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Your Morning Dump..Where All Is Not Lost

KWAPT March 11, 2013 The Morning Dump 28 Comments

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.

We could harp on the bad — and there was plenty of it, like the 19 turnovers, the poor shot selection, Jeff Green’s dud in his first trip back to Oklahoma City, Kevin Garnett’s off shooting night and a poor effort overall by Boston’s bench — but there were actually some silver linings the Celtics can begrudgingly cling to after Sunday’s 91-79 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chief among them is that Boston displayed a brand of defense that contained two of the league’s elite offensive players and proved the Celtics are capable of competing with any team in the league. -Chris Forsberg 

It would be easy to start the week moping about the Celtics loss yesterday, but I’ll have none of it. Although I was somewhat distracted by the goings-on at our annual party yesterday, I took in most of the game and liked some of what I saw. Particularly the defense. We held the top offensive team in league under 100 points:

The per-possession numbers actually suggest this wasn’t a dominant defensive effort from the Celtics. According to Synergy, Boston gave up 0.938 points per possession (91 points on 97 plays; well above the team’s season average of 0.893 points allowed per play). But even Rivers admitted that his team’s goal was simply to keep the Thunder out of triple figures and Boston accomplished that. Putting Oklahoma City at the charity stripe didn’t aid the Celtics’ cause, but Boston did an excellent job containing both Kevin Durant (23 points on 6-of-16 shooting) and Russell Westbrook (15 points on 5-of-11 shooting). The Thunder lead the league in offensive rating, averaging 110.7 points per 100 possessions. To bring that number down nearly 14½ points — even just for one game — is an accomplishment. At the end of the day, Boston is going as far as its defense can carry it. If the Celtics take care of the ball and knock down shots with typical consistency, they give themselves a chance to win games — including this one — with that brand of defense.

On the other side of the ball, we definitely struggled. Shots did not fall, and KG looked to be still tired from Friday’s OT game vs Atlanta. But we know that’s going to be the case with this squad. Pierce & Ticket simply will not be able to contribute big numbers every game.

So while fully acknowledging the Celtics have plenty of areas to improve on — this team absolutely cannot turn the ball over as recklessly as it has recently, it would benefit from getting to the free-throw line with more consistency and it won’t hang around long in the playoffs if it shoots just 37.7 percent from the floor — let’s pour a big ol’ glass of green Kool-Aid and accentuate the positives.

Brandon Bass, who has been the ire of many a Celtics fan this year with his “inconsistent” play, actually had a productive game against the Thunder. Granted, there were times I was screaming “shoot it”, but of the 4 shots he did take, three fell. However it was his hustle on the glass that was really important. Now if we could only get that from him more often:

 The Celtics need to bottle Brandon Bass’ energy from Sunday’s game and figure out how to uncork it more consistently. Bass pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds (helping to keep Oklahoma City off the glass as the Celtics finished with a 44-41 edge in boards). Bass added eight points on 3-of-4 shooting and a block. His defense was still inconsistent (Synergy Sports data had him allowing nine points in eight possessions defended), but the focus on the glass and efficient offensive output is a large part of what the Celtics are looking for more consistently with Bass.

This game never really felt close-mostly due to the way Boston turned-over the ball. Their carelessness really cost them, yet come the 4th quarter, they were still very much in the game. And if not for a dismal 4th where the C’s shot 4 of 22 from the field, maybe we even steal this game:

Everyone in Boston said the same thing at the end of the third quarter: How is this a one-possession game? With the turnovers and offensive struggles, it felt like Oklahoma City should have been up 20. Instead it was a three-point game to start the fourth quarter. After Wednesday’s thrilling win over the Pacers, Rivers noted how the Celtics have been hanging around all season, overcoming all the adversity they encounter and giving themselves a chance to win games. That’s exactly what they did again on Sunday, even if shots didn’t fall for them this time around.

The Celtics now have a three game stretch of winnable games. I’m confident that they’ve put this loss behind them and are ready to begin another win streak.

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston: Chargewatch | Herald: KG’s Dismal Day  C’s Mistakes Make Win Streak Vanish  | Globe: Celtics Put Up Good Fight But Fall to Thunder |CSNNE: Perkins Helps Lock Down Old Friends  |

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  • Chuckdabuk

    Doc needs to stop putting kg in with the second unit it holds them bak be cuz all they do is run plays for him when they were a run and gun unit don’t no y doc is doin it more lately but it def makes the new guys feel they gotta get kg the ball I instead of pushin it up the floor

    • JG

      This is actually a terrific observation. It’s similar to what was happening with Rondo. I think if the offense ISN’T working without him, then fine, but often they are better when they are out running and they do definitely do that better sometimes without KG on the floor. Absolutely right.

    • 00dc2

      i agree, great comment!

  • KY Celts fan

    No reason to be bummed about the loss. OKC is the second best team in the league and probably going to the Finals again. And while OKC’s points per possession was higher than our average, they had less offensive possessions than usual because our defense forced them deep into the shot clock. We played well, we were just beaten by a much better team. That’s the way it goes. Time to get ready for the next one!

