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As good as a 9 point loss gets

Chuck - Red's Army February 21, 2010 Uncategorized 22 Comments

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Did anyone really expect the Celtics to sweep Sacramento, LA, Portland and Denver out West? I didn't, which is why today's 114-105 loss to the Nuggets doesn't bother me much.

They came out flat. Very flat. When Rondo (15 points, 11 assists) looks like he needs a 5-hour energy drink at tip-off, you know the team is in trouble. Denver piled up 37 first quarter points. But the guys fought back. They chipped away at a 20 point lead and trailed by 7 at the half. And then with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd, this game was tied at 66. Unfortunately, we wouldn't see much defensive intensity the rest of the way. And it didn't help that J.R. Smith was nailing 25-foot three pointers in the 4th quarter.

In my game preview I stated:

The
Celtics will likely need to be sharp from 3 in order to keep pace with
the high-scoring Nuggets, but Denver is among the league leaders in
defending the arc.

At 2-for-13, the Celtics were anything but sharp. Ray Allen was the only Celtic to hit from 3.

Kevin Garnett (15 points, 7-13 FG, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks) looked healthy. There was one play that got me thinking he might actually become an impact player again. As Nene was making a move towards the hoop, KG swooped in from the weak side and swatted his shot. I haven't seen him make a move like that in 12 months.

On the flip side, Paul Pierce (5 points, 2-10 FG) is hurting. The thumb injury is really affecting his shot. The energy was there, just check his defensive stats (4 blocks, 2 steals).

"There's some pain when I catch the ball, and it's really affecting my
shot," he said. "That's the reason I'm not as aggressive."

"You go by feel," Pierce said. "I tried to play off instincts, and my
instincts are to shoot the ball. But it's not the same shot."

I wouldn't be surprised to see Pierce sit out Tuesday's game with the Knicks.

Ray Allen had 25 points in gulp, 43 minutes. You can't blame Doc. Without Nate Robinson, his back-court depth is severely limited.

Box Score | Recap

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p011570423591970b KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    Yeah, that thumb is def an issue not to mention the various bumps and bruises dude must have at this point in the season. And ‘Melo was just going at P-Dub every chance he got today. Be very surprised if Denver doesn’t win the West this year. ‘Melo is on a mission, and he has a better supporting cast than Rapist24 in my opinion. I’d say Doc will not have Paul participate in any contact drills tomorrow and they’ll re-evaluate Tuesday at shootaround. Going to be an interesting week for these guys-playing 2 of the league’s best and worst. Nuggs/Cavs and Knicks/Nets.

  • Jason

    The game was winnable. Sure Denver’s a good team, but the Cs allowed this loss. Yeah there are positives, but plenty of negatives as well, not the least of which is the shadow of Paul Pierce who is just atrocious right now. I don’t really see this as a good loss, just a regular aggravating loss.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6a54c2970c ToTheRuins

    hmm this wouldve been the most impressive and hardest win to get on the trip- against the only legit contender (LA without Kobe doesnt count)

  • paul

    I saw some great things in this loss. But Pierce, wow. Something’s horribly wrong with him

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f2d28d7970c BigMck

    It counts. If the Lakers can beat good teams w/o Kobe, then you shouldn’t minimize the Celtics win.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    Tony Allen is terrible, here’s to hoping we pick up another wing who can actually play through buyouts and whatnot
    if not, i think id take a waiver on mccants or wafer if i was danny, hell we’ve got roster spots open, its not like we have to give anyone up
    but for now im hoping someone like mike miller, raja bell although its not likely
    maybe someone like bobby simmons or jarvis hayes from the nets could help
    also im hoping that big z gets bought out and goes back to cleveland, and the cavs buyout powe to free the roster space up so he can come back home

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    the celtics are still missing one more piece besides nate, i think that if they get lucky on a buyout this team could really get things back on track
    Tony Allen has regressed since earlier in the season, and their is no way in hell i want to have to rely on him going into the playoffs

  • KGHaTTR

    I think 4 things are wrong with him – all body parts hurting…he’ll come right…

  • Shawn-cvd

    TA needs to be aggressive, not regressing. If he’s not playing the horny D, slashing to the basket/finishing strong, and crashing the boards he’s useless to us.

  • Jason

    I love it. Great term. Good-bye Ubuntu. Hello “Horny D.”

  • Nora

    When KG is healthy C’s play much better, he already is making an impact. Problem is when he is not healthy it is a negative impact.

  • DRJ

    The argument can be made that all we needed to win this game was an average-level Paul Pierce.
    He missed 8 out of 10 FG attempts, and 3 out of 4 free throws. Plus he had 3 TOs. Altogether, a very average NBA player would have generated approximately 13 points more than Paul did from all those missed opportunities. Cs lost by 9.

  • Jason

    First, I agree Pierce (good D, awful O) is a net negative right now. And I don’t necessarily disagree about your overall point which is he cost the game (though maybe you are discounting some very good D).
    However, he scored 5 points on 10 shots, which yes is awful. But you are saying an average NBA player would have scored 18 points on 10 shots. That’s just not true. That is well above average efficiency.
    Pierce is probably the main reason they lost this game, but no way did he do it singlehandedly.

