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C’s Blast Off: Celtics 103, Houston 91

 

Houston Rockets 91 FinalRecap | Box Score 103 Boston Celtics

Five Things We Saw

  1. Jared Sullinger showed no signs of letting down after a career performance on Wednesday against the Suns. He followed up that 12 point, 16 rebound performance with a 14 point, 11 rebound night. There were several moments where Sully found himself amongst four red jerseys and he still came up with the ball. Watching this impressive start to this young guy’s career is really awesome.
  2. The Celtics defense to start the fourth quarter was scary-bad. The C’s came out for the third quarter up 78-66 and proceeded to play 5 straight minutes of uninspired basketball. It was painful to watch as the 12 point lead dwindled to two with nearly half the quarter gone. Houston began getting buckets in transition and hitting wide open threes. Things looked bleak for the C’s until they responded and put the Rockets away for good. It was really nice to see the C’s come back and bring energy late in the fourth.
  3. Aside from letting up in the second half of the third quarter, Houston also shot themselves in the foot tonight by not making their free throws. The Rockets shot 12-29 from the charity stripe, which failed to stifle any Celtics run.
  4. Houston was CHUCKING tonight. They attempted 33 three pointers. To put that in perspective, the Knicks average 29 three point attempts per game. It’s a good thing that they only made 9 of them.
  5. The Celtics did a really nice job of forcing Jeremy Lin and James Harden into taking some tough shots. Sure there were times when the defense got their wires crossed and Harden and Lin made the C’s pay. But overall, the C’s wings did a solid job pressuring Houston’s dynamic backcourt.
  • jonathan

    who else loved that Jeff Green dunk?

    • CelticsBIG3

      KG's was better

  • Josh_5

    I want a Jeff Green highlight reel put together! (With appearances by Al Jefferson and Jermaine O'neal)

    • CelticsBIG3

      Especially the JO dunk. I hate JO.

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com greenheadz

    Actually, Josh, I don't have them all together but you can find some of Jeff's dunks at: http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com. Look for the "Conjunction Dunktion" series for Jeff and the rest of the Celtics (and some other surprise guests).

    And, MAN, those dunks were SICK!! I don't know if you guys are seeing what I'm seeing, but Jeff seems like he's showing more emotion and enjoying the game more these days.

    • jpbl1976

      Yeah, I noticed he's bringing the nasty a bit more now.

      That said, he should really work on his handle. Part of the reason we see him hesitating so much is that I think he's not confident enough of his handle.

      I notice that most of his highlights come from when he's under single coverage and he can use his long wingspan to effectively get a "step ahead" of his defender — case in point that drive on Beasley the other day. When Green's not successful, it's usually when there's a defender close by to take swipes or prevent him from stretching his reach. He just doesn't have the locomotive driving style of Lebron or the quick first step that Durant has.

  • complexity

    What the heck. This is one really interesting turn around, if I've ever seen one. I thought they were one of the worse teams in the league, then they string together 5 impressive wins?

    • Phil725

      Well, you could say it's a combination of a lot of things; players settling into their spots in the rotation, more consistent production from guys like Courtney Lee and Jeff Green, a couple big games from the old guys, Sullinger's emergence as a monster, the return of an elite defense.

      I think we all know the real reason is the appearance of the savior, Avery Bradley. I tried to tell everyone after the Kings game that the savior will only appear when things look the darkest… Ta-dah!

      On a serious note, I attribute it to two things; improved energy since Bradley's return, and a bench that doesn't stink now that it's a set unit. The Celtics have a recent history of not caring about the regular season, but Bradley, Sullinger and some of the other bench guys are making them care. On the bench, both the Terry/Lee group and the Sullinger/KG group have been extremely effective. I think the way Terry had been misused before Bradley's return was a little underrated.

  • swissflix

    Boy the Rockets must be happy they got Royce White instead of Sully!
    This game just proved how good Pierce is – he scored when the Rockets smelled comeback within 2. Calmly drowned a difficult jumper to stop the momentum and got the D back together.

    If they trade Pierce i will stop watching the Celtics. It would just hurt too much despite all the business.

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com greenheadz

    Man, that poor kid and those poor Rockets! You know, I really do feel for him because it seems like a legitimate mental affliction he has, but at the same time, Rockets management has to figure out what to do with a draft pick that's essentially become a dud…at least for now. I keep hearing about him moving on to another team, but won't it just be the same problem for him and whatever team he goes to? Can he even play in professional sports with that inability to really travel? I am sooo glad that we did get Sully and not him, no offense to Royce. And Jeff does look tentative at times. I never really thought about his ball handling, but that definitely could be it. I kind of wonder why he doesn't do more of that drive where he extends the ball high above his head so no one can block it on the way to the hoop. Guess I'll have to check out his handle more often!

    • Phil725

      I still have hope for Royce White in the NBA. Things may be too irreparable with the Rockets for him to play there, but maybe that leads to him landing in a better situation for him. I don't know all the details on the situation there (I'm not even sure if they're available,) but I do think both sides are at fault to some extent. If White ends up somewhere else where they handle him a little better and he works to make sure things don't end up the same again, maybe he ends up contributing.

      There are still questions about him on the court too that shouldn't be overlooked, but if the price was a second round pick or something like that, I'd take a flier on him.

