Before the season, most of us probably anticipated tonight’s Celtics-Bobcats matchup with a sense of grim obligation. The Celtics were allegedly tanking the season and the Bobcats, a team that has made an artless art out of losing over the last few years, were finally ready to turn over a new leaf in pursuit of the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. It all augured a lifeless, forgettable November game.
And yet, Boston’s recent 4-game winning streak has been pretty fun, at least as counterproductive victories go. The win in Miami was thrilling, Jordan Crawford’s bizarre transformation into a legitimate NBA player has been a joy and even Brandon Bass’ reliability has been satisfying. This team has been entertaining to watch if only because of the lowered expectations and the refreshing shift from Doc Rivers’ numbing offensive sameness. Speaking of which, we’re all attached to Brad Stevens by now, aren’t we?
The good times rolled to a halt tonight as the C’s shot a lazy 37.7% from the field on the way to a loss and a one-game dip below .500. The Bobcats were slightly less worse, which is not a graceful way to articulate their performance, but accurate nonetheless. They turned the ball over 15 times and actually shot a worse percentage (36.6%) but on balance, deserved to win, especially when you consider Boston’s inability to exploit Charlotte’s 18th-ranked defense and comfort with defaulting to long outside shots. And, as has been the case with any kind of frontline big with scoring chops, they were vulnerable on the inside, tonight to old friend Al Jefferson (22 and 11). And then there was the last minute turnover and a Jefferson offensive rebound and…
Ah, forget it.
Basically, this game was horrible and your life is better for having missed it, assuming you did. Let’s move on.
And to spin it more positively, whether you’re hoping for losses or wins this year, there were useful things to take from this game. This team is going to be competitive most nights, win or lose. And in the meantime, Portland is due up Friday night. And that game promises to be better.