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Recap: Celtics shoulda, coulda but don’t beat the Spurs

Chuck - Red's Army April 4, 2012 Uncategorized 19 Comments

RRSpursThat was one helluva frustrating loss. The Celtics scratched and clawed their way back from an early 17 point deficit, but lost when a Paul Pierce jumper rimmed out at the buzzer.

Donny Marshall was annoyed that Pierce (15 points, 10 rebounds) didn't drive to the basket on the final possession. Despite being covered by the aging Tim Duncan, I didn't see much of an opening for Pierce. He opted for his patented step-back jumper and it didn't fall. A couple things to keep in mind – the Spurs had a foul to give. And if Pierce was able to get to the hoop, the refs – who called only 20 fouls all night – may have swallowed the whistles.

The sequence that killed the Celtics started with 1:32 left in the 4th. Trailing 85-83, Kevin Garnett had a terrible turnover while trying to get the ball to Pierce. The Spurs had a rollercoaster possession that ended with a back-breaking jumper by Matt Bonner. 

If your pulse wasn't racing in the 2nd half, you need to see a doctor. The Celtics blew many, many opportunties to take the lead. 

The Spurs second unit outscored Boston's second unit 44-24. They also dominated on the boards, 53-29. This game was also lost on the free throw line. The Spurs were 8-11, Boston 6-13.

Despite being demoted to the second unit [sarcasm], Avery Bradley played another superb game – 19 points, 9-16 FG and some tenacious defense. When the media asked Gregg Popovich about Bradley after the game, the Spurs coach said, "He's a pain in the ass."

Ray Allen struggled offensively (5 points, 2-6 FG), but nailed a HUGE three pointer with 39 seconds remaining.

The Rondo train keeps rolling along: 17 points, 11 assists and 4 steals in 44 minutes.

Box score | Recap

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

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  • paul

    I love Ray Allen. I’m not into demoting him. But Rondo and Avery have found one helluva groove together. We need those guys coming out the gate, and Ray coming off the bench as a killer sixth man.

  • Nathan

    A few things unrelated to the game. We lost tonight but how fun is this? WE HAVE A BASKETBALL SEASON. And it’s been one helluva a season. Let’s not take it for granted we were close to missing an entire season.
    Secondly. Have any of the rondo haters been converted? He seems to have found CONSISTENCY.
    Thirdly. Remember when Avery Bradley was in the d league last season? Now he’s giving Jesus shuttles worth competition for his starting role. I think he’s my favorite player right now. Good job Avery.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/kwapt KWAPT

    The free-throw shooting and lack of rebounding down the stretch killed us. Especially that huge Ginobli offensive board that let to the Bonner hoop. That, and the C’s hucking-up j’s in the 4th. It was so obvious the Spurs had run out of gas on the tail-end of a back-to-back, but the C’s didn’t attack the rim. Just jumper after jumper. I don’t blame Paul for that last play. Duncan played great D on him. I wish Doc would’ve drawn-up something that freed someone up for an easy layup or even got KG in the post. But oh-well..Tough stretch now: I believe we have 3 or 4 back-to-backs with one back-to-back-to-back in the middle of it.

  • Alex

    I’m sorry but I just can’t stand having Paul Pierce take the final Jumper for the game. It’s normally quite a risk for that hero ball from him. Why not attack the paint? It’s been working MOST of the damn game and who was going to block him? Duncan? He barely can jump…
    This loss was hella frustrating.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/sothewind Lee in Oregon

    Good news is the C’s showed again they can play with anybody. Bad news was they continue to give other teams too many 2nd chances. Great 2nd half though, Bradley is a gem, he got into the game just fine coming off the bench. I’m sure everyone wanted this one going into Chicago, but at least they didnt throw in the towel and give up, a la miami last Sunday.

