Post-game Reactions

Boston Celtics 110 FinalRecap | Box Score 107 Utah Jazz

Five Things We Saw

      1. And with that, the road trip mercifully ends. It’s only fitting that the C’s would allow this game to go to overtime. I mean, why not play an extra five minutes of basketball on a SEGABABA, on the road, and at the end of long roadtrip? It’s not exactly how they drew it up, and give Utah enough credit to fill the world’s fourth largest terminal lake for taking the C’s to the brink. They may not have played much defense, but they were as ferocious as a horse-headed crocodile!* The Jazz really made things difficult by making shots and hustling.* Seriously.  Read the Great Salt Lake’s Wikipedia page.
      2. It’s a make or miss league. You hear Doc say it all the time. Usually, he’s referring to those tough, game-changing buckets. The kind that can really break team’s will. Tonight, it was all about the wide-open variety. In the second half, the Celtics missed a lot empty-gymers. My unofficial count for missed threes in the third quarter: Jason Terry (1), Jeff Green (1), and Paul Pierce (2). Despite missing opens ones, Paul Pierce was an absolute killer tonight. Credit DeMarre Carroll for both making it hard on Pierce and for having four r’s in his full name. Neither are easy to pull off and Carroll makes it look easier than most. Even with Carroll’s effectiveness, Pierce was just too much. Sometimes, the isos induce eye-rolls. It was great to see Pierce convert would-be back-breaking jumpers into actual calls to the chiropractor.
      3. Gordon Hayward has a huge advantage in looking like a cabbage-patch kid that got his hands on some stolen Nerdluck goods. I’m convinced his angelic mug completely disarms his opponents and causes them to not take him seriously. That is, until he destroys you (I’m looking at you Paul Pierce and Celtics’ transition defense). In addition, that mop-top exaggerates contact in a natural way Paul Pierce would kill for.
      4. The Celtics had to have this game. After losing last night, it’s clear the Celtics weren’t going to take any chances. This is why Terrence Williams didn’t have to take hit shooting shirt off and Jordan Crawford shouldn’t have. Who knows? It may be an indication that both of them are falling out of favor. Personally, I hope not. I doubt either will be a meaningful contributor come playoff time. But I want to see them get a lot of minutes as the season winds down, the veterans rest up, and the playoffs are positioned.
      5. With the Celtics leading 108-105, I thought of the perfect Tweet, yet wasn’t actually near my computer. “Don’t let DeMarre Caroll hit a long two and tie the game!” What was up with those Utah score keepers? I understand it’s hard to see where a player’s feet are on the opposite side of the court but that’s why the officials signal the difference. I happened to notice them right away. The first one I had to rewind and verify I wasn’t losing my mind. The second one was definitely a “aw, hell naw, not again!”
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  • Vincent

    As a Celtic fan in Salt Lake, this win made my life for the next week much easier and more enjoyable. Thanks, Truth!

  • janos

    I am so happy right now i am come here right away to share game with friend hub. All day i was come here tell fan twe win and now is win. i am love this guys

  • Anthony

    Nice post Brendan. had me googling all over for the North Shore monster with #1 and LOL with #3 and #5.

    I thought Gallo flails his arms and exaggerates contact a lot till I see Hayward. He just seems to get pushed around very easily. I'm sill certain that JGreen's baseline shot against DEN was a 3pointer. Had it been the Utah scorekeeper, it may have been a 4pointer. I know Utah has always had homecourt advantage since Malone Stockton days but both of Demarre's shot were clearly 2s.

    Vintage Pierce game, 4 days till next game, can't ask for more than that.

  • SmalltownID

    Don’t give Utah fans so much credit for fillin their arena. I’ll bet close to 25% were C’s fans. It was crazy. Even the jazz fans were saying how weird it was; celtics fans seem to grow in # every year there.

  • elroz

    Great win…. but it boggles my mind how Jeff Green and Bass played a combined 70 minutes and got a total of 4 rebounds!

  • Banner18

    Great, much needed win indeed. Time for some pay back Friday!

  • Louisiana Celtic

    I love dis I wish TWill nd Jor Crawford get sum good practice time in…. Strong 2nd half comin for us C's

  • Phil725

    Great win. Second night of a back to back, fifth game in seven days, on the road against the Western conference. The Cs needed a win like that; we know they can get up for the Miamis of the world, but we hadn't really seen them step up like this lately.

    For regulation, the story was rebounding. I'm not looking at the numbers, but I'm gonna guess there were 327 different times that the Celtics forced a missed shot, only to have Utah get the rebound and score. Nothing new there, we know there are a few big teams that the Cs just can't rebound with, and neither Green nor Bass brought their big boy pants to close the gap last night. The defense itself was great, it's just impossible to hold any team down if they rebound enough of their own misses.

    The Cs were able to make up for that because the offense was firing on all cylinders though. Well, until the 4th quarter when they stopped making shots. This was Bradley's best game of the year, and we got a glimpse of last year of how the offense looks with him knocking down his shots. Defenses just can't take one more weapon out there, basketball really is a game where inches are the difference between the best and worst. I continue to hope for his stroke from last year to come back, because it would be huge.

    And finally, how about the execution down the end? I facedesked when they scored on two straight possessions in the 3/5 PnR, then ran a Pierce ISO with the final possession, but that was the only one they didn't ace. How about that Utah possession down 3 in OT where the Cs stoned every option for 12 seconds before making the perfect foul? That doesn't make SportsCenter, but you can't play that better.

  • Phil725

    And I didn't even mention Pierce, but I continue to be amazed by how much he's underrated by Celtics fans. I feel like I've gushed enough about him lately, so I won't do it again. I'll just say that we won't see anyone in green control all facets of the game like him for a very long time. He's irreplaceable.