  • DRJ

    No, you didn’t follow what I meant. He took 10 shots, PLUS he lost the ball 3 times to TOs, PLUS missed 3 of 4 free throws. That’s 8 missed field shots, plus 3 additional lost scoring opportunities to TOs, plus 3 missed FTs. Total = 11 missed scoring opportunities plus 3/4 missed FTs. An low-average NBA player should score at least 10 points out of 11 chances. A decent player would score at least 11 or 12. Add to that 2 more FTs (assuming a 75% FT%), and you have 13-14 points he should have scored if he were ANYWHERE near what he’s supposed to be.
    I’m not discounting his D, btw. Just focusing on the O here…

  • DRJ

    Or, looked at another way, he had 10+3=13 scoring opportunities, plus 4 FTs, and got a total of 5 points. A decent player would easily score 13 with all that.

  • DRJ

    Sorry… 13 “MORE” points, for a total of 18. But if you think that’s high, hey, we only needed 10 more points to win. With 13 opportunities plus 4 FTs, is 15 points too much to ask for??

  • Jason

    You are over thinking this and ultimately getting the math wrong. In 15 possessions (10 FG, 3 TOs and 2 more for the 4 FTs), getting 18 points is above average production. It’s 1.2 points per possession. That is not league average, it is beyond MVP production.
    This season LeBron earns 1.04 points per possession (by this bastardized version of the term possession). Steve Nash, known as one of the most efficient offensive players earns 0.97 points per possession. Compare these numbers to your average player getting 1.2.
    Look, I’m not saying Pierce didn’t suck and left a fair number of points on the floor, I’m just saying an average NBA player wouldn’t have come up with 13 more points, maybe 7 more. It may seem like we are arguing over a mere 6 points (13-7), but the difference between getting 12 points per 15 possessions and getting 18 points every 15 possessions is astronomical. It’s the difference between a bench player and the most efficient scorer in NBA history.

  • DRJ

    Yeah, you’re right, 18 is too much. And the point that Paul ALONE cost us the game is silly anyway. But, for the hell of it…
    …we only needed 10 more points to win, 9 to tie. He had a legitimate 13 possessions (10 shots + 3 TOs), plus 4 FTs, and got 5 points. We needed him to get 14 to tie, 15 to win. Good so far, agree?
    He should have gotten 3 points from the FTs (@ 75%). Which means we needed a total of 11-12 points from Paul’s 13 legitimate possession to tie/win. That’s a respectable, but certainly not spectacular, 0.84 pts/poss to tie. And a good 0.92 to win.
    Note also that Paul was shooting FTs at ~95+% since January (before his current slump).
    But that’s all just for kicks. Bottom line with Paul… is that Doc really needs to tell him to STOP SHOOTING. I don’t know why that’s so hard for him to do. They’ll know when he’s back to normal in practice. Why is he blowing games playing through slump/injury?
    Maybe now with Nate coming in (another body) they’ll let him sit. Sitting is s probably the best thing all around.

  • Shawn-cvd

    Very impressive use of stats guys. I think the C’s are looking to hire some associate offensive coordinators. All kidding aside I agree that Daniels should have played for Pierce (a point brought up by Dr J elsewhere).
    We gave up too many points in the first quarter. That’s why our team lost. Here’s numbers to support that: the Nuggets are a very potent offensive team who averages 107 points per game. The C’s, capable of holding opponents to under their scoring average, were awful to start allowing 37 points in the first quarter. If we had done in the opening frame as little as holding the Nuggets to their per quarter average (27) our 9 point loss becomes a 1 point victory.

  • Venus

    “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pierce sit out Tuesday’s game with the Knicks.”
    This is Doc we’re talking about here. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the other way round.
    His D was fine but the O was painful. He should have been used minimally on offense if he had trouble holding the ball and given the others more touches. Sometimes I wonder about their supposedly high basketball IQ. We could have overcome his play but the lousy 1st quarter killed us.

  • Perry

    Yep — that opening quarter was likely a byproduct of playing up and down the west coast all week. I thought Rondo wasn’t his spry self in the first half. Nonetheless there’s a lot to feel good about where KG is concerned. Team defense looks better and the competitive edge seems to be back.
    Excellent outing for Quisy: 7 for 8 shooting, very aggressive going to the basket. He was the only Celtic playing 15 minutes+ not to have a negative deferential. Rondo’s was -16.
    Obliviously Pierce is not himself, so if management can be cautious where KG is concerned why not at least sit Pierce tomorrow night?
    Forty three minutes for Ray is way too much. I think Nate’s offense will enable Doc to finally trim Ray’s minutes to 30-35 a night.

  • Lakerhater (FD)

    Your on the money with TA. I was in Portland Friday night, he looked f#cking horrible constantly out of position on his defensive rotation and having to sprint to put a hand in someones face.
    And other teams know it. Blazer fans in my section actually cheered when he checked in.