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Again With The Losing? Sixers 89 Celtics 86

 

ESPN Box ScorePhiladunkiaLiberty Ballers

There’s probably some temptation to tie tonight’s failings to Boston’s recent roster shakeup and the need to integrate new players into the rotations and teach them sets without the benefit of much practice time. Those are fair points. With Doc Rivers mixing his lineups with old guns and new, the efficiency of the various five-man units was bound to suffer. But this game was entirely winnable, except for the Celtics’ inability to manufacture crunch time scores and stops, and, in particular, finish at the rim, where Philadelphia always seemed to have a long, athletic guy (or Spencer Hawes) waiting to swat or alter a Boston shot.

And in a race for the top seed in the east, without the excuse of a back-to-back, this loss is inexcusable and falls firmly on the shoulders of the big four, who turned in mostly mediocre nights:

Kevin Garnett: 5-13, 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists.

Rajon Rondo: 12 points, 5 assists.

Paul Pierce: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers.

Ray Allen: 2-11 shooting for 5 points.

None of those lines are awful, save Allen’s, but Boston needs better results out of all of them, especially against an energy-to-burn outfit like the Sixers.

There are a few upsides we’ll discuss later involving the newbies, but no silver linings so tarnished as Troy Murphy finally making a basket.

So, it’s two losses in a row for the suddenly ailing Celtics.

Commence rationalizing, panicking or discussing the loss with exactly the right amount of perspective.

The choice is yours.

  • Skorpio

    At some point it seemed as if the C's bench were having a better game than the starters.

  • celticsfan

    wow the guys really sucked tonight if it wouldn't be for the new guys we wouild have very little points. the starters sucked. well guys all i can say is here comes the bulls. you guys need to egt your act together. right now you suck i just hope they don't play like this at the playoff's cause if they do say goodbye to banner 18

  • kricky

    Starters are showing major signs of fatigue. Way too many minutes. Unavoidable with all these god damn injuries.

    I hope we aren't shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to get the number 1 seed.

    • Chris O

      I blame Doc for not bringing Baby and Delonte back sooner. Both have been lobbying to play. If I hear one more 'well if it was the playoffs I'd b playing' (heard from Shaq and Big Baby) I'm gonna flip. I understand this game was not a playoff game but bringing guys who SHOULD be playing back is essential to resting the starters. Doc has officially burnt them out….this is terrible

  • http://lovemyceltics.blogspot.com mycelts

    DEEP SIX-ER

    Q1 what a start, how both teams ran, 
    The Cs must keep it up because the Sixers can.
    For him no plays does Doc really call, 
    But Krstic is so thrilled when he gets the ball.

    Easy shots for the Sixers on pick and roll play
    Cs must move their feet for it to go their way.
    Phillie plays with confidence-the coach should get credit,
    They’re an athletic team, because of Collins they get it.

    To start Q2 no cohesive unit yet
    Let’s just say that Bradley was the vet.
    For Celtics fans a brief moment of joy, 
    When a first basket-in green-was scored by Troy.

    Before the game Doc made it clear, 
    Using all the new guys he would show no fear
    Because the starters need rest, especially Rondo and Ray,
    No matter what the score, the new guys will play.

    The first half belonged to Krstic and Hawes,
    A guy for each team playing with few flaws.
    Q3 Cs slowed it down, the new guys fit in,
    They’ll have to if we want that championship win.

    No “Holiday” for Phillie, but we saw their “Brand”
    How much more of this can you stand?
    Some of the Sixers are “Young,” Meeks rather meek,
    Though with made free throws he was on a streak.

    (That was hard work)–at the end of Q3,
    The Sixers the same 4 point lead we did see.
    To start Q4 finally points for Ray
    Other than that it has not been his day.

    With the stats in this game Danny seems smart,
    As Krstic’s game is a work of art.
    The contribution off the bench by Arroyo and Green
    Is some of the best stuff we have recently seen.

    To end of Q4 the Cs missed each big shot, 
    A way to win a game this is not.
    Taking free throws, being booed, that was KG, 
    30 seconds to go, brought the lead down to three.

    But Iguodala scored, just 12 seconds left, 
    We’ll leave Philadelphia but not bereft.
    We lost the game, we will not cry,
    The new guys gave it a really good try.

    With the new guys for practice, there’s been no time,
    That is almost the end of tonight’s rhyme.
    I can’t help myself, it must be said, 
    Of Reggie Ray is now 29 ahead.

    lovemyceltics.blogspot.com
    March 11, 2011. 9:26pm

  • Rich

    I'm just upset with the way the starters have been playing… I'm not concerned… our team can beat anybody in the east without home court advantage… but they'll need it in the finals because the format in those series is different!

  • Phil

    Two straight stinkers thrown in by the starters. I'm hoping its just an anomaly, opposed to a physical breakdown. I'm inclined to lean towards the former, given that this wasn't a back to back, and neither was the Clippers game. The starters played out of their minds for a stretch there, they were bound to regress to the mean sooner or later. Its unfortunate that its looking more and more likely that the difference between the 1st and 2nd seed is the difference between being championship favorites and longshots. Hopefully the Bulls lose a few games they should win, and their remaining game with the C's could be the most important one of the season.

    Not sure what else there really is to take away from this game aside from the bad timing of the loss. There was no glaring problem that I saw, the starters missed wide open jumpers that they usually make for the most part. The defense wasn't good, but didn't really lose the game IMO. The bench is looking better, actually closing the score to start the 4th, but ideally, most of them won't see the court in the playoffs, let alone all be on the floor together. Maybe the Ray +4 bench guys lineup is still the ideal set up. I believe that was what worked to start the 4th.

