The Celtics were an Avery Bradley rolled ankle away from winning this game. Ramon Sessions hit a wide open jumper with 25 seconds to go after Bradley, post-ankle roll, couldn’t recover to challenge the shot. This loss is especially disappointing when you consider that the Celtics face the Bulls on Wednesday. The C’s would much rather be welcoming the Bulls to TDGarden while riding an 8 game win streak instead of losing to one of these worst teams in the league.
All signs point to Leandro Barbosa being out for the rest of the season. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI tomorrow in Boston and declined to talk to the media after game. A. Sherod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet is reporting that Barbosa left the arena limping but under his own power. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has tweeted that the injury will likely end the guard’s season. The battle of the Beat Reporters has begun. I think we’re all hoping Blakely’s description is more accurate, however, it’s likely that they’re both right. And that sucks.
The Celtics allowed Byron Mullens to completely go off. Mullens has 25 points through 3 quarters and finished the game with 18 rebounds. Letting a no-name dominate a game used to be a staple of the way the Celtics operated the regular season (remember Oleksiy Pecherov?!) but has been largely absent this season. Mullens isn’t exactly a no-name, but he’s not a 25 and 18 guy.
Tonight was a game in which the Celtics needed Courtney Lee and Jeff Green to step up their production. Pierce, Garnett, and Terry were all exhausted and the C’s were still a bucket or two away from putting the Bobcats away. Green answered the call and Lee was a relative no-show. I won’t go as far to say he’s become a liability (I mean, the Celtics have won seven of their last eight) but with Barbosa out, Lee playing up to his ability is needed now more than ever.
The Bobcats are having a really down year. They’re 29th in offensive efficiency, 30th in defensive efficiency, and need wins where they can get them. While the Celtics spent their last seven games becoming the hottest team in the league, the Bobcats were being run out of gyms all over the nation. Despite the Celtics playing on the road after going seven rounds with the Nuggets at home, they still should have won. The Celtics held the lead for the majority of tonight’s game but failed to ever put the Bobcats away. Early on, it looked as though the C’s were convinced they would just out-talent the Bobcats instead of using superior execution and match-up advantages. For all the heroics the Celtics displayed last night, they slogged through just as much lazy basketball tonight. It’s important to keep in mind just how exhausted the C’s were to start this game, let alone finish it but it still doesn’t make losing a very winnable game to the Bobcats any easier to digest.