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An Inconvenient Loss: Chicago 90 Boston 79 (Full Recap)

 

ESPN Box ScoreBy The HornsBlog-A-Bull

“We were pretty awful. Let’s give them credit, but we were bad. That’s the worst ball movement that we’ve had this year.” – Doc Rivers

It’s possible to read too much into this one.

Any loss, particularly in the battle for playoff seeding with Miami, is inconvenient. But the C’s had played five games in seven nights and played them very well at that. Without Kevin Garnett, who may rejoin the team as early as Monday night when Boston hosts the Rockets, the C’s had gone 4-1, falling only to New Orleans during that stretch.

So, now they’re 4-2.

That’s a far cry from the collapse we all feared when Garnett pulled up lame ten days ago.

If anything, the weekend, with its dismantling of the hapless Raptors on Friday night and the news about KG, Delonte West, and Kendrick Perkins, has been encouraging. So, let’s consider this loss in that context. With KG back, and Perk on the horizon, this team could be on the verge of a strong stretch of play.

Of course, tonight, they played poorly.

As the game wore on, the Bulls did an increasingly good job denying the Celtics’ first or second pass on the perimeter, burning clock, and chasing Boston off what they wanted to do. But the Celtics were all-too-willing to be dissuaded from their offensive game-plan, settling for a batch of early and late-clock jumpers, going one-and-out and allowing the Bulls to push tempo. When Boston did take the ball into the paint, the Bulls contested the shots (or rejected them outright; the Bulls had 9 blocks on the night) and then gobbled up the rebounds.

Check out the C’s shot charts from the third and fourth quarters:

Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

The C’s rarely miss that many good looks in the paint and rarely shoot as poorly as the 37.8% they threw up from the field tonight. That percentage is attributable to the Bulls defense, yes, but also to the fact Boston simply didn’t bring sufficient patience (only 12 assists) and took a bunch of sub-optimal shots, particularly in the fourth quarter when Paul Pierce and Ray Allen had a total of one attempt and the entire team only scored 15 points. With KG out, the Celtics cannot win tight games when Paul and Ray don’t produce down the stretch. And they cannot produce down the stretch unless they shoot the ball.

“WAAAAAAAAH,” CRIED THE BABY

Glen Davis must be reading his press clippings. As praise has mounted for the Celtics’ power forward, he seems more and more convinced he’s the man. Or he can be the man. Or he needs to be the man if he’s going to get paid. Via our friend Chris Forsberg at ESPN Boston:

“It’s a learning experience for me,” said Davis, who drew the tough assignment with Kevin Garnett still sidelined with a strained right calf. “Especially if I want to be at the same level as the KGs and Carlos Boozers. You guys have seen me grow a lot, but now, it’s time to hit a different level. That’s what I’m experiencing right now.

“Carlos Boozer got the best of me today. At the same time, I want that. I want all that — being that guy. That’s the way it is. I take it in stride. I try to get better each day. I know I have the potential to be a player in this league; A player like the Carlos Boozers or the Kevin Loves of this league.”

Those comments are admirable in the context of a player who wants to better himself but deeply worrying when you consider Davis’ role in the Boston offense. Big Baby will never be Carlos

Baby Took It On The Chin Against Boozer

Boozer or Kevin Love and when he tries, by taking early shot clock 20-foot jumpers, or leading the fast break, or forcing up shots against defenders he can’t overmatch, it clogs up ball movement in the C’s offense and keeps the ball out of the hands of the C’s optimal offensive players: Pierce, Allen and Garnett.

We can debate (and probably will) what kind of upside Davis might realize over the next few years, but it’s safe to say that anytime he leads the team in shot attempts, it’s problematic. And when he takes the most shots and shoots 23.5%, the C’s are gonna come away with a loss.

And yeah, Boozer just ate him alive tonight.

MVP?

