An hour ago, I sat down with my pen and pad, determined to break down last night's 3rd quarter. The Celtics had a 3 point halftime lead, and they finished the 3rd down 10. There had to be a special scheme somewhere. Mike D'Antoni must have come up with some clever offensive wrinkle. I fired up my DVR, went to the 3rd quarter, and I found…
… nothing special.
One team hustled, the other didn't. One team challenged shots, the other team didn't. One team was making shots, the other team wasn't. One team went on a 20-8 run to end the quarter. The other team didn't looked like it cared too much.
The Celtics had their hands down… A LOT… on defense. Wilson Chandler and Al Harrington were allowed to get easy looks early, and they got hot. Each blew by KG on the baseline to score in that run. Each had uncontested looks that they made. By the time the run was out of control, Harrington hit a shot from 4 feet beyond the arc… and one when no one was around because Nate Robinson blew past Eddie House and everyone collapsed.
And now to state the obvious: as hot as those guys were, that's how cold Ray Allen was. That killed the Celtics. Rajon Rondo didn't help. He was making passes at bad angles. The ball wasn't hitting people in the hands. The ball was being walked up most of the time. There was no push.
And you can say what you want about Brian Scalabrine… he played Al Harrington harder than anyone else did. He was a +6 out there. The starters were all -14 or worse. The way everyone else was playing with their hands down and on their heels… I'd rather see a guy with less talent and a ton of heart out there.
I don't know how we got back here, but I feel like this is last year's playoffs again. The Celtics at home push the issue, get their hands on passes, and have a lot of energy. But then they hit the road and they play like they walked all the way from Boston. I don't understand it a bit.
Trust me, I'm not sweating individual losses. I've said before and I'll say again that a lull in December/January doesn't concern me. But I don't like what I'm seeing. You can't have Paul Pierce and Brian Scalabrine be the only two guys hustling out there.