    • LAF

      i didn’t think they were that much better. AB turned westbrook into a d-leaguer. and had any one of kg, terry, green or even crawford shown up, we might be singing a different tune this morning.

      • Larry Legend

        This game didn’t bother me at all. Celts didn’t play well and were right there. Celts are a tougher team. They’ll be fine. Wouldn’t waste another thought on it.

        • LA Flake

          me neither. the c’s played HORRIBLE, maybe the worst i’ve seen them play in awhile and still stayed in the striking distance the whole game despite all the terrible calls by the refs. i believe that if the c’s meet the thunder in the finals, we’d beat them in 6 or less.

  • Noori

    Hey even Westbrook has off nights, just a random loss like any team gets, it wasn’t for lack of effort though and I will always appreciate that

    • LA Flake

      Westbrook was totally scared of AB and it showed. I think AB’s in Westbrook’s head and they both know it. AB’s emphatic block on Westbrook which was wrongly called goaltending only reenforced that.

      • Roy

        Westbrook should have been called for a ton of offensive foul calls. he kept shoving bradley with his arm clearly extended. they let them play so can’t complain too much, but it was obvious Westbrook couldn’t handle Bradley’s D.

  • Jester00

    how was the party?

    • KWAPT

      It was fantastic

  • Jim says

    Congratulations to Brandon bass for getting his first career highlight for the rebound and dunk.[[edited by admin]]

    • Larry Legend

      No need for that Jim. Pretty weak. Have some respect for others and just leave

    • Alex

      What kind of human being wishes a severe injury on someone… Pricks like you need to be banned so you don’t taint this blog with your stupidity.

  • eddysamson

    Bass is such an oddball. His best games come when everyone else is struggling and when the rest of the team is doing fine he always plays/looks awful.

    For sure they should have gave him more looks last night, especially in the 4th. All those KG misses I bet Bass would have hit. Not knocking on KG, but he was clearly off.

    • http://www.science-pope.com mrchumpy

      Yeah, you know you’re having a strange game when Bass is your most productive player. I regularly shit all over Bass in the comments for this site, but I’ll never complain about any game where he gets 10 REBs and otherwise doesn’t do anything too stupid.

      His consistency is the most infuriating part though…I just want to make up my mind about whether he sucks or not and move on. :{P

      • eddysamson

        Well pros/cons

        pros-
        -jump shot
        -1 on 1 defense
        -knows the team

        cons-
        butter hands
        bad at team D
        lack of post game
        overall clumsiness
        lack of ability to use his body (tied in to clumsiness)

        He is best when the rest of the team isn’t shooting too well, but we haven’t been getting him his good shot in those circumstances since Rondo went down. Bass needs Rondo…his whole game is catch and shoot and Rondo was great at getting him his shot.

        • LA Flake

          Rondo was perhaps “too” great at getting him his shot as Bass was quite frequently Rondo’s first or second option. I hated that. But Bass was terrific last night no doubt. We need that type of effort from him every night. I don’t care if he grabs 15 rebounds or 5 rebounds. I just want him to hustle and play hard. Too often I see him playing with no energy and it pisses me off because Bass has been hurting the team all year with his piss poor play. But last night was awesome. Just play hard. That’s all I ask for from Bass.

          • eddysamson

            He really just needs to keep his butter fingers and general clumsiness in check. He’s a turnover machine sometimes and it can be REAL painful to watch.

  • http://driveittothemoon.com/ Lee in Oregon

    I hope Bass can play like that for the rest of the year,and get his confidence back in his shot.

  • Alex

    I want “Jim says” band from this blog emmediatley. What he said about Brandon Bass is despicable I got a 16 year old who reads this blog and i dont need filth like that in his head. It’s people like that that are bringing this country on the verge of collapse. He needs to be put away for a while. He needs to go or me and a lot of other bloggers will leave this blog and it wont be the same.

    • Big Al

      Whoa, relax guy

    • GreenbirdCro

      I agree. Too much of bad stuff going around here lately. Hope that guys will figure out solution that will keep things in check. And very soon as well!
      This used to be a cool place b4, nowadays… so sad…

  • Roy

    I myself was not discouraged at all after this game ended. Like Doc says it’s a miss or make league and unfortunately we missed a lot of shots. Rest up and get back at it tomorrow night

  • Nate

    KG has that type of game every once in a while. We really needed Terry and Green to score in his place but they couldn’t. We’ll move on and kill the Bobcats tomorrow

  • JG

    I don’t get what the problem was. I thought last night was VERY encouraging. Turnovers and shooting are things that fluctuate. Defense should never fluctuate. They should a solid foundation yesterday in that they are getting much more consistent defensively. I had no idea they could play such good D against OKC.

  • john rotolo

    Jim`s comment was not just mean-spirited .It was flat out stupid. Bass is a mediocre player, but he has had numerous highlights.