“We got selfish as a team,” said Wallace. “Instead of worrying about winning the ball game, we were more worried about stats and getting points. It showed. We went from a team that was together and moving and playing together in the first half to a team that was five individuals out on the court, everybody’s playing for themselves. And it showed on the defensive end.”
Why did that happen?
“I don’t have a clue. You gotta ask everybody in here,” said Wallace. “I don’t know. I really don’t even understand it. I’m trying to figure out what’s more important, winning or padding your stats? Because this is a game that we were supposed to win easy, without even the starters playing in the fourth quarter. Instead, we got selfish as a team, we didn’t move the ball, we let the ball stick, we stopped pushing the ball. And their second unit came in and manhandled us, and did whatever they wanted to do.”
Echoed Green: “[Ignoring personal stats is] the biggest thing right now. That’s what we have to do. In order for us to take the next step to getting better, we’ve got to figure out ways to put egos aside, put your pride aside and just buy into what Coach Stevens wants. That’s the only way we can win.”
Did the Celtics stop playing defense last night? Yes. See Milwaukee’s 58 second half points as exhibit A.
Did they stop moving the ball on offense? Yes. See Boston’s 2 second half assists as exhibit B.
Did the Celtics players focus on padding stats? I’m not sure.
The offense went south because the C’s lack a true point guard that can push the pace, get the guys the ball in the right spots and reset the offense when needed. The only way you win without a point guard is with guys like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.
Milwaukee got physical and the Celtics responded by fouling. The Bucks went 19-23 from the free-throw line in the 2nd half.
What happened to the Celtics last night happens all the time in the NBA. Teams build big leads, get complacent and have difficulty regaining their poise. The veteran, talented teams know how to flip the switch back, while the younger teams flail away.
The most disturbing aspect to last night’s collapse is that it happened to the Bucks at home. Milwaukee has a talent level equal to the Celtics.
And one final note, Gerald Wallace can’t blast this team every night. They will tune him out.
The rest of the links:
Herald – Painful early lesson | Celtics again slip on finish | Boston honors Russell with statue | Globe – Celtics home opener lasted too long for Stevens | Celtics give away home opener | ESPN Boston – Faverani’s night overshadowed | CSNNE – Home schooled | Long overdue, Russell statue unveiled | Stevens: I want losing to hurt