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Austin Triumphant: Hornets 90, Celtics 78

 
New Orleans Hornets 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
78 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett, PF 30 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -26

Garnett was outrebounded by Jeff Green tonight, which tells you all you need to know about how he struggled against the Hornets’ length. Three turnovers on top negates the decent shooting. So, it’s that rare down night for KG but a good lesson in the limitations of this roster when it comes to battling interior size like Lopez-Davis.

Brandon Bass, PF 33 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +1

Bass had a strong first quarter but like others on this roster, seems adrift in the offense when he’s not getting open mid-range jumpers. He’s had a bad year but he’s not the only supporting part that’s unintegrated into the whole.

Paul Pierce, SF 31 MIN | 5-16 FG | 1-3 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -10

Pierce ended up living on the perimeter against an imposing New Orleans interior. But his jumper was off. Off again. And then off some more.

Rajon Rondo, PG 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 11 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 7 PTS | -5

Outplayed by Greivis Vasquez, who made the C’s PG look entirely ordinary. Note, too, that he was unable to refashion himself as scorer once it became clear no one on the team could hit a jumpshot. Idle speculation – was Rondo the one calling for all those perimeter jumpers or was that the best the C’s could muster on any given possession?

Avery Bradley, PG 22 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -8

Non-entity on offense. The usual striking ball pressure, particularly in the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger, PF 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -2

I thought he played better than his numbers but let this be a reminder the Celtics are betting a dark horse if they expect Sully to be a major contributor come playoff time against tall, athletic frontlines.

Jeff Green, PF 25 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -3

A return to sub-mediocrity but it’s hard to fault him too much in that department because the entire team brought the blah tonight. Should put a halt to the notion he’s turned the corner.

Jason Collins, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +5

Except for the block, he would have had a perfect line of zeros.

Courtney Lee, SG 16 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -5

Believe it or not, I watched most of this game twice and fixated on Lee the second time through. It’s remarkable how often Lee gets beat off the dribble, often by going under picks and failing to recover quickly enough to prevent penetration.

Jason Terry, SG 24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -8

Made shots.

Leandro Barbosa, SG 3 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +1

7 points in 3 minutes is all sorts of awesome, even if it was borderline garbage time. Think what he could have done had he been inserted earlier in the game.

  • Switcharoo

    Seriously guys, the Hornets? Once I saw Lee bricking in the corner (same play on 2 possessions) in the 4th I knew the Cs weren’t going to make it out of the hole. The Hornets were just as bad but they had the lead at least.
    At one point the camera cut to a shot of Ainge looking on and he did not look to please, I could almost see the trade gears whirling. SMH

  • JR99

    If you think Bradley's contribution was only C-worthy… you need to rewatch that game. That brilliant 6-7 minutes of basketball at the beginning? That was all Bradley, doing his thing. Look with better eyes.

    • ronjohn63

      A brilliant 12.5% of a game and then nothing is definitely worthy of a "C".

      • redcon6803

        Bradley was 2-4 and the reason he did not put up better numbers offensively is because his teammates never passed him the ball. All of Bradley points came from his defensive effort. PP and RR needed to pass the ball to their other teammates. So a C is unfair to AB

  • Phil725

    Regarding the Rondo blurb; isn't the likely fatal flaw of the Celtics the fact that they just can't create good looks in the halfcourt at all? I don't think it's Rondo calling for them as much as, what else are they gonna do? A 'good' shot in this offense is an uncontested long 2, an inherently poor shot. It's hard for me to see the threats either inside or outside the three point arc that offer a consistently better option. They can lose on any night where multiple people are clanking jump shots because they just have no other alternative.

    I do think this isn't as bad a loss as it seems, the Hornets may be around the basement of the West, but they're playing better lately, and they match up very well with the Cs. The Cs just aren't a team that's gonna win 15 in a row. This long stretch of winnable/home games was always gonna have one or two bad losses and at least one good win. That's who the Cs are.

    Needless nitpick: I know more than anyone that Jason Collins sucks, but shouldn't that be reflected in his grade? He came in and played for 4 minutes, and while he was on the court, the team played well. Compared to expectations, I'd say he played better than about any other Celtic than Barbosa. What exactly are you people expecting out of Collins? We already saw his A+ game against the Bobcats, and I think he got a B-.

    • janos

      very good thinks here Phil this site is consist low rate rondos and i think other timews they are look the ordinary not rondos. b- him

  • Kafel

    Just when I think this team is on the run a game like this happens, against team that is on bottom of the West… And on top of that Eric Gordon did not play… c'mon!

    • Anthony

      In fairness, the Pelicans won 10 of their last 15 games. The more disappointing part is that the Celts expected to win by showing up and playing for 10 mins. Another win streak, starting with the Bulls tomorrow, will cure all.

  • Mark

    Are we ever going to see the Lee and Terry we thought we were getting on any consistent basis?

    Clearly this was a trap game. This loss means nothing if they beat the Bulls.

  • The Cardinal

    I've said it 500 times before: Barbosa should be the first guard off the bench because he's earned it, but the politics of managing NBA egos keeps him on the pine. He is the only player on the team who is comfortable attacking the basket consistently – everyone else either can't anymore (PP) or won't (RR).

    What happens when we go into those inevitable 5 – 6 minute scoring droughts? We stand around with our thumbs up our butts because no one has the energy or the tenacity to attack the basket except LB, who is usually playing head cheerleader on the bench (what a great attitude given the prima donna nature of his teammates!).

