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Pulling It Out: Celtics 102, Sixers 101

 

ESPN Box ScorePhiladunkiaLiberty Ballers

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.


  • Conall Mac

    Damn Straight

  • I_Love_Green

    That was honestly such a sick play to draw up. And the boys played it to perfection. Got my heart pumping!!

  • CELTICS

    my heart almost popped out. he's genius, KG's back!!!!!!!!!

  • LStrike

    WHAT A PLAY!

  • J Atlas

    an amazing win tonight despite all that went wrong in terms of the offensive glass and fast break points…btw for all those who doubt doc rivers is a genius of a coach…i love how we are finally going away from the pierce iso for the last and using everyone one on the floor…banner 18

    • CG12

      and maybe now the Pierce iso won't be so extremely predictable, can then be used again, and will actually work once in a while.

  • TedL

    Teh awesome. Iguodala has to hit crazy, contested shots, we draw up a play to get a layup.

    • JP-

      haha so true! love it!

  • Morpheus

    What a game….Ray hitting that 3 mmm mmm mmm mm mmmm.

  • Morpheus

    And that Baby jumper off the dribble no doubt

  • LStrike

    I only watched the last 6 seconds, but looking at the box score I'm incredibly concerned that Rondo played 47 minutes tonight. Did he look better on the court today?

    Also, lovely to see Semih getting nearly 20 minutes with the starters today, how did he look?

    • J Atlas

      absolutely he was diving on the ground getting steals and actually attacking the rim almost at will

      • JP-

        he looked better from the second quarter on, I don't think he looked great in the first

  • Idaho

    Tough to watch much of this game. But they win it again with their defense, getting stops at the crucial moments.

    Haha, gotta love it when you pull it out in the end…..when Semih is starting!!!! I love this team.

  • carpenter

    love doc, the man is a jedi master!!!

  • Avi

    I am getting really tired of seeing Semih out there. May be he has potential but right now he is an absolute disaster….When ever he steps on the court we can take it for granted that the lead will shrink by the time he comes out. The guy has no offensive moves….no defence…turnovers( even I can strip the ball from him if he catches it in the post)..and anybody can draw a foul from him in seconds…

    I am really tired of watching this guy…and am desparately waiting to see JO get back

    • carpenter

      cut the guy some slack, he doesn't speak english and is playing with only one shoulder

      • zebulon

        agreed. Semih is actually a solid defender considering he is a rookie from a foreign country. He is really long and very mobile – he is the best on the team (after KG) at hedging screens on high pick and rolls, and is learning to foul a little bit less.

        Yeah, he's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but he is generally doing his job on the court (soak up minutes, don't get outplayed so badly that the starters cant regain control of the game).

        Of course, he should never ever have started an NBA game. Cant wait to get Shaq or JO or Perk back. Just think about how much of an upgrade JO is compared to Semih, even if he plays as badly as he did at the start of the season.

  • CG12

    I thought that, good statistical line aside, Rondo had a shaky night last night in some regards. His defense bothers me. There is just no reason why guys should be able to get around him as easily as they do. He needs to abandon the wrap-around steal move. It works like 5% of the time and consistently puts helping big men in a bad position. I understand he is going to get stuck on picks sometimes, but he needs to not just swipe at the ball, and instead do whatever he can to get back in position to contest a shot and stay with his man. He regularly goes into "screw it, I'm going ball-hunting" mode where he simply doesn't care about the whereabouts of the man he is supposed to be guarding.

    Semih continues to show that right now he is an entirely adequate second team center, and there is plenty of room for improvement.

    • zebulon

      That's more a function of our defensive strategy than a problem with Rondo as a player – as soon as he gets beat on the perimiter, a big is there to step up and take his man. Generally, the uncontested shot the defense concedes is in between the perimeter (where rondo got stuck) and the paint, where the big lurks. So Rondo going for the pokeaway steal essentially concedes a 15-20 foot jumpshot off the dribble, which is exactly the shot we want them taking.

      Plus, when he does manage to knock the all loose it creates an excellent scoring chance on the break.

      • CG12

        I don't think the defensive strategy involves conceding anything. The issue to me is one of a contested long two vs. an open long two or a lay-up opportunity for a rolling big man. By not focusing on trying to recover and contest the shot, Rajon is putting pressure on his teammates when the poke-steal doesn't work, as is usually the case. When the big has to step up, it sets a rotation chain reaction in motion, which is going to happen sometimes, but you don't want to let your opponent dictate when that is going to happen. That is how bigs get in foul trouble.

        I would much rather see him make the less risky play earlier in the shot clock and reserve the gambling play for when there is pressure on the offense (e.g., double team, mis-match, late in the shot clock). A guy like Delonte, for instance, closes really hard on his man after getting caught on a screen and can block or influence the shot. I guess I'm a crusty type of guy who likes to see fundamental soundness, and the wraparound steal is not fundamentally sound. Tim Duncan would not approve.

  • scott

    shorthanded, second game of a back to back on the road against a young running team, that is a win i will take every time. maybe not pretty but tough as nails. winning games like this is how a team earns home court. KG is a beast, again!

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