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Inevitable: Spurs 87, Celtics 86

 
San Antonio Spurs 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
86 Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce, SF 35 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +4

Hard to fault Pierce for the last shot attempt. The Spurs did an excellent job denying the inbounds pass and by the time he got the ball he had to shoot an ill-advised step back. A shade the other way and we’re talking about how clutch Pierce is.

Overall, it was great to see Pierce’s jumper falling and his decision to continue attacking the basket despite not getting any calls from the officials. To make matters worse, he was in foul trouble for most of the night. I know Pierce has been in the game a long time, but it still must be frustrating to get fouls called on you and not go to the free throw line once.

Brandon Bass, PF 29 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +3

Bass wasn’t his usual self on the offensive end. He didn’t get nearly as many touches on pick-and-pop plays as he’s used to and his point total suffered because of it. That said, he was unbelievable on defense tonight. He stayed on the floor when he needed to, he anticipated really well, and he played excellent pick-and-roll defense in the second half. His team defense has been a long time coming but at least it appears to be here.

Kevin Garnett, PF 33 MIN | 7-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -7

Garnett missed a lot of open jumpers tonight and even struggled in a switch on Danny Green in the post. On the flip side, he played with his usual intensity which is always welcome.

Ray Allen, SG 35 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | +3

Ray Allen was the beneficiary of some grade inflation. He played terribly for much of the game and was almost entirely ineffective on offense. Despite his less-than-stellar return, Allen was active on the glass and hit a three in the fourth quarter to keep the game competitive.

Rajon Rondo, PG 44 MIN | 8-15 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 11 AST | 17 PTS | 0

Rondo played his heart out until about three minutes to go in the game. It’s hard to fault him for letting up considering how many minutes he spent running his team up and down the floor. He consistently pushed the ball up the floor which could have been the sole offensive-related reason the Celtics came back in the third quarter.

Keyon Dooling, PG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0

This grade was more of an incomplete. His most memorable moment was taking a funny runner on a fast break that rimmed out. Dooling felt contact and thought he would get the call, didn’t, and missed a tough shot. Ray Allen played 35 minutes and Dooling played 10. I really wish they met somewhere in the middle.

Sasha Pavlovic, SF 13 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -5

Pavlovic really made the most of his minutes tonight. He still continues to move about the court as if he can’t bend his back but any positive minutes he can give while Pietrus is out is gravy.

Greg Stiemsma, C 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -5

Stiemsma was a victim of both the Celtics decision to play small ball and his complete inability to adequately defend the pick-and-roll.

Avery Bradley, SG 34 MIN | 9-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +2

Bradley continues to completely wow on both ends of the floor. It was really hard to find anything negative about his performance tonight.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Doc Rivers made a critical mistake taking Brandon Bass out in favor to Kevin Garnett with under three to go. I don’t mind a tired Garnett coming back in the game but he should have replaced Allen. The Spurs had Duncan and Bonner in the game and Garnett and Bass could have easily held their own on defense. I know Allen made a crucial three pointer, but the Spurs snagged four offensive rebounds in the last three minutes. I’m pretty sure preventing those were worth more than three points.
  2. On a positive note, the Celtics can hang with the second best team in the West. I know the Spurs played last night and were on the road but their marquee players got plenty of rest after blowing Cleveland out. It’s hard to take any moral victories from any loss but if you were going to, tonight would be the night. The C’s battled back, they played extremely hard, and they were a play away from winning.
  3. The Celtics may have squandered two things by losing tonight. Toronto gave the C’s a huge gift by destroying the Sixers. To make matters worse, the Celtics have to travel to Chicago tomorrow to play the Bulls and word on the street is that Derrick Rose plans to play. The Celtics may be looking at a quick two game losing streak before they even know what hit them.
  • ultimatejedi

    Inevitable? This really is a pessimistic place.

    • I_Love_Green

      Do you want us to think we'll go undefeated or something?

      • someguyinsac

        What else would an ultimate Jedi expect to happen? Use the Force! :)

  • IBleedGreen

    PP iso at the end of game doesn't work…

    • Anthony

      Agreed. Unfortunately this season, PP has much harder time getting by his man, turns the ball over, or makes the wrong/ delayed decision (i.e. against the Fakers when he should've passed to Ray). And the times he can get to his spot, he's not shooting the ball with the same accuracy we've come to expect from the Truth.