  • julien

    They're just tired. Rivers is giving a chance to the newbies to get their shit together and to show if they'll be essential during the playoffs. Like Kricky said in a post above, the big 4 played too many minutes, and they are getting roasted at this point. No panic though. I'd rather see them play crappy because of fatigue 20 games before the end of the regular season, this way they kinda get some rest. I'd rather see them giving away the number 1 seed in order to play fresh during the playoffs, than watching them using their whole energy tank to secure the top seed, which could get them roasted when the playoffs start. What would be the point of fighting for the top seed, if you blow it away on the first round because you're tired?

    Trust the guys, trust Rivers, pray for Shaq to stay healthy, but one thing I got to admit now (and I took my time to definitely voice it out), is that this Perkins trade is definitely not a gift for the C's. It might be good for the next seasons to rebuild the team, but it is kind of a sabotage for the current year. During last year's offseason, all of the biggest guys, Doc Rivers, Pierce and Allen agreed on staying together to give a last shot to the title. Perkins was definitely part of the project, and his loss is a sabotage and makes the challenge much harder. Guys in L.A, Orlando and Chicago must be so happy….they probably sent a thank you letter to Ainge, now that he's leveled the Eastern Conference….

    Hopefully, it will work, and the guys will get it together, but it is a matter of time, and time is running out.

    Stay healthy.

    • CsFanInArkansas

      Yeah – had we not done the Perk trade, we would have had Semih and Luke right now trying to do what Nads and Green are doing….which would be much worse……..

    • Phil

      The jury is still out on the trade, but the one certainty is that not doing the trade would have made the Celtics even more vulnerable now than they already are. Take away Green and Krstic's contributions, and this is game isn't as close as it was. Perkins didn't get a new injury after the trade, the Celtics knew that he was going to miss up to a month, and they knew that keeping him (and not retooling the bench as a result,) would likely lead to dropping some more games/seeds. The luxury of the trade is that 85% guys like Baby, Shaq and Delonte don't have to rush back now. This loss is troubling, but its not a trend that you can expect going forward.

      The playoffs will be the ultimate judge of the trade, though personally, I think we match up better with Miami/Chi now. They lack strong big men that we would need Perk to key on. Without that defensive need, Krstic's offense is a big plus (though that assumes the rotations will be better than the last two games.) Orlando and LA are the questions, but I don't see us losing to Orlando barring a breakdown by the starters (assuming we even face them,) and I'm willing to bet against a healthy Bynum LA coming out of the west.

    • CHris O

      The Perk trade was not a sabotage to this year, you are crazy. So you would rather have no backup wing than have a a backup wing and a new center who is doing fine. The 2 BEST PLAYERS last night were Krstic and Green. Perk and Nate were not going to be doing what these guys have been doing. Yes Krstic is not the defender Perk is but Perks extra D does not equal Krstic's extra O. And don't bring up the last 2 games. The big 4's defense has been shoddy at best, probably bcuz they are dead tired.

  • I_Love_Green

    We've wrapped up the #2 seed now. I really cannot see the Celts holding on to the number one spot, we just have to many injuries, and our guys are playing too many minutes.

    HOWEVA, in the east we don't need home court. I'm just concerned about getting a better record than the Lakers.

    • Chris O

      Crazy talk, the #1 and #2 are way different this year. You will get much harder first adn second round series and then also not have homecourt vs the 1 if both make the conference finals.

  • Ryan DeGama

    Via Chris Forsberg at ESPN Boston:

    "Celtics coach Doc Rivers said reserve forward/center Glen Davis is on schedule to return to action Sunday night against the Milwaukee Bucks and Delonte West should be back on the floor later next week."

  • Legs Diamond

    Rest the Vets and pamper the injured. What if the Celtics ARE #2 seed (for instance), there would be NO guarantee that the Bulls could close out the 4 seed Orlando or Miami, as little more than a gnat's eyelash in my opinion separates these clubs talent-wise. Finally, health is more important than home court (and Boston probably still takes L.A. in '10 if Perkins remains on the floor–they already took higher seeds Magic and Cavs). .

    • S.Dot

      I agree with u health is more important than HC though having HC would be nice. But people have to be realistic. This team is suffering badly from injuries, the starters have played a lot minutes these past few games and I think fatigue starting to get to them. Against the Bucks, Clippers and Sixers, the C's starters have come out with a lackluster performance and it gave those teams confidence. I think the Orlando and Miami can give the Bulls problems.

  • urbeltic

    Green doesn't want to play d, he just wants to shoot.

  • Steve B

    I thought I saw a stat near the end that the starters shot roughly 28% and the bench shot close to 50%. The bench was playing so well in the fourth with Arroyo and company I was hoping Doc just let them try to finish the game and rest everyone. If they can play that well there is no reason to keep piling on the minutes. Especially on a night when the starters are struggling. I'm looking forward to the return of the injured guys but now they need to reintegrate with the rest of the bench. A one week training camp before the playoffs what be just the ticket to put everyone on the same page.

  • celts4life

    It doesn't help that Paul Pierce is incapable of scoring on andre iguodala. He's too fat, too weak, and too slow to score on that kind of elite wing defender. He is shooting .300 on 12 FGA against philly and a lot of that has to do with the fact that he just isn't good enough to create separation from an athletic, focused defender like iggy who is skilled enough to keep up with his plodding footwork. Lebron should have no problem shutting him down either, the fact that no one is talking about our best scorer being shut down every time we play philly is kind of strange.

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