(by Michael Pina)
|Paul Pierce, SF 36 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 20 PTS | -15In the game’s first six minutes, Pierce had 11 points on 4-4 shooting. Like most good defensive teams, the Sixers swallowed their pride and doubled him from that point on, completely taking him out of his rhythm. Fatigue may have been a factor, as the captain resorted to three-pointers and jumpers all night instead of aggressive drives to the basket, but 11 total shots after such a hot start was just one of the endless frustrating outcomes of tonight’s game.|
|Brandon Bass, PF 31 MIN | 8-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -16Despite his above average ability to knock down mid-range jumpers, defenses continue to leave him wide open when they opt to double the likes of Rondo, Pierce, or Garnett. I like Bass’ shot just fine, but taking 18 shots just isn’t his game.|
|Kevin Garnett, PF 30 MIN | 10-19 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | +9Garnett was stupendous on both ends tonight, especially offense. The Celtics were over-reliant on his jump shot, but he kept knocking it down. Unfortunately, due to the pace of last night’s game in Milwaukee, he could only log 30 minutes tonight.|
|Mickael Pietrus, SF 12 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +12Getting the start for an injured Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus suffered a devastating neck injury midway through the second quarter. Minutes after getting a step on Spencer Hawes and throwing down his most ferocious dunk in years, Pietrus collided with Lou Williams and awkwardly fell back to the court, landing on his back and experiencing terrible whiplash. After a 20 minute delay, he was carried off on a stretcher and taken to a local Philadelphia hospital.|
|Rajon Rondo, PG 39 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 17 AST | 6 PTS | -13It’s SO hard to criticize a point guard who tallies that many assists, but the expectations for Rondo in a game like this go beyond getting his teammates involved. There was no Ray Allen, and Pietrus wasn’t there for the second half, but Rondo still ended the game taking only five shots from the field. He didn’t attempt a single free-throw. It was easily the quietest, most discouraging 17 assist game I’ve ever seen.|
|Marquis Daniels, SG 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -16Getting unusual playing time due to a couple guys in front of him suffering injuries, Marquis Daniels wasn’t all that bad. His defense was solid, and on offense he moved well without the ball. Still, this is Marquis Daniels, and watching him play such a big role in a game this important was tough to swallow.|
|Ryan Hollins, C 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | -1In his first two minutes as a Celtic, Ryan Hollins missed a wide-open layup, three free-throws, and was called for a technical foul. I didn’t expect him to play tonight at all so the expectations were in the basement to begin with, but seriously. Yikes.|
|Avery Bradley, SG 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -2When Avery Bradley hits a corner three—which he did late in the first quarter—it’s one of the prettiest sights a Celtics fan can see. It was the second three-pointer of his career.|
Three Things We Saw
- Pinning this loss on the indescribable emotional let down that comes with watching one of your teammates get carried off on a stretcher is an acceptable excuse on most nights. Tonight isn’t one of them. The same weaknesses that have haunted this team all season long killed them against Philadelphia. Beginning in the third quarter, when they were outscored 37-17, the Celtics turned the ball over at an alarming rate, gave up second chance points, failed to move the ball, and got away from the layered defense that’s been their strength these last few years. The Sixers had 14 offensive rebounds to the Celtics’ three. The Sixers had 18 fast break points to the Celtics’ three. The Sixers took 92 shots, and the Celtics took 74. Gross.
- Lou Williams showed some class after the final buzzer, going up to Doc Rivers and, I assume, expressing his concern for Mickael Pietrus. Williams collided with the Celtic in the second quarter and sent him crashing to the court on what would normally be deemed a routine foul.
- The good news? Boston held Evan Turner in check. The bad news? Every one else scored at will, especially Elton Brand who finished with 20 points. In their last match-up, Brand had 18. The two games are his second and third highest point totals of the season. So, yeah. That’s neat.
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Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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