  • Justanotherfan

    2 offensive rebounds lost us the game. Why am I not surprised?

    • Anthony

      Bonner and Capt Jack had a combined 19 rebs!! Think their combined avg is ~6.5reb.

      Missed FT always comes back to haunt you. Sighhh.

  • CelticsBIG3

    After such a great play run for Ray to get him free for the 86th point, PP gives us a lousy iso play that he should have wrecked Duncan on a drive to hoop with.

  • Puneet

    Bottom line, shooting 46% free throws is not going to get it done. We make two more and we win. Also, agreed on the PP iso – every one and their mother knows that's what we will do in the end game. Can Doc / coaching staff not come up with a few more options and practice them?

  • ElRoz

    This was a bad loss – why? Because there is a BIG chance that Boston just started a 2 game losing streak as they play in Chicago tomorrow. Dare I say they might have started a 3-4 game losing streak? That would be too pessimistic and negative. One thing is clear, with tough roads games coming up (Chicago and Indiana) they needed this home game win – they needed it. With Phily losing tonight, the C's could have made a very strong move en route to #4 seed in the East. It was wasted opportunity and I hope it doesn't cost them the #4 seed.

  • someguyinsac

    A made free throw or two instead of misses, would have made all the difference in the end.

  • fan from Taiwan

    come on guys!! We'll win next couple games!!

  • CelticsBIG3

    The caps were on the buckets for seemingly a long time tonight early in the game, guys need to eat their Wheaties!!!

  • misel

    i HATE one-point losses.

    ugh.

    i just hope that the C's, coming off from a loss like this, will play madder against the bulls and the pacers.

  • CelticsBIG3

    And being a redhead, I hate to beat by another redhead… Especially one from New England.

  • Justanotherfan

    Loved Brad tonight though. Did a tremendous job, but in vain.

  • Anthony

    I wonder what was Doc's thought process in put Ray back in the starting line-up so soon. Couldn't he have told Ray that he will slowly acclimate him back as a starter or does he think Ray's feelings will get hurt if he comes off the bench? Wonder how Popovich would've handle that situation.

    Not too much to be disappointed at an 1 point lost to a Spurs team that's one of the league's best riding an 8 game winning streak.

    • someguyinsac

      That makes me think back to when Rick Adelman reinserted Chris Webber back into the Kings starting lineup years ago after his knee injury and destroyed the chemistry they had built up without him up to that point. Kind of wish Doc had kept that in mind and had Ray work his way back into game shape off the bench before tossing him back into the starting lineup. I know, it's sacrilegious and blasphemy to say that, but I was hoping that it's what Doc had done in this instance.

    • doc is a moron

      Doc is a clown….he cant hurt his poor boo boo ray ray i wish they fire his ass

  • High Rollers

    Well, almost walked the walk. Definitely didn’t get enough stops tonight.

    • High Rollers

      I mean in that first half, of course. Still gritty at the end of the day, though.

  • someguyinsac

    I need a Janos fix to help get over this one. Where are you. Janos the man?

  • ripsonics

    remind me why with a great play caller in Doc, and a team that executes unlike any other – we ran ISO at the end! After we freed up ray on the baseline for that masterful shot? REALLY!?

    The ONLY thing I can think of is the play broke down, but then again, I don't really think they were trying anything after they in-bounded.

    Couple things late in the game that really bothered me. Rondo rolling the damn ball up the court and then KG carelessly throwing it away to steve jack. That really got me hot.

    We are close – and Bradley needs to start. 19 points off the bench? Nuff said.

  • Jordonn

    We as fans need to just support out team & stop being so negative. We lost by a point to an extremely good team. Stop being so picky and negative just support the team they’ve come a long way and we should be grateful.

  • Phil

    One of the most frustrating games of the year for me. Between missed free throws, bad defense (first half only,) offensive rebounds and missed open shots, it just felt like this game was there for the Celtics to take, and they couldn't. Considering their schedule going forward, that's a big deal. Luckily, it doesn't look like the 76ers are anything close to the team they used to be, so the Celtics could win the Atlantic by default.

