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The Titans Have Clashed: C’s 105, Spurs 103

 

ESPN Box Score48 Minutes of HellPounding the Rock

With some game recaps, you have to use the second person and get all poetic and weird, because that’s just how the game makes you feel. This game, other than parts of the last minutes that I’ve chosen to ignore/forget, is like that. And because a lot of commenters have been complaining (with reason) about too much criticism of a good team coming from this site, I figured this would be a good opportunity to just tell all the players how great they were against the Spurs.

Glen Davis:

You were so many different kinds of player tonight, and they were all awesome. At times you were a natural-born shooter, not wasting possessions but saving them with well-chosen looks that barely made a sound going in. Then suddenly you became a slasher, your stubby arms evading defenders in midair. It was like vintage Diaw, only Diaw totally let himself go physically to look pretty much like you do now.

When you’re given some freedom, you’re the NBA’s answer to the Animorphs.

In this one sequence, you started as a pump-faking flamingo, then became a scuttling perimeter D spider-crab, then finally a flying squirrel, soaring laterally through the pines as you lofted a J. You make us all imagine a bizarre utopian future in which the Celtics second unit is a lawless void where positions mean nothing and chaos rules. With you, Nate, Delonte, Marquis, and Pierce/Ray/Wafer on the floor, that lineup could make things deadly confusing like it did for the Spurs tonight. But until then, you are totally starter material.

Ray Allen:

Oh my god, Ray. You should just paint a little green dot on top of your head after this game.

You found space like thumbs on a keyboard (awesome analogy). You made jogging cool again. You consistently outran George Hill, which many would say you have no business doing because he’s eleven years younger than you are. But you can’t even hear that noise with the wind in your ears.

This play, for example, was over five seconds before you put the shot up. You used a seemingly unaware Glen Davis to get a foot of breathing room, then didn’t give up an inch of it as you ran the entire arc. (It didn’t hurt that Matt Bonner picked off his own teammate in the paint.)

How much do you love having a guy at the point who finds you at the exact right spot on the floor? Tony Parker may have tried to pin all of Rondo’s success on you, but you know better.

Don’t sweat those last two free throws. You wanted to teach us that we’ve been wrong to take your low-90s percentage for granted all these years. That was a valuable lesson and we are better fans for it.

Paul Pierce:

You hit a few impossible threes that made this win happen. But more importantly, when the starting frontcourt duo decided they were going to record three total rebounds for the evening, you filled in as the go-to big. You boxed out for boards, you defended the post, you threw down game-altering dunks.

And when it came down to the last shot, you blocked out the sun.

Rajon Rondo:

Now that you’re really back, we recognize our own team again. Which makes us realize that the only thing that really distinguishes the Celtics on offense is how you make them go. Celtics basketball is half a myth, basically, because it doesn’t fully manifest itself without you on the floor.

You were supernaturally aware of where the ball was going to be tonight. Like the moment when you held out your hand and the ball spontaneously appeared in it:

You knew where it was coming off the glass, too, and you were pretty much always there. You also knew where all your teammates were, and where they were going to be in three seconds, and where their defenders were going to be. You are a little scary in this respect.

In the last two games, you’ve also completely manipulated the offensive flow by subtly coaxing the entire defense off of you for three quarters so that, should the need arise, you can basically score at will.

You were an absolute killer in those small lineups tonight. Obviously you took advantage of the increased off-ball movement, that was no surprise. But with the bigs having to step out to take care of the shooting threat, you really got the chance to show that your ankle is fine.

Everyone was wondering if you’d be better than Tony Parker tonight. But you were better than the Spurs.

Doc Rivers:


You solved the problems presented to you by Gregg Popovich, but he couldn’t do the same for yours.  He was your mentor, and you straight up outcoached him tonight, both with your plays and your rotations. Dang.

Shaq: You only had one rebound tonight, bringing your total to 14 over the last 7 games. That’s pretty gross. But you did defend the pick-and-roll very seriously. You didn’t just show, you presented yourself with flair, much like you did on Letterman. Both were appreciated.

