Post-game Reactions

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Feel free to look ahead to when the eventualities that lost the Celtics this game won’t matter anymore. Kevin Garnett isn’t going to go all Bosh on us and shoot 5-19 every night, and the bench is someday going to manage a decent point total, because again, this isn’t Miami.

But until the O’Neal brothers return from injury, we have to prepare for a world where Nenad Krstic is the team’s only center. And tonight gave us a look at what it might be like to live in such a world.

Starting with the positive, the Celtics got 20 points from Special K, all but two of them at the rim. And that’s great. Before he got to Boston, Krstic hadn’t demonstrated himself to be much of a finisher under the basket, but he seems to be working extremely hard, and that part of his game is showing results.

His defense, however, needs more than just work. No, he’s not going to be forced to contend with leviathans like DeAndre Jordan every night. But when he does, it’s probably going to keep looking like this:

Because it’s more fun this way, here’s a dunk-for-dunk analysis of those defensive possessions, emphasizing how Krstic has trouble defending the post, and the problems with KG filling in at center.

DUNK ONE: KG just gets completely forklifted off his block here. He knows if he stays in position, Jordan will lay him out and he’ll catch a foul, so he basically concedes the points here. Keep in mind that, while KG knows what to do in the post and defends it well, he’s not built with a low center of gravity. You can push him around, especially if you have dining room tables for shoulders like DeAndre Jordan. Which is why KG is not a center, and shouldn’t be. More on that in a second.

DUNK TWO: I wish we could build to Nenad’s worst defensive play, but here it is a little early. Nenad completely loses Jordan on an inbounds pass, displaying the same lack of defensive awareness he brought out multiple times in this game by drifting away from his assignment and forgetting to BOX OUT FERPETESAKES (false teeth fall out and start chattering on the floor).

DUNK THREE: Hard to tell who’s supposed to take Jordan here, but Krstic and Garnett both converge on Griffin, leaving Jordan to pick up the scraps like a honey badger. In any case, I doubt this scenario transpires if Garnett has the confidence to let Krstic take Griffin alone. If Perkins is under there, you know Garnett’s ducking away to take care of the other big guy on the boards. Admit that you know this.

DUNK FOUR: Krstic was not in the game on this dunk. Instead, we got one of those lineups that Doc is so pumped for where Jeff Green plays the four and Garnett moves over to center. Doc loves these lineups because they were so effective with Posey at power forward in 2008, but when he says this, it’s like he doesn’t hear the 2008 part. Kevin Garnett is much less capable/willing to play center for long stretches. He’s drifted away from the basket steadily since the championship season. He’s more likely to get injured playing center at both ends.

Add to that the fact that Green doesn’t defend the power forward position well AT ALL, and you get a 13-0 run from which the C’s never recovered. I’m telling you, these Garnett-at-center lineups are not the best use of the Perkins trade. Jeff Green is a scorer off the bench at small forward.

DUNK FIVE: Here’s a nice one that shows off Krstic’s failings both as a post defender and as a rebounder. See how he has zero effect on Jordan’s positioning under the basket as he halfheartedly tries to nudge him out of the way? He gets caught between going up for the ball and clearing his man out of the way, so in the end he does neither.

Krstic is tall, but he isn’t that strong, his instincts are shaky, and his butt is not much to speak of. Nobody’s moving out of the way for Nenad Krstic’s butt. So this makes Krstic A) easily disposed of by his man and B) ineffective at making room underneath. Chris Kaman had a couple of plays tonight where he decided to make a move toward the basket and just brought Krstic with him.

Manipulating space is the most important skill for a center: both making it and maintaining it. Glen Davis does it reasonably well on defense because he’s harder to knock over than Ann Veal. Perkins did it extremely well because he had a low center of gravity and GI Joe arms. Krstic has none of these physical assets.

But he does have a decent jump shot, and you can see how that could help on offense. Bigs tend to assume they’re headed for the basket, so Krstic is often alone to nail jumpers at the elbow, especially in transition. Those are some bonus points that the Celtics will probably need on a lot of nights, and they’ll be hugely helpful when Krstic is a reserve center again.

Which is why, Shaq, though we respect your fake injury and your reasons for faking it, we hope you come back soon.

This post is almost exclusively about dunks and Blake Griffin gets nary a mention. He only had one dunk with about 90 seconds to go in the game. KG was super-effective on him tonight. Bill Simmons tweeted earlier today that tonight’s game was the “second hottest” of the season, after the opener against the Heat. Not sure how box offices measure ticket hotness, but I guess some people were disappointed tonight.

How weird did it feel tonight to watch Carlos Arroyo lift up a shot, experience a reflexive sense of disgust, then realize you’re supposed to hope it goes in?

I had a similar sensation watching Sasha Pavlovic run the floor. The possibility that we really are rooting for laundry is always sitting uncomfortably somewhere in the back of our minds, but Danny Ainge really wants us to confront it, apparently. Maybe to get us all prepared for the exodus to come after the 2012 season, when the Celtics only have two players (Rondo and Pierce) under contract. Might be easier to swallow if Rondo were playing a little better.

