If you’ll pardon me for a somewhat shortened recap, I really need a shower. That game left its stink all over me, and I don’t want to spread it all to the couch I’m currently sitting on.
See, here’s the thing about basketball: If you shoot 2-14 from 3-point range as a team and you allow one single opponent to shoot 5-8 3-point range, you’re going to have a bad time. If you allow the opponent to outrebound you 47-36 and you allow JJ Hickson to drop an 11-11 double-double on you, you’re going to have a bad time. If every opposing starter scores double-figures and you give up three 3-point fouls, you’re going to have a bad time. And finally, if you try for a two when you are down six with under a minute to play…well, you are going to lose. And losing is a bad time.
- Excepting two runs at the beginning of both halves, Boston never really seemed to get into a comfortable groove offensively, which had everything to do with the bench. Late in the fourth, I found myself wondering why Doc wasn’t playing certain members of the second unit in crunch time like he usually does before realizing that the second unit was 7-26 from the field and 0-5 from 3-point range.
- Related point: We now have two completely opposing returns on Boston’s latest acquisitions. On Friday, Terrence Williams and Jordan Crawford looked like the kind of pieces Boston desperately need: A rebounding point guard, and a player who can create his own shot off the bench. Tonight, they looked like players whose performances were exaggerated by a putrid Phoenix defense. Small sample sizes are frustrating for impatient people like myself.
- Defensive rotations are complicated, and Doc’s are notoriously so, so I tried very hard to control my cursing as Wes Matthews found himself open for three after three after three after three. Still. When a player is shooting 8-11 from the field, you would think defenses would begin to adjust to him at some point.
- When Matthews puts up a 3-pointer, you kind of assume it’s going in. Similarly, when Damian Lillard drives to the basket, jumps through eight sets of arms and puts the ball off the backboard with enough english to pass a literacy test, you kind of assume it’s going in. Bradley defended him well tonight (even stripping him at one point on a terrific defensive play), but Lillard is going to be one heck of a point guard.
- Pierce missed a few shots late and had a brain fart in the lane going for two instead of three, but let’s give him credit: Without his contributions, Boston would have gotten blown out tonight. He has been on a tear ever since Rondo went down, and, once again, his old-man game seems to be rounding into shape typically halfway through the season.
- Players who regressed to the mean tonight: Terrence Williams, Chris Wilcox, Jordan Crawford, Jeff Green (somewhat). Players who progressed to the mean: Brandon Bass, to a certain extent, who shot 5-10 from the field and hit several mid-range jumpers. He also played unbelievably bad defense, missing several crucial rotations and allowing his man to get to the basket. So despite the improved offensive performance, let’s make sure to temper any Bass enthusiasm. Does anyone have any Bass enthusiasm? No? Me neither. That’s probably appropriate.
The Celtics take on Utah tomorrow on the second night of a tough back-to-back. I’d make a joke about it being a bad time, but I feel like you probably saw it coming.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.