Looking to bounce back after one of the ugliest efforts of the season against the LA Clippers, the Celtics lost their second consecutive game at the hands of the 76ers. The C's came out of the gate slow and ragged once again, falling behind by as many as 8 points with just over a minute remaining. The previous two games were very close, so you knew the Sixers would be ready for the matchup.
The C's talked again prior to the game about needing to get off to better starts and not give teams like philly any confidence. But when Spencer Hawes is dropping a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) and raining deep jumpers and having is own slam dunk contest, well, it's not going to be a green colored night.
The Celtics shot a hair better than the Sixers (41.8% to 41.3% FG) and better from the FT line (85% to 72%), had more rebounds (45 to 44) and had more assists (24 to 22). But KG and Ray struggled with their offense, combining to shoot 7 for 24 from the field. Plenty of those shots were routine for KG and Ray, but neither could get it going.
The Celtics offense was so anemic in the fourth quarter, that prior to KG's lay-up in the final seconds, their last field goal before that was a Ray Allen three with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter. It's a shame too, since the bench (led be Jeff Green's 18 points in 11 minutes) actually brought the C's back early in the fourth.
Green had twice as many FGA's as Pierce did in half of the playing time (14 for Green in 11 minutes, 7 for Pierce in 31 minutes). Pierce was caught in foul trouble, which might partially explain why Doc had Sasha Pavlovic guarding Andre Iguodala straight up with the game on the line.
With the Sixers up by three, Iggy was isolated at the top of the three-point line with Sasha giving him the left lane. Iggy made a quick first cross-step and Sasha just couldn't recover as Iggy blew past him for the lay-up. KG made a lay-up after a beautiful out-of-bounds play immediately after a timeout, but the C's failed to foul on the next play, and the Sixers ran out the clock on the C's.
Nenad Krstic (or "Nads" as John perfectly calls him) had a fantastic game logging a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, but his interior defense is still an issue. For the second straight game, his man completely killed him down low, first DeAndre Jordan, now Spencer Hawes. He shows well on the high screen and roll, but recovers as if his feet were side-stepping through molasses. I swear there were several times where KG wanted to junk-jab him. Krstic did earn his first Tommy Point by diving for a loose ball late in the fourth, but it was to no avail as the C's failed to score. But the bigger issue was that KG couldn't get his offense going for the second straight game. Rondo seemed like he re-upped his endorsement deal with Red Bull, but still seemed a little off.
KG struggled but told reporters afterwards: "I'm not one to make excuses, we just got to go out and get it done, point blank."
Couldn't have said it better myself. On to the next one.