In any case, Arroyo looked good. He played a few minutes alongside Rondo and showed some shooting touch and an ability to find players in good position. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all.

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Hayes Davenport

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  • DRJ1

    Liked Arroyo… he seemed to have a real sense of the game, like he knew what he was doing. And, gee… I think he did. Big change from the backup 1s we've been used to lately.

    I thought Krstic did a GOOD job boxing out on many plays… just not the ones you picked. But no question about it…. his D is DOA. And there's not a whole lot of time left to fix it…. so guess it won't be fixed.

    Despite all that, the Clips needed ridiculous shooting from both Mo and Ryan to pull this one out… even after the Cs horrible first half. It's good to see that this team does not accept losses like last year's Sheed-tainted group…. they fight to the bitter end, which is way cool to see.

  • Watching the replay, Griffin seems almost afraid to take it to KG

  • earl




    • NHBluesMan

      dude, typing in caps to add emphasis only works when you save it for important words… its just plain obnoxious when a whole post is in caps, feels like you're just yelling the whole time

  • SteveB

    Shaq and Baby in the middle would have greatly changed the game. I liked Arroyo's play, considering he just got to town. That first entry pass he made to Nenad was something you'd never see Bradley make. Experience at PG is a wonderful thing.
    IF, Jermaine and Shaq can give us 15 to 20 a game, I have less worries against big front lines. Nenad is not going to get it done against big strong guys on defense.

  • Rex

    Loved this article. Good analysis and lots of funny one-liners, with bonus points for the Ramones allusion in the title.

  • NHBluesMan

    there was a post over on ESPN.Boston about how Arroyo was calling plays from the Celtics book that Doc hadn't even taught him yet, shows that he is a hard worker and takes his position very seriously.

    My guess is, if Carlos keeps producing this way he could see some playoff minutes at the 1, with Delonte or Wafer at the 2 (depending on who is healthy), with Green covering the 3/4, Baby covering 4/5 and Shaq and J'O covering the 5… this team is just DEEP!!

  • kricky

    Great analysis, though that montage was just painful to watch!

    Man if we could only get healthy! It would shore up some of these defensive problems and D.West could give Rondo the rest he sorely needs (no pun intended).

  • Avinash

    "No one cried,’’ said Doc Rivers. "We lost the game. We’re good.’’


    • Robert

      Doc is awesome

    A man named Jordan lit up Q one,
    DeAndre for the Clippers, he's no fun.
    Clippers shot 68%, led by thirteen,
    At the end of Q one, where's our Cs machine?

    No offense for the Cs, not much defense, too true,
    Doc will have to figure out what to do.
    Q2 starts with all guys we don't know,
    Because none of them were Celtics two weeks ago.

    Pavlovic two quick steals, that's a good start
    Sweet to watch these new guys playing with heart.
    In comes Pierce to get the offense going,
    But the inexperience of the new guys is really showing.

    Somehow he got loose–Williams, that's Mo,
    Every shot of his seemed guaranteed to go.
    The half ends–thankfully for the Cs tonight
    As their offense is bad, their defense a fright.

    Q3 Cs climb back, but we're not there yet,
    Since Q1 only two assists did Rondo get.
    Twenty-eight minutes passed before assist three
    Clippers' lead down to 10 led by Captain P.

    RAY ALLEN FOR THREE early, two more in Q4
    Since early Q1 the Cs' closest score.
    Great hustle for Krstic and he's having a blast
    He is finding a home on this team real fast.

    Cs couldn't get stops, Clippers couldn't miss,
    Best to just forget a game like this.
    Away from this game one thing we can take,
    At least it wasn't a highlight reel for their guy Blake.

    Can't help myself, it must be said,
    Of Reggie Ray is now 28 ahead.

    March 9, 2011 11:39pm

  • rusty

    I was at the game and I was disapointed. Rondo played like s… and Mo Williams lit him up! I'm a huge Celts fan but really wanted to see Griffin play. You could tell he was intimidated if you were at the game. Allen played hard as did Kristic, the bench was awful. I've watched every game this year and this was the C's worst performance in the 2nd hottest ticket game of the season. I want my money back!! JK LOL

    • Chris O

      I can only assume this is my Jondo lol. I agree with every point tho

  • celticsfan

    oh well we lost so what at least we didn't cry….lol we will get them next time guys. i just wish the C's were there playing don't know who the guys were that was on the floor but it wasen't my guys that's for sure.kristic, arroyo, green looked good and saha. but the starters kinda sucked last night.rondo sucked he gave the points to mo and kg couldn't hit a shot for hell. .. but that's cool once in a while your allowed to have a bad nite just come out and kick some butty next game guys.. GOOOOOOO CELTIC'S

  • renit

    on fandom. You know what? Did you like KG when he was with the Timber? From where I stand on a personal level, ALL of the new guys are way nicer and friendlier than Rondo ever is. Fixate on the bench all you want, hate on it all you want, but the big 4 lost this game.