Derrick Rose is an absolute monster. He has to be in the top-5 toughest guys in the league to stop off the dribble, and then contain with interior help once he’s past the first line of defense. As often as he was able to get by Rajon Rondo, he was able to follow that up with a finish in traffic or a trip to the line (he took 19 free throws on the evening). Which leads me into a recurring thought that I’m sure most of you will disagree with:

DA BULLS

When we think ahead to the playoffs, everyone is rightly worried about the Miami Heat and the new-look Orlando Magic. And while both of those teams present (big) problems for any opponent, both teams also have holes/inefficiencies when matched up against the loaded Celtics. I don’t want to get into too much detail here but while Miami has the two requisite superstars necessary to win a title, and likely will do just that in the next couple of years, the Celtics are well-positioned to exploit the holes they have at the 1 and the 5 this year, plus KG more than neutralizes Chris Bosh (not to mention their current hot streak is predicated on playing at a pace they simply won’t be able to maintain in the playoffs). And Orlando for all its current potency, still doesn’t have a legit #2 guy behind Dwight Howard, who the Celtics can single-cover, or enough backup size should Howard get into foul trouble. Neither team is a paper tiger, but is either team more fearsome than the Cavaliers team the C’s dispatched in the second round last season?

Probably.

But not by as much as common wisdom suggests.

The Bulls though, while an unfinished product, are well-positioned to give the Celtics major trouble should the two teams meet in the playoffs. Tom Thibodeau has them playing elite defense (particularly against Doc Rivers’ offense, which he knows inside-out) and they’ve spent the entire season without their second best player, assuming you believe that to be one of Boozer or Joakim Noah. Their big-man rotation of Noah, Boozer, Taj Gibson and Kurt Thomas is flexible, tough, athletic and matches up well with Boston. Rose is a great late-game offensive option and, at worst, an overall draw with Rondo. Luol Deng’s length can bother Pierce. Should the Bulls pull off an upgrade at the shooting guard position (mainly for offensive reasons), they would have more than a decent chance of pushing Boston to the limit.

Anyway, that’s just something to consider as we push past the halfway point of the season.

Watch this Chicago team round into form. They’re gonna be tough.

ERRATUM:

  • Did everyone see Pierce put down another dunk on the fast break tonight? He seems to have thrown down more this year than the last couple combined. We’re all used to his 2010-11 physique now, but remember how impressive he looked coming into camp? This kind of lift is the payoff for the offseason work he obviously did on conditioning and his diet.
  • I was watching the WGN telecast out of Chicago on NBA-LP, wherein Bulls color commentator Stacey King referred to Thomas as “Big Sexy”. I love League Pass.

So, that’s it for this one. Three more home games for the C’s this week, all of them winnable. And by the last of the three, KG should be back and Perkins on the verge. Good times.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  • DRJ1

    Oh no, you got Baby all wrong. The boy doesn't wanna be Boozer or Love. He thinks he CAN be KG, RayRay and/or Paul, at any time, depending on what the team needs. (And that end-to-end dribble drive may indicate that we can add Rondo to that list.) His delusions are grand indeed.

    Knowing one's limitations is a prerequisite to success in life, and basketball. Given that Davis so clearly does not know his… and is in fact highly deluded about his capabilities… he seems headed for real trouble. It's very hard to see this ending any other way. The Cs would be well advised to take whatever preemptive action presents itself in the next couple of months. To, you know, get out of the way of the train wreck.

  • jpbl1976

    Bad loss but the C's will recover. It was only a matter of time before Thibbs engineered a way for the Bulls to beat the C's and I guess now was the time. Also, I don't care how many points he scores, Derrick Rose is overrated. His play reminds me of a slightly-improved Steve Francis. Rondo is still the better player, if you want to win titles.

    • Cam

      Are there any Celts' fans who don't peddle the Rose is overrated line?

      Rose is a phenomenal talent.

      • jpbl1976

        So was Steve Francis. Watch some film of the "Franchise" during his heyday; the stylistic similarities are evident, especially when Rose attacks the rim, throws his body into that of the opposing team's bigs and executes a high-degree of difficulty double clutch shot while hoping the refs bail him out. Great for style points, not so much for winning titles.

        … and my calling Rose overrated has nothing to do with being a Celtics fan. It's called being a basketball fan. Check out Stumbling on Wins, which has an automated Wins Produced bot: http://nerdnumbers.com/automated-wins-produced.

        If you use the filter, you'll see that among point guards, Rose is only ranked 9th in terms of WP48; on his own team, he's only 4th in WP48. To put this number in perspective, even though Rose has played 14 more games than Carlos Boozer, he's only produced 1.4 more Wins. Now, Rose isn't a bad player by any stretch, but her certainly isn't a "superstar" and I wouldn't necessarily want to build a team around him.

