morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here…
highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.
Losing stings, and for a Celtics
fan, losing to the Lakers stings 10 times worse. Losing when the final
score represents the only LA lead in the final 28-plus minutes creates
an added layer of home fan misery. Oh, the shouldas, couldas, and
Had either Kobe
missed or Ray made, here’s what we would be talking about. We’d be
talking about the spark provided by a Mr. Allen. No, not Ray (who was 2
for 10 and didn’t make a basket in the final 42 1/2 minutes), but Tony,
Mr. Trick-Or-Treat himself. Tony Allen came bounding off the bench
early in this one, replacing Pierce after the latter was hit with his
second personal when the game was barely three minutes old. Tony was
ready to showcase his A game, providing energy and enthusiasm at both
ends of the floor.
either Kobe missed or Ray made, we’d also be talking about Rondo, who
played a spectacular second quarter, when he had 9 of his 21 points and
eight of his 12 assists. The Lakers seemed to have no idea how to
contain his excursions to the hoop, and he even threw in a couple of
jumpers (one beating the 24-second clock). In one sequence he swallowed
a Lakers outlet pass and promptly threw in a jump hook. In another he
missed a spectacular reverse layup, got his own miss, and then made the
same spectacular reverse layup he just had missed. He continues to do
things ordinary point guards don’t do.
Excellent points as always by Mr. Bob Ryan. One little change at the end and the rest of us look at the game completely differently.
The fact is, the Celtics played better for longer in this game than they have in a while. Of course, they played poorly in the most important stretch of the game… but hey, remember, I’m the “positive” one around here. That second quarter, with Rondo definitively becoming the best player on the floor, was exactly what we need to see on a regular basis. The defense in the second and third quarters (a combined 36 points) was the stifling kind of lock-down D the C’s need to play every night.
The fourth quarter… well… that’s the surest sign that the Celtics have lost their edge. We were treated to a steady diet of turnovers, individual play and “I smell a rotten egg” looks. Rajon Rondo gave up control of the team to Paul Pierce way too often, rather than drawing the defense himself and then finding Pierce (or anyone else that was open).
A team with a killer instinct comes out and turns an 11 point lead into 21 with one final, fatal flurry. The Celtics certainly have that ability… just not that mentality. The good news is, there’s time to get that mentality back.
Coming up, Page 2, where Rasheed Wallace agrees
“Postseason is a whole different season,” said Rasheed Wallace.
“It’s the added-on season when all the shots get bigger. That’s when
you see who has the biggest machismo – I don’t want to say the other
word – but that’s what it comes down to.
“Regular season, yeah, you get a few big games where anybody can hit
shots, but when it’s for the hardware, some cats don’t want to take
those shots. So I don’t think it’s a psychological advantage if you
dominate or beat a team in the regular season.”
Sheed is right. The Celtics could finish off the first half hot against a weaker schedule (@Washington, Miami, New Jersey, Orlando, @New Orleans) and put some of this behind them. And then if you look at their March schedule… there’s a good chance they can put a big run together to end the season.
Bottom line is… we fans will get worked up about all of this. That’s what we do. We can’t help ourselves. But in the end, this month could just be a valley in what is typically an up and down NBA season.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Latest loss a wake up call | Kobe Bryant didn’t ask | Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson share more than W’s | Difficult to find Ray of hope in this ending | C’s at Washington scouting report | Globe: All fouled up | LA happy to take this battle outside | Rondo’s 1st class play led to quite a 2nd quarter | Locker room with a view: We are together | MWDN: Celtics beaten on decision | Kobe’s killer instinct dooms Celtics | Tony Allen provides spark off the bench | CSNNE: Talking points, C’s vs. Lakers | WEEI: Kobe plays Keyshawn: “Just give me the damn ball” | Fast Break: C’s v. Lakers | KG Still finding his way | Doc on Lakers: “Better than last year” | Battle continues between Pierce, Artest | South Coast Today: Legit losses don’t doom Celtics, but provide warning