Picture of the Night: Graphic that glorifies the Celics offensive prowess juxtaposed with KG and Ray Allen on the bench knowing that they can't hit the broad side of a barn right now and that they will lose this game.
PACE: 89 possessions (really slow)
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 93.3 points/100 possessions (terrible, no good, very bad)
Outside of the first quarter there were many things to dislike about last night’s loss to the Wizards. The game was an incredible downward spiral culminating in (possibly) the Celtics worst quarter of the season. I have no idea how I would verify this statistically without poring over game logs for hours. In lieu of doing that sort of painstaking research I’ll just state it as fact and let you (the reader) set out to prove me wrong (this is how I trick people into becoming research assistants).
In the first quarter the Celtics shot 68% from the field. They then shot 38% in both the second and third quarters and finished up the game really outdoing themselves by shooting 23% in the fourth. In the previous post I characterized the Celtics’ fourth quarter as “astounding” and there is really no other way to describe it.
I wanted to really understand what happened in last night’s fourth quarter that allowed the Celtics to lose a game they look poised to win handily. So, I popped on my DVR and rewatched the ugliness that was the defining quarter. I saw how all 11 points were made and how many points could have been made had it not been for some unseen force causing the Celtics to play like a terrible highschool basketball team. After further review, I have come to an amazing conclusion: The Celtics all played like Avery Bradley last night. In the fourth quarter they got stops, rotated sharply on defense, harrassed their opponent and limited the Wizards to just 16 points. On the flip side, their offensive game looked incredibly under-developed. They bricked open jumper after open jumper. They looked hesitant and afraid. They looked like neophytes.
If you’re a glutton for punishment like I am, feel free to read the following transcription of the Celtics fourth quarter possessions:
Nate Robinson dribbles through the lane east to west and misses a fade-away elbow jumper. Degree of difficulty: Horse Shot. Degree of Plausibility: Once in a Blue Moon.
Von Wafer’s good up-fake/step-through layup attempt is completely swatted away by JaVale McGee who only knows how to do one thing: be really long.
Paul Pierce bricks a three pointer right off the inbounds pass.
Pierce gets fouled going to the basket.
Paul Pierce dribble-drives through the lane and hits a cutting Semih Erden who misses a point blank layup. Erden’s body has yet to catch up with the NBA game or his mind.
Pierce nails a step back jumper from the right elbow. A spot much sweeter than the left side tonight.
Robinson hits an aggressive floater in the lane.
The Wizards force Davis into a tough/quick shot. After initially getting by Trevor Booker, McGee helps out and cuts off Davis’ penetration. Davis smartly passes the ball across the lane to Semih Erden. The Wizards collapse on Erden who passes it back to Davis, who misses a four foot jumper. Great defense by the Wizards on this possession.
Daniels drives in and takes a tough fade-away. Misses.
The Celtics fail to get open after making some half-hearted cuts and Rajon Rondo is forced to take an end-of-the-shot clock three pointer. He misses badly.
Ray Allen misses THE wide open dunk.
Ray Allen comes off a curl and misses an open three.
Kevin Garnett misses a baseline jumper at the end of the shot clock.
McGee blocks Davis’ layup attempt. Great recovery by McGee.
Pierce misses open three point shot.
Rondo Cousy’s his way around all the Wizard defenders, uses a hesitation move to get by Wall and puts in a layup.
Garnett takes a wide open long two and it goes in and out.
Davis bricks a wide open foul line extended jumper.
After a miscommunication off the Celtics inbounds pass the Wizards leave Ray Allen wide open at the top of the circle. Allen has never been more wide open in his life.
He misses. Shortly after this miss Wall gets the outlet pass and goes coast-to-coast right by a back pedaling Ray Allen and hits a layup. A five point swing that gives the Wizards their first lead with 2:35 left to go in the game.
Pierce gets an easy fade away off a give-and-go with Garnett. A four footer that goes in-and-out.
Glen Davis makes a layup after what looks like an obvious travel to me. I have submitted the following video to Rob Mahoney for his next “Have Ball, Will Travel” video for Hardwood Paroxysm. We’ll see if Mahoney breaks it down for us. In the meantime, I’ll get the ball rolling: It’s a travel. Fin.
Paul Pierce gets Andray Blatche up in the air on a shot fake and he clearly bumps Pierce on the way down. Pierce rises for the jumper and takes it assuming he’ll get the call. He misses the shot and there is no whistle. 9 times out of 10 Pierce gets that call. Thems the breaks.
Garnett gets an easy layup off the inbounds. The ease of which Garnett scores downlow really makes you wonder why KG did not get on the low block all game. Or at least all quarter.
Paul Pierce back-rims the would-be game winner. Things may have been different had the Celtics had one more timeout. Yet another example, however unfortunate, of how valuable Doc Rivers is in these late game situations.
Conclusions: Barring a few times where they failed to make assertive moves to get open looks the Celtics ran their stuff and got almost everything they wanted. The shots just did not fall. Sometimes that happens. In the NBA, you cannot allow any team to hang around or eventually what happened last night will happen. One team has to win every game. This ain’t football or hockey. Luckily the Celtics have a few days off and then look to get back to business against the Cavaliers. I can’t wait to hear John Krolik of CavsTheBlog wax-poetic about how great the Celtics are and how manhandled the Cavaliers were.