The Boston Celtics should wake up tomorrow morning with a few regrets. Kevin Garnett missed a wide open layup during crunch time. So did Paul Pierce. Courtney Lee airballed a wide open three. Rajon Rondo missed a shot to end regulation and couldn’t get his footing when he had a chance to steal a win on the final play of overtime.
The Celtics also did a few really good things down the stretch — the pick-and-roll that allowed Garnett to tie the game in regulation was delicious, as was the defense to snuff out Philadelphia’s final possession of regulation; also, I’m not sure you noticed, but Jeff Green was pretty damn good — but just not consistently enough to earn a win. Evan Turner, who, without checking stats, seems to average 497 points per game against the Celtics, drilled the game-winner. The Celtics would have gotten a good look when Garnett found Rondo cutting to the hoop on the ensuing play, but Rondo’s feet wouldn’t stay properly planted beneath him.
Since I currently have pink eye, coughed enough today to infect seven cities full of people and downed several more Advil pills than the doctor would recommend, I’ll keep this short and sweet. A few notes:
- It’s weird to see Jason Terry miss jump shots, and open ones, so frequently. JET finished 1-12 from the floor and 1-7 from the 3-point arc. Every time he shot, I was still convinced it would fall.
- Green was really good. Active on defense and strong on the glass, he had 19 points and 8 rebounds with 6-12 shooting. If I’m counting correctly, that’s four straight good games for Green, which, I’m guessing, is his longest such streak since becoming a Celtic.
- I didn’t have a problem with Garnett passing on the final play or Rondo pulling up rather than continuing to the rim for a layup. Rondo was open, and I’m not sure he had enough time to get all the way to the rim. It stunk that he couldn’t keep his balance long enough to get off a good shot, but the play was actually a really good one. (UPDATE: Garnett said the play was called for him, and he ad-libbed upon seeing Rondo streak toward the hoop. I still liked it. Would have gotten a really good look if Rondo had remained fully upright.)
- Jared Sullinger had five rebounds in 14 minutes. He’s pretty heroic in that sense.
- Pierce was obscenely aggressive throughout, which is why he finished with 27 points despite missing almost two-thirds of his field goal attempts and going just 1-8 from the arc. I don’t know whether to be encouraged by his aggression or insulted by his shooting accuracy. Either way, I loved the one dunk he had after going baseline on Evan Turner.
- I meant to call him “goddamn Evan Turner.” Goddamn Turner was kind of Pierce’s mirror image. He scored a lot (25 points), shot poorly (10-26 shooting) and made a lot of nice plays along the way (including the winner, which finished off his 25-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist stat line).
- At halftime, I never thought it would take me this long to mention Rondo’s first two quarters, which were so good (14 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) that he had Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers watching on television with awe. But Rondo really slowed down after halftime to finish with a ho-hum, 16/14/13 triple-double. Jrue Holiday, before fouling out, really seemed to do a good job defensively. Full disclosure: I may or may not have a man crush on Holiday’s game.
Okay, I need to go get healthy now. This pink eye stuff is horrible. I need to tell Tom, Jordan and Jesse to stop farting on my pillow.