Please, let’s not make this about Doc and Austin Rivers.
The story line has been beaten to death and, in the end, it had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the game. One man is a coach. A very good one, to be sure, but even the best coach can only make rotations and draw up plays. The onus is on the players to execute those plays, and the Celtics executed nothing well tonight. The other man is a player, but he is not a good player. He is a very mediocre bench player with limited upside in the NBA. So let’s not make this about two men who were not responsible for the loss.
Instead, let’s make this about a bad team effort on one end by the Celtics and an inspired effort on the other by players like Al-Farouq Aminu (ugh), Greivis Vasquez (double ugh) and Robin Lopez (every ugh that has ever been ugh’d). You’ve heard the debate over whether one team wins or the other team loses a game? Tonight was a rare night in which the Hornets earned their win and the Celtics earned their loss simultaneously.
Let’s get to some bullet points:
- SO MANY JUMPERS, ALL OF THE JUMPERS. The Celtics live and die on their jumpshots. I appropriately died 1,000 deaths tonight because the Celtics missed roughly 1,000 shots from outside the paint. It was an unbelievably ugly offensive night for the C’s.
- Here’s the overall offensive carnage: Boston shot 4-18 from 3-point range (WHY ARE YOU STILL SHOOTING?!), turned the ball over 15 times (WHY ARE YOU MAKING SUCH AWFUL PASSES?!) and shot just 6-16 from the free throw line (I give up).
- You probably don’t need to be told, but the Celtics were out-rebounded by 15. That will happen frequently when A) Your team is outworked on the glass and B) When you miss, as previously mentioned, 1,000 jump shots.
- I’ve defended Paul Pierce on multiple occasions because, honestly, I feel his bad reputation as an iso player is overblown. But he was indefensible tonight. Or perhaps he was utterly defensible in that he was well defended? I leave it to your judgment. Either way, he shot 1-7 from 3-point range and 5-16 overall. Rough, rough night for the Truth.
- The single game +/- stats may not back me up tonight, but I honestly see no reason why Avery Bradley should be getting just 22 minutes per game. The defense is noticeably better when he is on the floor, and although both of his foul calls were questionable tonight…well…he only had two fouls. It is worth noting that Greivis Vasquez beat him to the hoop several times, but this makes me physically ill and I will say no more on this subject.
- Five bad turnovers for Rondo kind of negates his 11 assists, no? He did have two unbelievable reverse layups in the first half, but just eight shots on a night when the offense was struggling badly to get into the paint shows a serious lack of aggression.
- Rather than giving each bench player who didn’t show up their own bullet point, I’ll give you a list: Jeff Green, Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger (mentioned below). Jason Collins doesn’t get mentioned with those three because the last time he actually showed up for a game was 1928. Jason Terry was a little bit better than usual.
- Sully was the victim of a few questionable rookie calls tonight, which really seemed to limit his aggressiveness on the boards. He finished with a very uncharacteristic two rebounds in 21 minutes.
Frankly, that’s all I have energy for. It’s one loss, but it’s a painful one, and given the lackluster performance against Charlotte as well, it certainly seems like cause for concern. Just know that if the Celtics play with that kind of energy against Chicago on Friday, they will lose badly.
Since we started with the father/son theme, let me hand the mic to Jared Sullinger’s father for the final word on tonight’s game:
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Satch.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.