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.