This will be a shorter recap for two reasons. First, my computer crashed, taking with it the first slightly longer recap. Second, that was a pretty discouraging game. The defense continued to struggle, the rebounding continued to be utterly absent, and once again, the combination of those two factors doomed the Celtics. Ugh.
Let’s get straight into the bullet points.
- The Spurs are really really good at scoring. Boston’s defense broke down a lot, but it wasn’t just the defense breaking down on its own (although that happened a few times as well), it was the Spurs picking away at the C’s like a high school kid picking a zit. San Antonio shot 45-77 including 8-16 from 3-point range. Tony Parker was scary good, scoring 26 points on 12-17 shooting and dishing out six assists. Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan combined for nine assists. And once again, Boston failed to rebound, losing 41-25 overall. Of course, it’s difficult to rebound when the opponent misses just 32 shots in the game.
- Tiago Splitter scored 1.64 ppp. I’ll be seeing his uncontested layups in my nightmares. Please make it stop.
- Here’s perhaps the most frustrating thing: The Celtics actually weren’t bad on the offensive end. The C’s were 41-77. Every player besides Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger shot over 50% from the field. And yet, the Spurs ran away with the game in the fourth quarter.
- If you see anyone saying this loss is on Rondo, please call them out immediately for stupidity. Rondo was the reason the C’s didn’t lose by 20, smashing his way to the basket in the fourth, hitting his free throws (6-7 for the evening), and getting his teammates involved with 15 assists. Sure, Rondo got burned by Parker on the defensive end, but, frankly, that was indicative of the game overall. The Celtics burned the Spurs on offense but got more badly burned on defense.
- As I mentioned, Rondo dished out 15 assists. The rest of the C’s? Six. Rondo is so incredibly important to this offense. It’s probably not healthy.
- The Spurs don’t get out in transition a lot, but when they do, they are a juggernaut. San Antonio scored 1.83 ppp on 11 transition opportunities tonight.
- The Celtics went to Pierce three times in the post in the first quarter. In those attempts, Pierce scored once, scored once AND drew a foul, and was fouled for two free throws. He never went back to the post for the rest of the game. Why doesn’t he try to operate out of the post more often?
- Tommy Heinsohn believes that we should give the Celtics more time to gel as a defensive unit, and I’m inclined to agree with him. It’s still way too early to declare this current group a failure. But the knowledge that this team could EVENTUALLY be a defensive force again doesn’t make it any easier to wait for that moment to arrive.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.