Every 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.
Pierce? He was a different story. You want someone to wear the goat horns in this one? He’s your guy. He was horrible all night from the floor (5-for-17), he was victimized like a callow rookie on arguably the biggest play of the game. It was a mistake a veteran such as Paul Pierce is not supposed to make. But he made it, pure and simple.
The Celtics led 88-86 with 12.1 seconds left. They had the ball in the Chicago end. What could be better? Rondo (a season-high 30 points) inbounded the ball to Pierce, who was immediately swarmed by Noah and Jimmy Butler. The Celtics knew the Bulls were going to try to force a turnover before fouling. Pierce somehow allowed himself to get tied up for a jump ball with the taller Noah, who won the tip.
You can say Rondo shouldn’t have made the pass — and he shouldn’t have. Jason Terry, for instance, was open in the backcourt. You can say Rondo should have called time before the tie-up (which it appeared he may have done.)
Pierce said he thought the call could have gone either way and noted that he came out of the trap with a busted lip.
“Definitely a huge play of the game,” he said. You think? “All we had to do was get the ball in,” he went on, “maybe in a better position where we can get fouled. Then we wouldn’t be talking about the loss right now.”
Despite Paul Pierce’s claim of a busted lip on the final play (scroll to the 1:45 mark for the replays of the trap), I didn’t think there was an obvious foul. However, the officials made two critical errors:
- They panicked and blew the whistle too soon. Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler did not have dual possession of the ball.
- They selected the wrong Bulls player to jump. The 6-7 Butler was much closer to tying up Pierce than the 6-11 Noah.
You can blame the officials (Eli Roe was brutal), Pierce (for an all-around awful game), Rondo (for passing into a trap but brilliant otherwise), Garnett (for missing 3 free throws in the 4th), Jeff Green (for not showing up) but the reality is… the Celtics didn’t make enough plays to deserve a win.
After six wins, we’re back in a two game funk of inconsistent, mediocre play.
Here’s one stat to chew on: Pierce is shooting 42%. This team won’t make a serious playoff run if he remains woefully inconsistent on offense. Jeff Green was supposed to pick up the slack. Green’s line from last night: 19 minutes, 2 points, 1-4 FG, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals.
Amid this sea of negativity, I want to call attention to Jared Sullinger. He had 15 rebounds playing against a very tough, physical Bulls front line. Bob Ryan is giddy. He says the Celtics hit the jackpot.
The rest of the links:
Herald – Celtics miss chance, burned by Belinelli | Sullinger stands alone on boards | Necessity calls, Rondo answers | ESPN Boston – Noah sounds off on KG… again | KG appreciative of 15th all-star | Globe – Sullinger earns respect of Noah, Boozer | Bulls edge Celtics | CSNNE – No more denying Rondo’s improved shooter | Barbosa’s private struggles