Bill Kennedy: Get over it.

  • DRJ1

    Bill Kennedy: You did a fantastic job making the game as close as it was, just under the betting line of 2.5-3, WITHOUT giving the win to the team that didn't deserve it. We recognize this as the difficult achievement that it is. It's not every ref that can manipulate games this precisely. Good one!

    Now please die.

    • jpbl1976

      Haha! Good one. As soon as I saw that Kennedy was officiating the game, I knew he'd give the Spurs every chance to win it. I half-expected Doc to be waiting for him by the loading docks after the game.

      • Chris O

        Gotta love Bill Kennedy lol

    • CsFanInArkansas

      Amen

  • Berkcelt

    Awesome recap!

  • NHBluesMan

    loved the animorphs reference, haven't heard anything about those in YEARS.

    The officiating was horrible… did they just pull one ref aside and tell him to only watch if there were Celtics players in the paint? How many 3-second violations were called against us? ridiculous

    Solid win though, without KG. I'd love to see Doc go small more in the future, it gave the Spurs fits and provides yet ANOTHER deadly line-up for this Celtics team. I love me some Celtics basketball!

    • Berkcelt

      The 3-seconds calls were really getting to me too. Especially when Bonner was cheating over dead middle of the paint on an obvious defensive 3 seconds in the fourth trying to help Parker whom PP was posting up. No call of course. The end of game stuff I wasn't as upset about; I thought those could've gone either way; the call Popovich got livid about on Daniels was also a pretty close call if you watched the replay. Pierce definitely got fouled before that technical he received (not on the shot but before; Gino shoved him right in the back).

      I've had enough of Bill Kennedy though, I can tell you that.

    • JP-

      just looked up Animorphs on youtube and remembered how rediculous the show used to look.

  • Diehard Celtic

    I always look forward to reading the recaps….dude u just crack me up!

  • zebulon

    The first boxscore I saw after the game didn't register Rondo's last rebound (the catch of the ball after Pierce blocked Ginobili [as a side note, that HAS to be the latest in a game a player has achieved their triple double – 1.5 seconds left!) and I saw so, so angry. What a magnificent performance, and they weren't going to give him the triple double, even when he earned it.

    Luckily they added the rebound on shortly thereafter, and crisis was averted.

    Also, great video. Most of my favorite plays from the game. The only other one I wanted to see- the playcall off the timeout that lead to Ray's open three from the left wing at the 1:37 mark of the 4th quarter. That was just an incredible, incredible play, using the pierce/davis pick-and-roll to capture the attention of the defense, then darting Allen across the floor to the strong side wing for the open three. Perfect pass from Pierce to help make it work, but really just exactly the right playcall by doc. I loved that play so much.

  • CG12

    I was curious about what on earth the deal is with Bill Kennedy's issues with the C's. So I goggled "bill kennedy doc rivers." Featured prominently in the results were some comments apparently made by Tim Donaghy on the subject, about which I had not heard. I simply cannot believe that it is true, but it is pretty crazy. Check it out.

    Shaq has been looking increasingly spry on defense. He is doing a much better job moving his feet and not just crushing people. Not that I mind him crushing people. JO is far and away our best big man defender and rebounder right now.

    • DRJ1

      You may remember that in March of 09, Kennedy and Rivers got into an argument (which included 'taunting' by Kennedy) the results of which were fines for BOTH of them… a pretty rare thing for a ref. (Rivers' was $25k, Kennedy's was undisclosed.) I don't think Billy's ever forgotten/forgiven that.

    • hdavenport

      I've seen the Donaghy thing before. It is extremely not real.

  • Zee

    Good read… (thumbs up!)

  • Loveit

    My only question is , was the Glenn Davis part ghost-written by FreeDarko or by Kevin Garnett*?
    Either way, keep it up and give us more! I want to know what Semi's totem animal(s) is(are), the sociological implications of a KG-Baby-Perk-Rondo-Daniels lineup, comparisons of Celtics players to Spongebob Squarepants and posts written first-person from the perspective of a game ball, or Rondo's sweatband!

