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.
“In the second half, no one did anything for us,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers deadpanned. “They threw a knockout punch. Several.”
Rivers didn’t fail to add: “I thought the fouls on [Garnett] were horrendous. That had a huge effect on us. He never got his rhythm when you could see he was going to have a game. It hurt us.”
Rivers was absolutely right in saying what he said. The fouls were horrendous. They did hinder Boston. But who cares.
As much as we know that Rivers was correct, we also know that doesn’t address the bigger problem plaguing Boston right now.
They are old, slow, defensively deficient and devoid of a floor leader. The combination of it all leaves them ill-equipped to fend off these Knicks, who’ve managed to turn on their motors in the second half in ways the Celtics used to do defensively when they were competing for — and winning — a championship.
As a result, they could very well be on the brink of elimination once Friday night is over.
“We’ve got to play better,” Rivers told reporters. “Plain and simple. We know what we’re capable of.”
Sadly, we’re all starting to wonder what the Celtics are capable of anymore.
Even a victory Friday won’t change the reality.
It pains me greatly to read stinging criticism of my beloved Celtics especially when it originates from the blowhole of Stephen A. Smith.
Smith is accurate on three of his four points. The Celtics are old, slow and devoid of a floor leader.
But defensively deficient?
The Knicks are averaging 86 points in the first two games of this series. That’s 14 points below their regular season average.
The Knicks are shooting about 41% in the series – about 4% lower than their season average. Their 3-point FG % is about 37% which is right at their season average.
This 2-0 hole has very little, okay nothing, to do with the Celtics defense.
It’s all about the Celtics finding an offensive rhythm that has guys attacking the basket and not fading away with jump shots. It’s about Paul Pierce dominating in his ‘giving the game what it needs’ style. It’s about KG draining an open 18-footer after a perfectly executed pick-and-pop. It’s about Jeff Green dropping a thunderous dunk. It’s about Avery Bradley nailing a pair of corner triples to start a Celtics run. It’s about Doc Rivers finding the perfect combination of bench players to generate 20-25 points (we’ll have a post on Doc’s decision to play Crawford over Lee later this morning).
Is that so hard?
In other stating-the-obvious news, the atmosphere at the Garden on Friday night is going to be electric. But Doc won’t play up the events of last week:
“I don’t use tragedy for sports, I don’t think it’s right,” he said. “We want to win for the city, it would be terrific. It is not anything I am going to use in a press conference or with our players. We should want to win. It would be great for our city, but that is as far as I will go.”
Doc doesn’t have to say or do anything. The crowd will handle that.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE – Rivers in-game coaching critical to guards | Celtics see rotation changes | ESPN Boston – Celtics could use lift from Boston | ESPN New York – Knicks are pick and rolling in series | Woody: Best team I’ve coached on road | Different sub pattern for Melo? | Globe – Dreadful 2nd half performances dooming Celtics | Herald – C’s in need of jolt after halftime | Doc wants Garnett in the mix | NY Daily News – Doc’s criticism of refs shows Celts are desperate