    • hdavenport

      I did like KG in Minnesota, actually, and I think he had a better reputation among fans when he was there than he does now for some reason. But I see your point.

      • Chris O

        I always loved KG. Tonight KG's offense and Rondo's defense were the difference

  • philip

    am i the only one who noticed that dunk 5 is actually on troy murphy? from the very brief clip in the video, it looks like krstic got a decent contest on kaman's shot … and then it's murphy who got caught in no man's land.

    note: all points regarding krstic's defensive shortcomings still hold true.

    • Jmt

      Yes, it is Troy Murphy. Kristic was guarding Kaman. Can't blame Stitch.

  • newyorkceltics

    Without going allCAPS, I have to agree with a previous poster – where's Rondo been the last few games?
    And to speculate further – where's Rondo been since 'the trade'?

    Not gonna lie, my second thought after hearing about the Perkins trade (the first being CENSORED) was "Uh oh, Rondo's lost his bwest fwend!"

    Rondo is tempermental at best and I think the Perk trade has soured him a bit – his body language is just off as is his game. Perks was his one mate, closest in age as well and he's lost that bond and while I don't doubt he'll turn it on for the playoffs, I can't shake the feeling that he's the one holdout in terms of accepting the new guys – it seems like he is grudgingly shouldering the burden –

    'Oh great, extra minutes.' 'Oh great, gotta teach these new idiots, discards and buyouts, how to be ready for my passes. In the middle of a season'.

    I remember quotes from his college coach and Doc as well about when he gets frustrated when his teammates can't keep up or miss passes and the like. He corrected that over time with the core and the rest of crew – but since the trade he seems to be dogging it, to the detriment of the team and our win/loss column.

    I think he needs to get a little more professional but he'll probably continue it until the playoff push. Hopefully we don't lose first seed in the process.

    • Jmt

      Rondo was actually decent this game (except with his jumper). He didn't have a good game, but it wasn't terrible or worth wringing hands over. 13 pts, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and only 2 TOs. The problem was he was terrible in the 1st quarter (as was the entire team) and invisible in the 2nd.

    • rav

      Damn right Rondo ought to be more professional. If this is the reason Rondo is playing poorly, he needs to man up. His best friend at work moved away and he's 25. Boo Hoo. I wouldn't get a pass for doing my job poorly if my best friend transferred, and I'm not getting paid $11 Million.

  • GOB

    The Arrested Development reference helped me put this loss behind me. More AD please.

    "I could knock her down. I wont. But I could."

    • hdavenport

      They call her “The Wall.”

  • kricky

    BTW: When will Troy Murphy hit a god-damn shot!!?

    On the bright side: If this NBA thing doesn't pan out for him at least he has a trade to fall back on.

    • rav

      I know. He's adjusting slower than Marbury or Mikki Moore

  • roundo5000

    crazy how many 3s mo williams hit

  • Chris O

    I can tell you Rondo's defense or lack there of lost the game. I love RONDO to DEATH, but I think he is either injured or playing too many minutes. As much as we want to blame Krstic I was at the game and a bunch of time she was *ROTATING* to stop a guards drive in (either Mo Williams or Foye) and DeAndre got open. As much as we want to blame the big Serb, blame Rondo and to a lesser extent Ray.

    • talesofJP

      Rondo is reaching way too much lately. I hope he can get right. He is the engine for this team.

      • Chris O

        Agreed, I love that boy but he is going back to *gambler extrordinaire* more than he needs to. I really feel he may b too tired or not be 100%. That explains the seeming slower foot speed and reaching a lot (more lazy D then playing with your legs). Maybe the plantar fasciitis is acting up?

  • Chris O

    Can't from what I know everyone is guaranteed…15 guaranteed players means no spots for Lasme. But I still love your posts Kricky lol

  • Legs Diamond

    Rondo IS sluggish. When he is at the top of his game, he drives opponents crazy. Recently he looks mortal. …. Season is long. …. He's probably playing with the plantar fascitis. ….. The new crew does present adjustments for him. …. But look, what team has ever had so many injuries and remained top of its conference for this long? It's dizzying; the C's are in a kind of training camp. … Can they coalesce within 20 games?

  • TMC

    Watching the game, it seemed to me that the clips benefited from some really lucky/good shooting in the first half, so I did a little digging:

    Overall FG% for first half: 62%
    FG% on jump shots in first half: 62%
    3-pt % first half: 71%

    season avgs for the clips
    FG% 45%
    3PT% 33%

    When a team shoots at a statistical arberration like that for more than a quarter, it is pretty likely they are going to win. The clips are NOt known to do this. I remember the Raptors had a game like that against the celts in 2008 where they shot something ridiculous from 3pt range for the game. Not much you can do when they hit every shot (contested or not).

    Ok, so the defense wasn't our best effort, but teams don't shoot like that on a consistent basis.