  • Nathan

    Also I don’t know how much the perk trade really bOthered rondo but he seems to be clicking with his team mates on the court, bench, locker room, whatever.. As good as ever

  • classless

    Doc lost that game. The small ball experiment exascerbated an already glaring Rebounding weakness in crunch time. Forcing both Bradley and Allen onto the floor was a mistake. Bradley has taken the starting gig. Allen can finish games, but benching KG and/or Bass at times for both was foolish.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/arbeerae Arbee Rae Riturban

    I feel Pierce took many bad shots in the end (not the last shot). He took many “hero ball” shots in the last five minutes. He also had a lot of key turnovers. I think he is trying to do too much (not discounting his player of the month honors). I am also sure that a lot of people would bash Ray Allen’s lack of production to justify a bradley move to start, but I feel aside from Rondo no one was looking to pass so Ray is left floating. He took a clutch shot and made it today. If they only set plays in the last 5 minutes we could have won. Even Rondo I felt chose not to pass to Ray on a couple of occasions. As a team they also did a terrible job rebounding. IF I am not mistaken Bonner had 10 rebounds for the Spurs. Thank goodness Phily lost too.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/arbeerae Arbee Rae Riturban

    They’re not looking for Allen either way. Bench him or start him they better start looking for him. I am getting tired of too many Pierce Isos

  • Danno

    The play that killed the game, once again, was Rondo getting cute with letting the ball roll too fucking long. STOP THAT SHIT, ASSHOLE!!!
    That said, the fact that they took the #2 team in the West to a hotly contested 1 point game is fine with me.
    Also, Ray needs to be the 6th man/Bench Captain. NOW.

  • Alex

    I swear, Paul Pierce seems to always hit that 3 ball to tie the game… but when it comes to clutch shots, especially SIMPLE ones, he rarely makes them. Kills me.
    He’s a mixture of both clutch and non-clutch. It’s confusing.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pahlm Brian Pahlm

    It was a great game.. It’s not often you feel good about a loss but after holding the spurs to 9 points in the 3rd we were in this. Free throw misses really made the difference.. The play that sticks out for me was the missed Dunk by Bass. With how bad the O was tonight, if he make that dunk they win by 1… oh well with Rose back tomorrow that will be a real test, we might not see the spurs the rest of the year….How about that old lady with the KG jersey tonight.. really got the crowd out of their seats…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/arbeerae Arbee Rae Riturban

    I have also come to expect Pierce giving away a few possession almost every game, which is not a good thing. OH well we have no choice but to cheer for our team. I really hope they get ray more shots though. If they are not going to use him properly I am wondering why they didn’t trade him. Shooters shoot 6 shots is not shooting much.

  • Alex

    I don’t know why Rondo has to always make these lil cute plays during clutch moments. Do that shit when we have a nice cushion for a lead… So stupid.
    Paul Pierce also gets some blame for making some stupid hero shots and losing the ball constantly (it seems).
    Oh and it would help if the C’s can make some easy layups once in a while.
    But other than that, the C’s clearly proved to us that they can compete with anyone and that the Rondo and Bradley match is a BIG weapon for the C’s. Hopefully Doc uses his damn brain and makes Ray Allen a 6th man.

  • RyanH

    Can’t be mad with the look pierce got or how our guys fought back. Sasha played some good minutes. Love Rondo and Avery together. I’d be for allen moving to the bench to play with keyon, stiemsma and mp when he’s back. Avery gives you much better on ball defense and cutting to the hoop. The toughest thing for our team seems to be re-integrating a player. I still feel good about the team, all things considered. Let’s bounce back tomorrow.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redslovechild1 Redslovechild

    Rondo, Bass, Pavlovic made only 3-of-10 free throws.
    Celtics lose by 1

  • http://profile.typepad.com/kristovar Kristovar

    FTAs were maddening. There is no doubt that Bradley needs to be the starter, and I was even wearing my Allen jersey watching the game. Bass’s dunk… gah. I do not look forward to hearing all of the shit I’ll be catching tomorrow living here in Texas.
    Speaking of, being in Austin, I got the San Antonio local channel. I want to compliment the commentators of the local network. Obviously they were in the tank for the Spurs, but they were quite complimentary to Rondo and the Celtics in general. Kudos to them. I think we’d see more bias against the C’s during an ESPN or TNT cast.

  • Quest

    I can’t see the c’s play changing much in the playoffs unfortunately. If you can’t correct some of these problems at this pt in the season why would anything be different in 3 wks. There is also just not enough talent on the bench to support the starters when they are struggling to get through a 48 min game with a win.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lobbe Caterpillar from Italy

    It’s not the final play (obviously Doc could come up with something better..), because the Captain won big games for us in similar conditions (remember New York?), it’s the FT’s and that dumb play by KG and Rondo that killed us.
    If I were Danny, I’d put a fine on players making that kind of play (and Rondo would be the most fined..).
    Anyway, irritating loss after a good emotional game. Technically speaking, the third quarter was to me one of the worst piece of basketball I’ve ever seen but – damn! – we should have won this!