The Celtics suffered the first loss of the Jason Collins era, dropping the season series to the Milwaukee Bucks 3-1 for the first time since the ’05-’06 season. Tonight’s overtime loss was pretty disheartening for those who felt a bit optimistic after the Cavs game, and while it sucks to lose an overtime game, the C’s really didn’t deserve to be in this one. Bullet points and such:
- Paul Pierce put the team on his back for the second game in a row but this time it wasn’t enough. Pierce scored 35 points on 23 shots to go with 12 rebounds and five assists. Pierce has been absolutely phenomenal these past two games after expressing dissatisfaction with how the team is playing. The Captain is leading by example, but he can’t do it every night at this point in his career, and frankly he shouldn’t have to.
- Jared Sullinger did Jared Sullinger things tonight, scoring four points and grabbing seven rebounds in his 14 minutes of play. Unfortunately, one of the dangers of the Jason Collins era is that when you have a big man like Collins who fouls so liberally, if one of your other bigs gets in foul trouble it can muck up your rotation a bit. This resulted in a Brandon Bass-Jeff Green frontcourt for a stretch, yuck.
- There was some speculation that part of Terry’s struggles had to do with his low usage rate. Well, JET got plenty of shots tonight; he just missed them all, finishing with 4 points on 1-15 shooting (Celtics not named Paul Pierce were 23-71 tonight). Terry’s FG% has dropped substantially from earlier this season; he’s shooting under 40% in December and hasn’t provided the offensive lift fans had been hoping for.
- Jeff Green was really good tonight but he took an elbow to the face fighting Ersan Ilyasova for a rebound (Good for you Jeff Green! The rebounding I mean) and was forced from the game. Initial reports have him with a bruised cheek and chipped teeth. Prior to that Jeff Green led a solid effort by the Celtics bench with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals, and two blocks. Green had a fantastic alley-oop on an inbounds play in the final minute and it was his offensive rebound that led to the Paul Pierce 3 that sent the game to overtime. You could make a pretty compelling argument that Green was the Celtics second best player tonight. Jeff Green is still inconsistent, but improving. The only thing that boggles my mind is he continues to be substantially better on the weekends, which I have no real justification for (Green averages 13PPG on the weekend, on weekdays its about five).
The Celtics just aren’t a good team right now. Their production was uneven on both ends of the court tonight and they got absolutely crushed on the boards (Larry Sanders had 20 rebounds). Doc said it yesterday; there are two or three guys who don’t do their job every night. There are only so many ways I can recount the same problems night in and night out. Paul Pierce talked the talk and then he walked the walk. The rest of the Celtics need to do the same.
Follow Jordan on Twitter: @OffensiveG