Doc Rivers is a genius.
And to say otherwise is infinitely frustrating. He manages personalities so well. He commands respect from nearly every player he has coached. And oh yeah, he is probably the best in the league at drawing up game-winning plays.
Despite the excitement at the end, tonight’s game was incredibly frustrating to watch. Here is a quick rundown of the more frustrating aspects of tonight’s game:
- The Celtics played the entire game wearing lead shoes. They had no lift, no bounce, and no speed.
- The 76ers stayed close up until the very end due in part to the Celtics’ sluggish play and Andre Iguodala’s ability to hit clutch shots.
- The Celtics lost the battle of the offensive boards big tonight (15-5), marking the seventh time in the Big Three era that the Celtics were outrebounded by at least 15-5.
- The Celtics had committed some poorly timed turnovers. Okay, so when is a turnover ever advantageously timed? Probably never. But the Celtics seemed to find themselves turning the ball over at the worst times- including the following plays:
- The miscommunication between Rajon Rondo and Glen Davis where Davis assumed Rondo wanted a quick pass back.
- Rajon Rondo losing the handle and dribbling the ball out of bounds (that never happens).
Those were just some of the frustration-inspiring moments. That said, in the spirit of green-lensed optimism, let’s discuss some positives as well. For one, the Celtics won a back-to-back. They are now 3-for-5 in sweeping back-to-backs. The importance of stockpiling these wins while the Celtics’ core remains relatively healthy cannot be understated. The last play of tonight’s game was what should have happened in the Celtics’ one point loss to the Toronto Raptors earlier this season. You remember? The one where Leandro Barbosa cleanly stripped the ball from Ray Allen?
- Speaking of Sugar Ray, he was simply legendary tonight. After playing 36 minutes against Denver last night, the 35 year old turned back the clock tonight by throwing a healthy dose of outside shots, his midrange game, and strong drives to the basket at the 76ers. With Paul Pierce’s offensive game back in his hotel room, the Cs needed every thing Ray could give them. That “everything” turned out to be 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Here’s his shot chart:
Talk about the epitome of balance, huh? Don’t forget that Ray’s lone assist came on a sweet drive and wrap-around pass. Last season while the Celtics were knee-deep in their sub par play I made a bold statement. I actually thought the Celtics would be better off trading Ray Allen and his giant expiring contract for Andre Iguodala. Let me be not the first one to say that “I am an idiot.”
- Glen Davis was poised to go off tonight before picking up three early fouls in only 9 minutes of play. He finished the game with 16 points and 7 rebounds and possibly an even clutchier shot than Ray Allen’s wide open three with a minute to go in the game. With 30 seconds remaining and the Celtics needing a huge bucket to regain the lead, Rajon Rondo drove through the lane and found a semi-open Glen Davis on the left baseline. Davis, instead of passing it out to another teammate, showcased another aspect of his game by taking one dribble and pulling up for an 11-footer.
- Marquis Daniels may say his thumb is fine but it sure doesn’t look fine. For the second straight game, the Celtics’ reserve small forward put up a goose egg in the points column. One rebound and one assist in 16 minutes has “last season” written all over it.
The Celtics should immediately go back to their hotel, set up hyperbaric chambers, and sleep until Saturday morning. I can think of no better way to get prepared for the Bobcats.
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