Celtics-Sixers Takeaways (And Other Notes)
Posted by Ryan DeGama on Mar 12, 2011
The Celtics have won games of this type more often than not in 2010-11. The energy deficit, the 41.8% shooting, the trouble with athletic frontcourts, the fourth quarter scoring problems — these phenomena have been common all season. But the end result hasn’t.
In that sense, the Celtics failed to grasp the only real prize here: an upward tick in the standings. Because most of what happened tonight will be irrelevant come the playoffs.
So, let’s try and pull a few meaningful pieces from tonight’s loss, and touch on a few other pertinent Celtics-related items as we go:
- All the missed shots tonight (and Wednesday against the Clips) were not a function of the new players on the roster. The offense actually generated a lot of good looks in both games. Boston just didn’t convert the way you’d expect them to. This feels more anomalous than indicative of some trend, considering Boston’s 8-2 record over the ten games previous.
- If a few more of those shots did fall, we could easily be on the backside of two wins, and focused on the team’s continued ability to close out tight games under difficult circumstances. We’d be talking about resilience. Instead, we’re talking about how the team is tired, how the starters are in a slump. It’s a make or miss league, goes the cliche and it seems an appropriate one right now. If the Celtics go win a few games behind renewed play from the starters, this will all be forgotten.
- After 43 brutal minutes on Wednesday, Rajon Rondo played only 35 tonight, three below his season average. Carlos Arroyo had 13 capable minutes behind RR and is great backup PG material for now, much more than Nate Robinson ever was. It’d be nice to see Arroyo (or Delonte West) up near the 15-18 minute mark over the next few weeks, with RR falling back to 30-32. But I don’t believe it will happen. Not for a second.
- Nenad Krstic is more than just a throw-in to the Jeff Green deal. Even if Jermaine O’Neal is healthy enough to contribute in the playoffs, Krstic may be a better fit for this team. He’s more mobile than J.O., and he and Glen Davis should work well together, with both able to play inside and out. The 16 points and 15 rebounds he put up tonight included another 4 rough ‘n’ tumble offensive rebounds and the Celtics could desperately use some second chance points to juice up the offense. If Krstic is working in the paint, he can provide exactly that. And if he’s stretching the floor, he gives Davis the opportunity to work in the post and crash the offensive boards himself. He used to do that all the time, and with legitimate efficiency. Of course, this kind of rotation talk assumes Doc Rivers will be able to take his pick of big men because they’ll all be ready to go for the first playoff game. Maybe not the safest bet?
- Speaking of Davis, ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg reports that he’s due back Sunday.
- Jeff Green had his second solid game as a member of the Celtics. He got up 14 shots from all over the floor, and hit 7 of them. Royce Young of the Daily Thunder warned us we’d be frustrated with him at times and that’s already proving to be true. Green seems like the kind of player who can be invisible for a half and then light up a defense for a dozen quick points — and then go right back to being invisible. I can already see how I’m going to dislike him standing on the wing shooting threes. He’s not a good long-range shooter. It’s early, but I like him much more in transition than anything else. I also look forward to seeing him play some lockdown defense on elite wings. The upcoming game against the Knicks looks like a good place to test his mettle on that front. He’s got the length to play Carmelo Anthony straight up.
- It looks like Doc is going to play Green at both the 3 and the 4. One of the excuses made for Green’s lack of production in OKC was that he was played out of position. That’s not going to change, apparently.
- Rondo’s mid-range jumper. You got excited. Admit it.
- The Celtics repeatedly got to the rim against the Sixers but how many shots did the Sixers either block or alter right at the goal? They’re only credited with 5 blocks but the number of point blank shots they turned into misses/turnovers must have been around a dozen.
- By the time Troy Murphy is back into game shape, he’ll be completely out of the rotation.
- Now that we’re all obsessing about Chicago, here’s one that might have slipped through the cracks over the last couple days. They’re without Carlos Boozer right now. He sprained his ankle on Wednesday, missed Friday’s game against Atlanta and will likely miss another game or two beyond that.
Okay, that should do it for tonight.
Everybody have a good weekend…