The Celtics missed Avery Bradley tonight. Rip Hamilton had a field day against Jason Terry, Leandro Barbosa and Rajon Rondo, drawing fouls and using his superior height to his advantage. Had Bradley been available, Rip would have surely been limited.
This one stings. The Celtics still lost despite benefitting from Luol Deng leaving the game early after re-aggravating his bothersome hamstring. Deng was pretty ineffective all game, and had he been healthy this game could have easily been a blood bath.
The Celtics almost escaped tonight. Make no mistake about it. It took a superhuman offensive performance from Rondo, and Kevin Garnett and Jared Sullinger playing the whole fourth quarter for the C’s to almost pull this one out.
Carlos Boozer played MVP level basketball through three quarters and disappeared in the fourth. His only point came on a free throw from a very questionable foul call on Paul Pierce with 22.5 left. I think his stumble in the fourth quarter was due in part to cooling off and not going against Brandon Bass. The combination of KG and Sullinger on defense in the fourth was reminiscent of Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk pairing (god, I am so happy hockey is back.).
The officiating was just AWFUL tonight. To qualify: the refs didn’t favor one side over the other. They just continuously made one bad call after the other. The litany includes: the Pierce/Noah jumpball (italize), the out of bounds call on Rondo that was overturned, the Nate Robinson phantom foul. To make matters worse, it seemed like every blown whistle was momentum stifling. Overtime notwithstanding, when three players foul out and one player has 5 personal fouls, the game is not being officiated properly.