Pace: 85 possessions (glacial)
Offensive Efficiency: 134.1 points/100 possessions (2nd highest of any NBA game this season)
Defensive Efficiency: 97.6 points allowed/100 possessions (near league best)
(Earlier I had this game as the highest offensive efficiency of any game this season. This was wrong. It’s 2nd highest. Very stupid 3:00 AM mistake. Thanks for your patience).
Be measured with your pats on the back for this game. Yes, the C’s shot their highest percentage in almost two years. Yes, nobody played more than 30 minutes and the starters were out by the fourth quarter. But they did all these things against a defense of almost supernatural ineptitude. The Wizards made their own team name sound sarcastic tonight.
The Celtic lead was only five after the first quarter tonight, but the ending was Shutter Island obvious. The C’s shot 68% and gave up 43% at that point, with the Wiz numbers coming on a lot more shots because A) they pulled down 10 offensive boards and B) the C’s gave up four steals on bad passes in the first four minutes. The Wizards were also being rewarded for terrible shot selection: guys like Gilbert Arenas, Al Thornton, and Nick Young would take a few obligatory dribbles and then, six seconds into the possession, pull up with a long two that they would somehow drain. The Celtics want you to think you can hit those shots for an entire game. By all means, keep taking those.
The lead closed to 3 early in the quarter thanks to a Gilbert trey, some fudged possessions by Nate, and a gangly slam from JaVale McGee. Then the starters came back in and everything was fine. They found each other all over the floor, Shaq continued to abuse the 7-foot, 150 McGee in the lane, and the C’s went on a 16-4 run from which the Wizards would never recover. They absolutely rolled over in the second half. The whole evening ultimately felt like a Shutter Island waste of time.
If you watched this game, you saw at least one high-percentage scoring opportunity on virtually every single trip down the floor for the Celtics. This Wizards team does not know the first thing about defensive rotations, nor any of the other things.
Many, many times tonight a C’s ballhandler took a couple of steps into the paint and no less than three Wizards converged on him, leaving two Celtics on the wing or under the basket trying to figure out how they were suddenly so open. Every Celtic screen seemed to leave two Wiz defenders on either the screener or the ballhandler. For a team that moves the ball as well as the Celtics, this is how you end up with more assists (32) than your opponent has field goals (31). Flip Saunders looked like he never thought a team could make him hate basketball this much.
Here’s a quick representative photo essay and then we’re done with this. First, Rondo approaches Kirk Hinrich at the arc. Like any respectable doorman would, Hinrich creates an unobstructed path for Rondo.
As Rondo slips Hinrich a two-dollar bill on his way into the lobby, Trevor Booker steps in with a proposition to race Rondo to the hoop backwards.
Rondo cheats and attacks the rim forwards. But all is not lost for this Wiz defensive possession, as Hilton Armstrong, behind Booker, has plenty of time here to contest Rondo’s shot at the rim, or at least administer a smart foul to a poor free throw shooter. In this shot it actually looks like maybe that’s what he has in mind.
Instead, Armstrong gets about three feet, then stops and watches Rondo roll in the two.
Also, how funny is Nick Young (in the corner on Delonte) in these shots? Look at him briefly consider helping out and then go back to just standing around. Anyway, the Wizards ran this anti-play multiple times on both Rondo and Delonte. Blecch. Let’s just hope the C’s didn’t have their conception of opposing defense irreparably shifted before the Thunder game Friday.
-a spectacular rebound over the C’s 3, 4, and 5
-perhaps the worst shot I’ve ever seen in a basketball game
-a perfectly timed steal on the entry pass
-a heads-up monster jam off a Hinrich miss
What a terrible/awesome guy to have on your team. Every single part of that sequence was hugely entertaining.
Hey, here’s a trivia question: name another active player who, like JaVale McGee, has a capitalized-decapitalized-capitalized letter sequence in both his first and last name. Then name a trivia question better than that one, if that’s even possible.
(Al Thornton dribbles over halfcourt and throws up yet another contested pull-up 20-footer)
Mike: Al Thornton comes up firing!
(12 seconds pass on the game clock as Tommy formulates his response)
Tommy: They didn’t hear about the defense budget deal.
So good. The Wizards, even though they reside in our nation’s capital, obviously hadn’t heard about proposed reductions in national defense spending because they were firing. I love it. Tommy also said tonight that you should only get in the lane with Shaq “if you’re into self-abuse.” Huge night for Tommy all around.