  • CG12

    That was a pretty crazy win. There were a number of notable things to me. There was a stretch where the defense was running half a step behind on everything and the C's countered by going into a super aggressive trapping and switching defense. As Doc said after the game, it was pretty much total chaos. But the C's were getting on back-end rotations and close-outs at the 3-point line all game, and that stopped happening.

    I think the substitutions and playing time we saw are pretty reflective of how Doc is going to want it in games that really matter. There will be games where Jordan Crawford gets 20 minutes and 10 shots, but in the clutch Doc is going with his core 7 or 8 guys. Wilcox will only get extended burn where there are match-up issues with bigger front lines. After that, you will have Pierce around 38, KG around 32, and the remaining 5 guys (AB, CLee, Green, Bass, and JET) somewhere between 20 and 30. Green is going to play a lot of 4, like it or not.

  • CG12

    I continued to be baffled by the C's occasional disinterest in playing fast-paced basketball. They have generally been playing noticeably quicker since Rondo went down, with notable success, but they still go through periods where the ball is slow to get up court and they spend 10 seconds trying to get somebody the ball at the elbow. Paul Pierce, I am looking in your direction. Bradley and Terry (somewhat surprisingly, to me) are both really good at taking the ball and pushing it up the floor – not necessarily going hell-for-leather to the cup, but getting up into the defense and forcing the D to play the ball before they are completely set. Good things happen when they do that. I'm not sure if they get tired, or if they are "running their sets" or something like that, but the offense is just wretched when they move to that deliberate style. PP hit some stone cold daggers last night, but that is a bail-out, and not good offense. It is great to have that in your back pocket, but you sure don't want to intentionally make that your go-to offense.

    • The Cardinal

      That happens a lot when either Pierce is bringing the ball up, when Pierce is intended to be the focus of the offense, or when Pierce and KG are intended to be the focus of the offense. It is the most glaring "tell" with regard to what the C's half court offense intends to do, and that falls on Doc, who appears uncomfortable with the spread offense in close games or at crunch time because it just does not fit into his vision of how the offense should be run.

      That said, Doc is the coach and he certainly knows his team better than I do, and I guess he doesn't buy into the premise that the uptempo offense – despite the empirical evidence – is more reliable than the PP/KG two man game. Sadly when we fall back on the comfort of PP's and KG's two man game, everyone else begins to: 1) make terrible passes trying to get the ball into the hands of PP or KG; 2) stand around or move out of the way for PP and KG, so no one is positioned to grab an offensive board, long rebound, or tapped ball; and 3) lose their aggressiveness and timidly pass up open shots while trying to force the ball to PP or KG (see Green, Jeff last night as the 24 second clock wound down as a perfect example). This offensive scheme is designed to make PP or KG play hero ball, which Doc ironically professes to hate! "Trust" really has to begin with the coach, of whom I'm a big fan despite my negative critique here.

      • CG12

        A thing that I have never been able to figure out is how much of that is on Doc and how much is on the players. On the telecast you can hear Doc regularly bellowing at the guys to push the ball. I have a hard time thinking that he is then explicitly telling them NOT to do that at the end of games. But maybe he is. In any event, if something is working all game, you should keep rolling with it. Part of it is a powerful fear of late-game turnovers. If you force up a contested shot in the PP iso, well, sometimes they just don't go in. But if you boot it away because Avery Bradley tried to go coast-to-coast (something he is doing with awesome regularity, by the way) and lost the handle, that freaks coaches right out. Or a Jason Terry 50-foot slow boat, cross-court pass. Of course, you are just as likely to get the Courtney Lee 10-foot pull-up that has been so money the last few games, but that is just not the thought process, unfortunately. All those great Bradley, Lee, and Green aggressive buckets in the first half stop happening in the second half as the team's collective sphincter tightens up. I'd love to see fast-and-loose carry the day for the entire game.

    • Bill

      This is part of why the ISO sets are so terrible. You are more likely to score off ball movement that leads into leads into an ISO closer to the rim (again, through off ball movement) than you are by holding the ball at the top of the key for 18 seconds and then trying to dribble drive around someone.

      It's obvious, it's lazy, and it's low percentage basketball.

    • hydrofluoric

      I thought this was entirely on Doc's shoulders (especially that end-of-regulation horrendous shot), but apparently it's about execution, too – according to Doc, at least.

      "We were supposed to pin down on Kevin," Rivers explained. "Actually, I thought Paul could have turned the corner, but he was waiting for Kevin to come up, because we noticed on the small-small pick-and-roll the big was sinking in under the basket and if [Jason Terry] rolls into Kevin, Kevin rolls up to that elbow, his sweet spot, we thought we could have got it. I don't know if you noticed, JET fell off balance and then he just kind of forgot it. I still didn't mind. Paul had it and I just wanted to make sure we had the last shot."

      Had no idea.

  • Portceltic

    I thought Wilcox had a profound effect on the game when he was out there. He played the passing lanes well (3 steals), and defended the rim (2 blocks). Ever since Doc subtly criticized his effort Wilcox has responded. Would have liked to see how T. Will might have handled the lanky Hayward, but clearly Doc wanted this game and rode the known quantities.

  • NZNICK33

    If no-one else is going to say it, I will – I thought Courtney Lee looked great today. Gave us exactly what was needed. On nights like this, him and Bradley are quite the pair.

    • CG12

      Oh, they've got a pair, all right.

  • hydrofluoric

    By the way guys, amid the festivities can we all take a moment to acknowledge just how bad Jeff Green was during this game? 0 FTA, 1 Rebound, 30% shooting, and botched the last possession of a one-possession game where we could have iced it.