      • CelticsBIG3

        I disagree with you here. This guy wants to take a bus to games; your making big time money, hire a psychologist and therapist and get over your fear to fly. I wouldn't want him on this team in a million years.

        • Phil725

          That type of attitude is exactly the blame I lay at the Rockets' feet. The whole 'hire a psychologist and get over it' mentality towards someone with a mental illness is why he's not a fit on all teams. I don't know what the Rockets did, but I understand if White soured on Houston quickly if they treated him like that in some way. I don't understand why people think his condition is something he can just 'get over.'

          If you want to treat everyone the same and force them to conform to the standard team guidelines, fine. You're losing access to a few players like that though. I'm of the belief that if the team saw how hard he was fighting with his condition and if he showed up and worked his ass off, the players wouldn't care if he took a bus or whatever. No one's perfect.

          • CelticsBIG3

            But has he even done that (showed up and worked his ass off)? They asked him to go play in the D League and he reused to do that. He's not gonna be taking any planes in the D League; and I never said get over it, but he's not going to improve his condition at all if he doesn't get any treatment. Maybe I come off as mean here but the kid is squandering an opportunity a small fraction of basketball players get. You pay me a million a year I'll ride on the wings of the plane.

          • Phil725

            That's why I say there's some blame on White as well. I don't think the Rockets handled the situation well, but I also don't think White gave them a big margin of error. You have to properly gauge his mindset before you bring him in; if he's willing to make concessions as you make concessions, maybe it works out. There's a reason I said I wouldn't pay more than a second round pick. You can find those in the garbage behind any small market stadium in the NBA, you can't find lottery talents just anywhere.

            I could be wrong, but I recall the start of problems in Houston being that they wanted him to go to a different doctor than the one he wanted. That's a case where I would let him have his way if I was the team, it's in your best interest for him to be as comfortable as possible. It's not that he's not trying to get better, he has been very forward and open about his condition and working to improve it, and that makes some of these problems even more frustrating.

            I know you're not attacking the guy or anything, but that last line comes right back to the disconnect a lot of people have with his condition; give me a million dollars and I'll ride on a plane too. Give me a million dollars and a mental illness that doesn't let me, and I don't know. There are plenty of players one thing away from NBA stardom. White's no different than a 2 guard without a jump shot. He's on the border of the NBA, but unless he improves one thing, he won't make it. It could still go either way, and I don't have enough information to know for sure.

  • CG12

    The defense wasn't good to start the 4th, but the offense was worse. They were running the full "Rondo walks it up, pounds it for 10 seconds while they set 120 picks that don't work, and then someone has throw up some junk to beat the shot clock" offense. They just aren't a good offensive team when they work at such a slow pace. You don't need to try to fast break every time, but get the all up quick and get into your offense, and good things will happen. It seems like early in the 4th is when they really have problems with that. I'm not sure if they are tired, trying to work the clock, or both, but it always produces bad results.

  • Anthony

    The calls on AB has got to stop. There was 2 calls where he played perfect D but the ref bails out the opposing team because they can't handle it. SMH. Love the names AB and CLee are getting for defense…. "The Pitbulls", "Helter Skelter", "Killer Ds"

    At least once a game, Rondo plays pick and roll with Collins knowing that his pass will only hit Collins on the head and cause a turnover. Why even bother? That play probably doesn't work in practice. Lol

    Oh, and Go Sully!

    • Phil725

      There was one ref (#56, I think it was Poole, but not sure,) who had a terrible day. He called a number of fouls where the guy wasn't even touched, and still managed to induce technical worthy rants for blatant no-calls at the same time. He was responsible for the calls on Bradley, along with two questionable ones on Sullinger. There were bad ones in the Celtics favor too, but I didn't bother remembering those :P Bradley's game comes with the side effect of fouls though; they're gonna happen. If it leads to as many turnovers as it did on Friday, it's worth it.

      • Anthony

        I was more upset with the couple of bad foul calls on Harden. Harden is a great offensive player and doesn't need the additional advantage the refs' whistles. Though I'm sure I'm with the minority, I love watching AB play defense. I just want to watch great defense against great offense.

        Also love watching Sully get those offensive rebounds and putbacks over 2-3-4 people. And he's not even 21 yet!

        • Phil725

          You're talking about the clean strips that they whistled as reaches, right? I only remember one bad shooting foul, and that was a bad on the floor call first (should've either been a charge or no call/travel,) that they somehow made worse by calling it in the act.

          It's a minority, but I'm totally with you on Bradley. The big plays and steals where you can see the other ball handler getting annoyed are great, but even the stuff where he fights over a screen and beats the ball handler to the spot are great to watch. That's as rare to see on defense as a lot of highlight offensive stuff.

          Sully's play has been fun to watch too. We haven't had a great offensive rebounder since maybe Leon Powe (well, Big Baby, but those memories are clouded by all my memories of him being fed the ball shortly after rebounding it.) It's a ton of fun. Even the plays where he gets the position and gets fouled are an extra possession that you otherwise wouldn't have had. Everyone likes to say that rebounding translates from college, and I've seen nothing so far that makes me think that's a fluke. If his offensive game could expand beyond picking up the trash? We could be looking at the PF of the Celtics for a long time.

  • Morpheus

    Agreed, Jeff with better handles would make him a more rounded out offensive threat. That and a consistent tough, aggressive competitive mentality.

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