Bynum is resting. Rajon Rondo is on the left side of the floor, and as soon as Sheed grabs the ball, you can hear him yell (in that voice that can only be Rondo’s) “Sheed! Sheed!” Seriously, I hear that voice in my sleep at this point. I think I’d recognize if I were walking down 86th Street and Rondo hailed a cab a block away.

But Sheed, for whatever reason, doesn’t pass the ball right way. Maybe he was gathering his balance, or maybe he wanted to turn his body fully toward Rondo before making the pass.

Either way, he waits a beat, and in that beat, Kobe Bryant steps in the passing lane, intercepts the ball and drives at Sheed, drawing the foul. Kobe makes both foul shots.

It felt like a big play at the time, and it was, but it wasn’t as big as…

(0:04, 2nd)—Oh, Shelden. You’re such a good guy, and I understand what you’re trying to do here. You’re trying to make something happen, to give your team a chance at a make-able shot before the halftime buzzer. But the odds of you connecting with Tony Allen on this outlet pass to half court, and of Tony Allen gathering the ball and getting a decent look, well, they’re pretty slim. And, oh no, here’s Kobe jumping the passing lane, and, crap, there’s no defender in position to challenge this three, and we all know how this scene ends.

Williams’ motives were good, even understandable. But you’ve got to play the percentages, and the percentages say hold onto the damn ball.

(8:00, 4th quarter): This is the one for which I wish I had the video, especially because I haven’t yet caught it on any of the highlight shows. I know this: The Lakers win a jump ball, and Ron Artest, with about 18 on the shot clock, launches an absolutely awful off-the-dribble three from a few feet behind the top of the arc. Look, I know Artest shot threes decently from the top of the arc (41 percent on 31 attempts this season, according to NBA.com hot spots), but this was as bad of a shot as you can take.

And as I recall it, the Celtics were in wonderful position for the rebound. They had two big guys slightly inside the foul line and Nate Robinson right under the hoop. And all three of those guys just stood there. I particularly remember Nate Robinson standing under the rim, in a spot in which he is basically useless, and yelling in my head for him to find someone to box out.

And then Sasha Vujacic came from above the foul line, knifed through all of Boston’s defense and grabbed the offensive rebound. And before I could curse everyone’s least favorite player, he dished a nice pass to Farmar in the left corner for a game-tying three. A great play from Vujacic, a nice finish by Farmar, but more than anything, a bad play from Boston.

That’s eight points the Celtics gifted the Lakers. And while every game features a couple of bad blunders that lead to opponent points, these were three especially bad plays, and the Lakers, to their credit, capitalized on all three.

But if the Celtics are going to win three more games, they need to minimize these things, starting tomorrow.

  • Tom

    Off the top of my head, how about the following

    Shelden Williams missing an easy dunk before the bonehead play at the end of second. (It’s time to sit him and dress Scal)

    Big Baby getting stuffed with 3 tall guys around him (reason why I hate him)

    TA shooting a corner 3 and misses badly

    On a side note, is there anyone that is more annoying than Sasha Borat look alike.

  • Coolin

    I would love to see Rondo get into the paint and pass the ball more. His out of control circus lay ups are not good.

    Shelden Williams should never see the court again. I could see his wife leaving him over how atrociously bad he is. Seriously it looked like he had never seen the leather ball before.

    Tony Allen and Glen Perkins get the basketball and never give it up. Once you pass them the ball it gets ugly. They should never shoot the ball unless it is a lay up or a dunk.

  • Jamie

    The Vujacic offensive rebound was really bothersome because the Celtics were all in a solid box out position, but none of them bothered to go for the ball. They just stood there and looked at it while he snuck in and took it.

  • stephen

    Gritty,tough performance by the C’s to even things up. With that said I feel this series is somewhat tainted already.From a basketball purists standpoint these officals have got to go!!! Touch fouls being called all over the place. Bigs for both teams in constant foul trouble etc. I don’t watch these games to see players like Kg,Lamar Odom, Perk, sitting on the damn bench. This reeks of David Stern and his front office cronies. Damn it–start blowing your whistles if and whwn things start getting out of control, but until then let these two teams decide this thing. How can we expect a great series when these morons won’t allow either team to get in to any kind of flow. Once again-great win for the C’s but I feel both teams have good reason to be pissed off over the officiating.

  • gone green

    I am grateful for the win If you are looking for the perfect game youll never find it Shelden williams did what doc asked him to do play defense rebound and get us to the tgird without anymore foul trouble to our 4 core bigs. With Rondo you have to live and die with what you see. Him getting to the lane creates havoc for any defense and when he gets there he has to take some shots to keep the defense honest. I seem to think it was on hell of a game consiering they are playing the defending champs in their building and all of their bigs in foul trouble. People get a hold of reality. The Lakers are the defending champs with arguably the best player in the game the best coach who has ever coached in the NBA. this isnt going to be easy the celts are giving it all they have and more they will get it done. Relax and watching them go after #18

  • Yeah, the perfect came will never happen. But there are mistakes and then there are MISTAKES! and these were the latter. Uncharacteristic, even for Boston.

  • willybeamin


    Don’t understand how after this post-season you could “hate” BBD… guy has been a huge part of our success.

    While his inability to finish amongst taller guys is frustrating, there is simply no way he did not get fouled in that sequence where he went up 3-4x in one possession. I mean the lakers shot what… 24 more FTs than us before garbage time? And they can’t give BBD one call there?

    and TA’s 3 was at the end of the shot clock, had to shoot it, as ugly as it was.

  • Sophomore

    @Tom – BBD can definitely be frustrating, but he was clearly a plus player last night.