        In fact, both Noah and Boozer (two of my favorite players; I would love to have either on the Celtics, especially Noah), at their current pace, will have produced more wins for the Bulls by the time the season is over (assuming Noah returns soon and Boozer does not get injured again) — but it's Rose that the media have hyped-up as an MVP candidate because he takes a lot of shots and gets on the highlight reel because of his athleticism (just like Steve Francis).

        • Cam

          It's quite clear you know nothing about Rose. Contrary to your assertions, Rose usually does the exact opposite of what you claim, and he's been criticized for it by many of his detractors. That is, he does not jump into bodies hoping for foul calls. In reality, he too often avoids contact with incredible body control and athleticism.

          And as for the claim that doing that particular thing–which Rose doesn't–isn't good for titles, the master of it (Dwayne Wade) already has a ring.

          Automated wins? This isn't a video game, and it's quite clear to anyone who watches the Bulls that minus Rose, they're a 30-win team.

          • Ryan DeGama

            This is true. John Hollinger did an entire piece on how Rose doesn't get to the line often enough.

          • DRJ1

            I am no expert on D Rose. I can only say that in THIS game that just happened, he certainly DID throw his body at the bigs in the hope/expectation of getting to the line. Often. Especially when he was being well-guarded. My reaction at the time was that he's going to have a pretty short career if he keeps doing that, as that style of play makes the player too susceptible to injury.

          • jpbl1976

            Clearly, you misunderstand the concept of Wins Produced.

            How about we just wait til the end of the season to see which team makes it out of the East?

      • Tom W

        for the record, Rose is incredible. and yes, he destroyed Rondo. the bulls scare me more than anyone else in the postseason.

    • Beejilla

      I would expect a celtic fan to say some BS like that. "Thibbs engineered a way for the Bulls to beat the C's". You make it sound like the Bulls just slid by, like Thibs did some meraculous coaching job in the end to squeak out a win. They got beat down, they got thier asses haanded to them! It was mainly because of Rose. He got the Csentire front court in foul trouble. Rose embarassed Rondo tonight and Boozer embarassed Bigbaby! The Bulls almost put the Cs out of the playoffs Rose's rookie year. Trust me the celtics dont want to see the Bulls in the playoffs. The Cs win one chip and they think they're a dynasty…LMAO. Lets see how many chips Rondo and the Cs win when Allen and Garnett retire. Rondo is good but he aint great, ya boy got exposed tonight. Stop being a Hater, its not a good look!

      • Zee

        I’ll take the liberty of adressing your comment…

        1. Thibbs used to be our assistant coach. If any opposing team know the Cs, it should be the Bulls.

        2. We meet 4 times this season. We won the first two, y’all won the third. This game was won for one reason only – the foul line. It kept us from getting a rhythm and threw everything off from there. So, it wasn’t because the Bulls were better.

        3. Rondo didn’t get exposed. The refs did. Running pass someone with the ball, not passing to your teammates, and then jumping into people to draw a foul isn’t the same as scoring openly over and over. He went to the line to make the majority of his points. Anyone can do that. That strategy won’t work next game. It’s now “exposed.”

        4. In case you didn’t know, the Celtics have 17 chmpionship titles, the most for any franchise. And Bill Russell has eleven rings. Celtics players hold the most rings won as well.

        5. Lastly, no need to jump in here with an immature attitude and commentary. It reveals that you’re probably some teenager or twenty-something with no responsibilities. You’ve just been “exposed.” THAT’S not a “good look.”

        :)

        • Cam

          "This game was won for one reason only – the foul line. It kept us from getting a rhythm and threw everything off from there. So, it wasn't because the Bulls were better."

          Quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. Although "point" #3 isn't far behind.

          • Zee

            So I take it you’re a Bulls fan.

            At any rate, I’d like to hear your objective (not subjective) view for why this game went down like it did.

            Readmy other comments for the full picture so that you’ll know my view in context.

            Thanks.

          • Cam

            Why the game went down like this? You mean why the Bulls won, or how the Bulls won?

            I'd suggest the Celtics were out of sync offensively and the Bulls can play great defense at times. Plus the Bulls were much better on the boards. The Celtics certainly had their chance with the Bulls committing 21 turnovers.

          • DRJ1

            Sorry Cam, but that explanation holds up pretty well. The fouls were a major factor. That and the fact that the Celtics simply shot poorly — missing MANY open shots, and also letting the wrong player shoot (yeah, baby) — is why the game was lost.