    * After Davis felt left out by not being compared to fresh laundry.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    Well, if the NBA considers a player coming up with posession of the ball after a blocked shot a rebound, then Rondo – by your definition of earning it – did earn it…"by actually doing it".

    There's no such statistic in basketball as a "catch" (at least, that I'm aware of), and it's not a steal because it was a shot attempt…so, rebound makes the most sense in that case – when posession changed.

    Just because RR didn't have fly into traffic and snatch the ball from amongst the bigs as the ball came clanging off the rim doesn't make it a non-rebound (or "catch"). So, you can't give the guy's triple double an asterisk for a weird rebound.

    • JP-

      Rondo played his heart out and perhaps got a bit of help from the home scorer on the last rebound. I'm sure the win matters to him and all of us more than the triple double anyway.

      • DRJ1

        Absolutely. Agree with both of you. I'm left wondering if this really is the rule in the NBA? Any blocked shot, anywhere on the court, regardless of how far from a rim, creates an official rebound for someone? I did not know that. CsFanInArk's logic does seem reasonable tho.

        Rooting around the Web, I found that the definition of "rebound" is: "the act of successfully gaining possession of the basketball after a missed field goal or free throw." (Nothing about the rim.) Also found this little tidbit: "A ball does not need to actually "rebound" off the rim or backboard for a rebound to be credited."

        Put this together, and yeah… it seems that ANY blocked shot, even at midcourt, creates a rebound for somebody. So when RR caught that blocked shot, giving him the rebound was, apparently, NOT a homer move, but the right thing to do… per the rules.

      • DRJ1

        Zach Lowe addresses this very point today. He writes:
        But this is absolutely the right call by the official scoring crew. The manual the NBA sends scorers has this to say about how to score blocked shots:

        "The shooter is charged with a field-goal attempt, and the player (on either team) who retrieves the loose ball with a rebound."
        —-
        Well, I guess that's that. Good call. And a nice little bit of info (however useless).

        • hdavenport

          I always find it crazy how many little rules I don't know or haven't even thought about. Mike Gorman revealed last night that he has no idea what the rules are for when a player can or can't enter a game, and he SITS AT THE SCORER'S TABLE.

  • JP-

    Just want to mention that JO was fantastic last night, at least on defense. Some of the blocks he has been getting recently have been really impressive. If Bill Kennedy wasn't reffing last nights game he may not have fouled out.

  • Morpheus

    Baby does everything except rebound. Unacceptable. Being half sarcastic here, half because he's so gifted offensively, IF his rebounding improves…..ALL STAR.

  • Paul

    Love the comments section! Keep it up friends!

  • The Fawb

    baby needs to talk to Harangody about positional rebounding. BBD can't jump very high so he needs to learn technique. Anyone can rebound, they just need to stick to fundamentals and hustle. (and his huge backside don't hurt either!)

    • hdavenport

      This is totally true. Baby and Harangody have very similar box-shaped bodies, so Baby might actually have some useful pointers. (Except he rebounded like crap last night, but I don't expect that to become a thing.)

      And it really isn't about jumping at all: ask Barkley and Kevin Love. There's an awesome chapter in "Art of a Beautiful Game" where Ben Wallace talks about how he would jump LATERALLY to grab boards. Rebounding is so cool, guys.

      • zebulon

        Agreed! I actually wanted Harangody to play extra minutes vs the spurs, because he would always put a textbook blockout on Kevin Love. Seeing as Baby will never be able to outjump (dwight howard) or beat people to the spot of the board (ben wallace, kevin love), it seems like it would help the team hugely if he could boxout. Plus he has the perfect body for it – can you imagine trying to push through baby on the way to an offensive board? Seems like it would discourage most folks.

      • CG12

        I think the idea is that Baby needs to RECEIVE the pointers. Harangody has clearly been to the Heinsohn school of rebounding – "first find your man, and he will take you to the ball." Baby does not do a good job of using his girth and agility to maximum advantage for rebounding purposes.

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