    As for Jason Collins? He's doing exactly what he's capable of doing by spelling guys without negatively impacting the team. Plus his size does have an impact on the opponent's ability to finish in the paint whether some of you believe it or not. Ya see Doc knows exactly what he will and won't get from Collins – it's his other bigs who are theoretically capable of so much more that's frustrating. That's why my continued screaming for trying to obtain someone who can score in the low post won't stop until we acquire such a player.

    It's obvious that the C's are not as bad as the horrible 3 game West Coast trip, but neither are they as good as the recent 6 game win streak. I dare say they are a lot closer to the team you saw last night than most want to believe and come playoff time, other teams will simply clog the paint until the jumpers stop falling. And given this head scratching run of sub par free throw shooting, I'm starting to wonder if fatigue isn't already affecting PP and KG.

  • Arha

    Vasquez: 5-16 shooting, 4 assists, 6 TO
    CeltcisHub: "Rondo was outplayed by Vasquez"

    • Phil725

      Rondo had 3-8 shooting, 11 assists and 5 TO. He wasn't much better. Considering one is a perennial all star, one was going against Bradley all night, and one led an offense that was much more successful, yes Rondo got outplayed by Vasquez. I don't think it's expecting too much from Rondo to criticize nights like last night.

  • KillerGymRat

    What an odd game. The first quarter AB face guards Vasquez and rips the ball right out of his hands for a clean steal, then kicks it ahead for an easy basket and suddenly the C's are up 11 and looking like they will blow it open. Vasquez looked frustrated and the entire Hornet team was out of rhythm. I was excited to see they would extend the streak to 7 and that this team can punish weaker ones (as they should).

    Then Austin checks in, and I can't help but wonder if the vets got in their heads because of knowing him since he was young, because suddenly Austin is getting all kinds of easy looks and making baskets, giving the Hornets energy, then Brian Roberts gets hurt, Doc selects Aminu to take the free throws when Roberts can't shoot them, Aminu hits both, then goes on to lead the team in scoring while the C's go on cruise control and start playing out of character, forcing bad shots, making wild passes and playing poor team D.

    Missed jump shots are one thing. But Rondo got faked off his feet trying to block the shot of a guy nearly a foot taller (Lopez I think)…then in the same play, Bass and Pierce mistakingly both rotate over to cover the same spot, then both get faked up in the air on another ball fake…that lead to a wide open dunk. That play pretty much summed up the nights effort for me. This team has no real shot blockers. The strength of the D is based on closing out on shooters and applying ball pressure. What the heck is Rondo doing trying to block a jump shot from a guy who towers over him and why are Bass and Pierce following his lead?

    My thought is the C's didn't take this team serious enough. They got a quick easy lead and started trying to dominate with flashy plays and big gambles on D. AB set the tone with that facial rip of Vasquez…but AB is AB and you don't make a steady diet of highlight plays on either end. You win by playing solid D and taking quality shots within the flow of the game.

    I not only saw Hero ball. I saw Hero D. Once it all started crumbling the C's never seemed to get their rhythm back and they looked pathetic against the Hornets bigs. Terrible early and often whistles against them didn't help, but let's hope this is a good lesson and a reminder to the players that this roster can't afford to take any team for granted and they can't afford to take it easy on the coaches son.

    • Phil725

      I would argue against Rivers getting a lot of easy looks. He's shooting about 30% on the year, and it's because those running bank shots from the free throw line aren't easy for a guy his size. He only had 3 baskets, and I can't remember one shot where I wasn't expecting a miss when it went up. The foul at the end of the third quarter by Pierce definitely seemed to be what you're describing though. If that's any other player, Pierce just puts a hand up and lets him brick that shot. It came right after the easiest iso bucket Pierce has had in five years against Rivers on the other end too.

      Totally agree with the rest. It's been driving me crazy for years, but for a team that's so consistently mentally tough when it matters, they have some of the biggest lapses and careless mentalities during the regular season. They seem to collectively take games off, take their foot off the pedal after they get up, stop playing the right way, and all kinds of stuff that they're not good enough to really do. The bench has been able to play well over this streak and save a couple of games the others mailed in, but they just didn't have it last night. In the end, it probably doesn't matter I guess. All we're talking about is seeding, and the season will come probably come down to the Miami series regardless.

      • KillerGymRat

        I should clarify, the easy looks weren't throughout the game – but during the key stretch when the C's had the game solidly in control up by 11 and he first checked into the game. After that point the Hornets went on a huge run to go up by 7. An undermanned Hornets squad has no business going on a 18 pt run against a team that prides itself on tough D.

        I agree Rivers makes weren't good shots. And I agree they never looked like they should go in. But Rivers isn't quick enough or strong enough to live in the paint the way he did to end the 2nd quarter and it was a result of nobody getting into him and forcing him to pass or shoot jumpers. I even blame Doc here because you could feel the momentum shifting and Doc could have locked up Austin with Bradley but didn't. I'm not saying Austin was a big factor in terms of numbers…but it was clear that unlike the other Hornets on the court, his familiarty with the team and the future hall of famers gave him a sense of comfort and fearlessness that infused the other players (such a Davis) who had come out tentative and were ready to give the game away under the pressure D. It was Austin's energy and his attacking the rim that sparked their run and got their bigs motivated.

        When you hit the champ and he staggers, the fear goes away. He hit us. They were garbage shots. But they hit.

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