            The Cs depend on their defense to win games. No secret there, of course. The best way to throw a monkey wrench into that Cs' defensive machinery is to pile on the fouls. That's what happened.

          • Cam

            The Bulls scored 7 more points from the FT line. Take that out and….the Bulls scored 4 more points.

            Let's be honest, the Bulls did not have a 40-10 advantage in attempts.

  • Zee

    I watched the game on NBA channel (therefore a blackout on my league pass). At one point I watched the game on mute, because the commentators were getting on my nerves with the Celtics bashing. If the NBA is going to show a game, they need to use their own commentators and not locals.

    That aside, I saw Baby’s ccomments on video (you find all Celtics postgame interviews at csnne.com). I was amazed at his words and his countenance. This game hurt him, but he’ll bounce back.

    I don’t mind Davis being an overachiever in his mind WHEN coming off the bench. That confidence has always proved helpful in that aspect. But as a starter it hurts us at times.

    NOTE: Rose is definitely not overrated. Dude is a beast! Wish he played for us! Definitely one of the best guards in the game today, and he just turned 22. He has a bright future ahead. He will win multiple rings. Mark my words. Just not this year! :)

    • DRJ1

      No question that Rose is very talented, and tough. My feeling, though, it that he may not have a very long NBA career, because of the way he throws himself at the bigs hoping for the whistle, esp. when other options are closed. Guys like that tend to have their careers shortened by injuries.

  • carpenter

    we should try tiny gallon for 10 days, i think the veterans will keep him from doing anything stupid

  • celtic

    The Bulls commentators were so annoying

    • Zee

      Ditto

  • zebulon

    Baby continued his massively irritating trend of leading the team in shot attempts. He's on a team with FOUR hall of famers, three of whom are having career years shooting the ball – while Baby is an average efficiency offensive player. The reason he is open for all those 20 footers is that he doesn't shoot them well! Even when he IS shooting well, its about 40% – and if an opponent could get the C's to shoot 40% for a game, they would sign up immediately.

  • Jim

    Doc needs to bring Baby back to earth. He needs to be passing the ball not shooting us out of games. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are Hall of famers and unless they start getting the ball more then Baby who is killing us with poor shot selection we will continue to lose to the better teams. When a bench player like him starts leading the team in shots taken we are going to lose.

    • What More Can I Say?

      KG will bring him back to earth…when he returns to the C's lineup.

  • I_Love_Green

    If you guys had to vote, who would you say is the biggest ball hog on our team?

    Glen Davis, by FAR. If his guy scores on him, he feels he needs to go right back at him and score against him. Well Boozer lit him up tonight, so of course Glen is gonna try and save face by going right back at him to brick almost all of his shots.

  • bohaterewicz

    No hard feelings. 5th game in 7 days and a loss at United Center where Bulls are 16-3. Rose went to the line at will and Boozer exposed Davis. We were once again outrebounded. Terrible 4th quarter – ice cold Davis took 9 field goals while Ray + Pierce took 1 combined. Shaq averages 2,6 RPG since Christmas. We need KG and Perk badly. We'll get back on track.

  • Morpheus

    LOL at Baby's comments, he'll need a miracle if he wants to be like the "Carlos Boozers and Kevin Love's" of this league. His rebounding and shot selection alone, form a whole universe of space between him and the elite power forwards in the NBA. He doesn't address his poor rebounding??????

    • Ryan DeGama

      He did say he wants to be like Kevin Love. Does that count?

      • Zee

        Yeah, Morph probably doesn’t know that rebounding is Love’s thing. So, in a way, Baby kinda “addressed” it.

        I’m glad this happened to Davis. A reality check is good at times. It also woke the team up as to why we lost certain games. Over the last 3, Baby shot 93 times, while Paul and Ray shot a much less. That should NEVER happen.

        What took Doc so long to say he needs to get back to setting picks? :)

      • Morpheus

        I'd have to see it before i believe it. I don't have faith in him that he can improve his rebounding either, i mean it's been so bad he makes Boris Diaw look like a glass cleaner. As for rebounding being Love's thing, that's just it, rebounding has never been Babys thing has it.

  • Batman

    At least I don't have to bitch about Rondo's Turnovers…..yay

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