    Its easy to question in hindsight, but putting Ray right back into the starting lineup looked like a mistake fueled by Doc letting the media get to him. He clearly wasn't ready to play heavy minutes and run with the starters tonight. It also seemed like the move forced Rondo into extra minutes, because Bradley/Rondo is much more effective than Bradley/anything else. Bradley's play continues to impress the hell out of me.

  • Dice

    Stiemsma with the A+ FTW

  • yeah

    I still haven't gotten a life so I ran the NBA Playoff Simulator using the Current Standings another 100 times tonight. I kept track of the results in Excel. Here are the results:

    Bulls: 19 titles, won their 1st title in 1st simulation (try).
    Clippers: 2 titles, won in 2nd try.
    Spurs: 16 titles, won in 3rd try.
    Nuggets: 3 titles, won in 8th try.
    Pacers: 5 titles, won in 10th try.
    Magic: 9 titles, won in 12th try.
    Heat: 14 titles, won in 14th try.
    Sixers: 4 titles, won in 15th try.
    Hawks: 1 title, won in 17th try.
    Mavericks: 3 titles, won in 20th try.
    Thunder: 15 titles, won in 24th try.
    Celtics: 3 titles, won in 28th try.
    Lakers: 6 titles, won in 30th try.

    The Knicks made one appearance in the finals, in which they lost to the Lakers. The Grizzlies made it to the finals once, in which they lost to the Bulls. The Rockets never made it to the finals.

    The Celtics won 3 titles, against:
    The Spurs, in the 28th try
    The Thunder, in the 32nd try
    The Lakers, in the 68th try (w00t)

    The Celtics also lost one to the Clippers, in the 97th or 98th try or something. Of note is that the Playoff Predictor actually /favored/ the Clippers in this matchup. It was not an upset, according to the Predictor.

    The Lakers won 3 titles against the Heat, 1 against the Bulls, and one which I have forgotten. It was probably the Pacers.

    The Sixers, in the 7th seed, have a seemingly easier route to the finals than they did the last time I ran this simulation (300 times – see the "Utossed" article after which we beat Utah for the results of that night) and a seemingly easier route than the Celtics. The Sixers only had to beat Miami and either Atlanta or Indiana to get to the Eastern Conference finals; while the Celtics almost /always/ had to go through both the Bulls and Magic to reach the same point. This is because the Magic currently have the 5th seed.

    Of note is that it took the Thunder 24 tries to even get their first title. The last time I ran this, they won initially won it in just 1 try, and went on to win 99/300 trials.

    Of further note is that 13 different teams (13/16) won it in just the first 30 tries. It took 95 tries before the 11th different team won last time; and all 300 for the 13th to win (which, of course, was the Clippers in the last simulation).

  • ElRoz

    Part 3 of the 3 Things we saw tonight is in agreement with my comments. I hope I'm wrong, but I smell a 3 game losing streak – could have capitalized on the Phily loss!

    I don't understand why Doc started Ray Allen? Isn't it the point to bring him back gradually? Especially with Bradley playing like he is? Doc should have started Bradley and had Ray play about 20 minutes.

    KG has got to be better offensively – 50% of his offense are these jumpers – so improve and knock them down!

    Never heard once Doc say anything about getting better at the FT line in the last 5 years…apparently he does not value that aspect? Ok.

    • Phil

      Free throw shooting isn't a problem for this team. 'Getting' to the free throw line has been a problem, but they're top ten in the league (I think better than that actually,) once they get there. This was just a fluke game for the most part; Bass was 3/6, and Pavlovic and Rondo were 0/2 each, that was all the misses. Bass hit 10/10 against the Heat, so I'm not too worried about him. Rondo's FT woes are nothing new, and Pavlovic's free throw shooting is entirely inconsequential. The refs were letting them play at both ends, so Pierce and KG didn't shoot as many as they usually would.

      I'm with you on Ray/Bradley though. Seemed to me like Doc didn't want to create a media story by bringing Ray off the bench. Just speculation though.

  • Jivansky

    Still a great game nonetheless. ?
    We showed them that we cannot be beaten that easily.
    We’ll play much better game tomorrow and will win the game against the Bulls.
    Go Cs!!!