    First half in general was very, very sloppy. 10 turnovers off some very questionable passes. Cleaning it up in the second half and turning it over three times was huge.

  • NHBluesMan

    If Big Baby was about 6 inches taller, with his outside shot and rebounding, he could be one of the best big men in the game. As it is, he’s not very tall, but he still plays with alot of heart. Theres times where i love the guy, and times he makes me want to punch to TV, but overall, he’s a great player

  • zeus

    i got to give props to Rondo.. I doubted him at his stage against his line up and I was wrong.. Pierce played with a lot of heart i think as well.. Ray was just hot and calm.. i think rasheed and bbd bailed out KG tonite..hurts to say that about KG.. they limited the damage.. otherwise it could have been a front court massacre..

  • Zebulon

    Baby has great hands catching rondo and pierce’s passes, particularly when rolling hard to the hoop. He also is adept at timing cuts to the basket when someone helps off of him, and the best offensive rebounder on the celtics.

    But he is small and has no lift. he is a huge defensive liability in every way – he is too small to effectively guard the post, too slow laterally to guard stretch fours, and not long or athletic enough to be an effective help defender.

    But these defensive liabilities are laregely covered up by his offensive rebouning and great hands. Except when he thinks he is still at LSU and doesn’t pass out after getting An offensive rebound (particularly after a block). He absolutely cannot finish with bynum or gasol in position next to him – they don’t even have to jump to block him. if only he would pass out and let the offense reset after each offensive board…

  • Johnnie

    Stephen, I agree about the officials. Anytime there is such a big disparity of fouls by one team over another team, as far as foul shots are concerned, the fix is in. There could be a foul called on every offensive possession by any team in the NBA. The officials need to temper there calls and use discretion in order not to favor one team more than the other. It was brutal last night and the Celts overcame it. That said, even Kobe, aka God to the officials, had some questionable calls against him. As a Cetics fan, I can’t see them winning this series with KG playing the way he has. He can’t run, jump or move laterally. He has hit the wall and looks finished. Ray will not hit 8 three’s every game, probably not again in his career, never mind this series. Rondo looks tired and can’t be as consistent because of it. I hope i’m wrong, but even with the game 2 win, it doesn’t look good for Celts. Unless Garnett gets at least 80% healthy, the Lakers will win in 6.

  • Tom

    I hate Big Baby not because of his effort and hustle. I just can’t stand the fact that he thinks he is better than what he really is. Do you really feel confident in him shooting 20 footers like you do in KG? Most of his offensive rebounds came of his own misses, perhaps a pass back to an open guy might work wonder?!? The 1 on 1 post play against Odom was annoying too, are we really at a point where we have to use Big Baby to start our offense? He was 4 for 13 or something last night, is that such a great number? He is definitely a plus on the team, but he can do a lot better if he plays smarter (same with Paul Pierce in hero mode).

    Oh yeah, let’s not forget Pau Gasol shot over his head everytime. There is a reason why Doc put Sheed in in the 1st to help slow him down.

  • The blind

    Obviously, the Celtics back court had an edge while the Lakers front court won the battle.

    Zach is right that Cs were lucky to take game 2. At the end of 4th quarter, Ron first took the fake of Fisher but recovered and make a block, then, Ron took a gamble and poked the ball from behind of Kobe. 2 big stops simply younger legs won over older legs.

    For the series, no team has an obvious edge so far. At the end, it might just come down to luck or randomness. But it seems that the Cs has a better mix of youth and experience.

    It was interesting to see when Kobe had Ron guarding him, Kobe didn’t attack aggressively but instead passed up the ball to set up the triangle. In game 3, Kobe might attack more.

  • jay cutler

    Continuing the griping on the offense..

    If Tony Allen is a PROFESSIONAL basketball player paid millions of dollars, WHY can he not make a jump shot to save his life? Is that too much to ask?

    And he looks like a skittish puppy out there taking the bait on all of Kobe’s herky jerky moves.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I agree that TA should not be taking jumpers, but he is good slashing, remember the dunk from the 1st game? He is great getting out on the break to spread the D out for Rajon to have better driving lanes. TA had 2 shots last game. An ill advised corner jumper (although it did hit the rim) & a fast break opportunity because he was able to get down the floor with Rajon. TA got fouled on that shot, but he made his 2 free throws. Most of the other Cs cannot or will not try to keep up with Rajon on the break, but TA can do it.

    Skittish? Not getting that. TA was one of the few players playing hard in game one on D. TA has been playing D. Did you not see the block he put on Kobe in the 1st game & the other shots he bothered? Then, in the 2nd game 2nd quarter 10:10 ….skittish? He held his ground as Kobe tried to dribble through him—result Kobe turned the ball over. 2nd quarter 8:48 TA slaps the ball away from Farmar to KG for a steal. 4th quarter 11:15 TA herds Kobe into Glen who takes the charge (TA & Glen did the same thing with Wade & Bron-but Bron was called for a walk)= another turnover for Kobe. 4th quarter 8:37 TA steals ball away from Farmar again & passes it up to Nate for a layup. Kobe gets Paul, Ray, & everybody in the league up in the air with his moves, but TA is making Kobe work & forcing turnovers. I would like to see TA play more, just no jumpers.

  • Tom

    Apparently TA loves to take the spot up jumpers, I can remember 4-5 this playoff

  • still enjoying #17

    TA will be a big contributor on offense at some point during these Finals…he starts with D and gets out on the fast break. He is a slasher, and you’re right…he should not take jumpers. He’s gotta stick to the script, which is great defense and slashing. If our offense stalls, insert TA = instant offense.

  • matthew

    does anyone still believe KG is due for a monster game? aka 18 points and 10 rebounds? has he been significantly injured since the cavs series? i don’t recall…