  • htown

    This felt like a good loss if there is such a thing. The only problem is that with the ridiculous schedule coming up it would have been nice to snag one in a close game. But really, Pierce can make that shot, as bad as it looks, and if it falls, all we're talking about now is the absolutely stellar D the C's played in the second half.

    Bradley is still looking nice, but it doesn't really matter when he gets his minutes as long as he gets them, seeing as Doc is throwing so many lineups out there (often with three guards) anyway. Not too discouraged. A win tomorrow would do wonders.

  • felix

    why is everyone talking about a possible losing streak right now? who knows what's to happen. What matters is how they got back into the game. Pierce was clearly out of it. Wonder what all the talk would be if he had made that shot. would anyone still talk about that possible losing streak?
    The only thing that really bothered me were the missed free throws. 4 of 11 midway through the third, down by 7. do the math!

  • skeeds

    Am I the only one that thinks bringing Bradley off the bench works out amazingly? He is PERFECT for a 6th man job. High energy, makes his living off of pure hustle, pretty much destroys any opponent's rhythm with his energy.

    I say definitely keep bringing him off the bench and give him good minutes. Ray will eventually find his feet, but even if he doesn't, I'd rather start Pietrus in the playoffs.

  • CG12

    I didn't get to watch the game because my DVR freaked out and didn't record it, but it is hard to get too worked up about a 1-point loss to the Spurs. You would like to win, of course, but the Spurs are a damn good team.

    The thing that struck me the most from the box score was that Avery's minutes stayed up, even though Ray could a decent-sized chunk, as well. The Stiemer played the fewest minutes he has seen for a while. The Cs must have been very small for long stretches. There must have been at least some Rondo-Bradley-Ray-PP-Garnett/Bass. I actually like that lineup an awful lot, against the right opponent.

    Cs will bounce back with a huge effort against the Bulls tonight. This one matters a lot more than the SA game does.

    • The Cardinal

      Down the stretch, Doc went with Rondo-Bradley-Allen-Pierce- and KG or Bass. Steimsma got benched because of his inability to guard Bonner at the three point line during the 2nd quarter. Bonner knocked down two uncontested 3's, and Doc quickly decided this wasn't a good matchup.

      Had we shot free throws the way we normally do, we would have won by a couple of points. Bass was 3 of 6, Rondo was 0 of 2, and Sasha was 0-2.

  • CG12

    Also, PP hits that step-back regularly. It is easy to question it because it didn't go in. But in general, I think you can live with that, even if it isn't the best play ever.

    And how about CHub giving Bass props for his D? You guys have been on him like a cheap suit about his lack of defensive acumen. And now he was "unbelievable"? How fast things can change.

  • doc is a moron

    last second shots > paul pierce

  • IBleedGreen

    The last second shot should be PP/KG pick and roll (pick and pop)…just saying

  • tbunny

    Geez people are so negative. Yes the celtics have flaws. DUH. But they played probably their best half of defense all year and competed hard all game against one of the top 3-4 teams in the league and almost won. Did you see how they just totally shut down the spurs in the second half? The loss sucks but this was not a bad loss.

    People whining about Ray starting: Ray played 35 minutes, Bradley played 34, so shut up already.

    People assuming the celtics are losing tonight: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? The Celtics aren't afraid of anybody. They don't care if Rose is playing. The Bulls have lost plenty of games this year. Garnett and Allen are probably going to shoot better. The Celtics will play hard all game and have a very good chance to win.

  • Tom

    The C's are going to continue losing against the bulls tonight guaranteed by ricky !! I have a full explanation why as well as how u can make good bets on the game on my blog so come on in! http://nbawagers.com/2012/04/how-to-wager-on-bost

  • Tom

    The losing for the celts will continure tonight against the bulls! The bulls will not be denied a win for the 3 time in a row! I have the explanation why and how to bet it on my blog and its all for free! we just want some new readers! http://nbawagers.com/2012/04/how-to-wager-on-bost

  • janos

    Hi Brayden, is Janos
    This game a big disappoint me, but spurgood team there and we hold own. Is critcel stage now us , many game in short time. Can we put schedual up game look?

    Did you seen Griffith posterize laker ? I was so happy.

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