The Celtics had a chance to win the game with five seconds remaining, but Jeff Green couldn’t finish a well-contested layup, and they fell to Detroit 107-106.
On a night where trade talk was expected to dominate discussion, it seemed like the Celtics’ offense was going to let us forget about the rumors. That was true for the first 12 minutes, but the remaining 36 defined exactly why Boston could use that seven-foot Turkish guy we’ve been hearing about.
The Celtics jumped out to an early lead using a balanced attack of fast-break scoring and solid post-work. Brandon Bass didn’t waste much time finishing off an alley-oop and Jeff Green slammed home a steal. From there, they worked inside-out, sharing a few made three-pointers. A couple of unguarded threes on Detroit’s end helped they stay relevant; although Josh Smith did his best Josh Smith impression to deter much of that effort (2-7 in the first quarter). Behind a late push from Avery Bradley, the Celtics went on a tear — closing out the quarter up 42-23.
The offense stalled-out a bit in the second, and the Garden sounded incredibly silent. Through my TV, it sounded like the arena had been replaced with Heat fans (you know, real quiet). The Celtics didn’t do themselves any favors, committing 10 first-half turnovers — even though it felt like 20. The Piston’s frontcourt, the one we’ve heard much about, was finally able to locate a groove midway through the second, torching the C’s in the paint. Drummond and Monroe combined for 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, and they cut the lead down to 63-52.
Unfortunately, halftime didn’t supply any relief for Boston — who got gashed by Detroit’s 16-6 run to start the third. Brandon Jennings quietly let his shot flow, while still maintaining to keep everyone else involved. The best thing about the third was probably when Faverani hustled to score and then take a charge all within the last five seconds. Everything else was pretty ugly.
Fast-forwarding to 2:46 in the fourth quarter and down by seven, Jordan Crawford converted on a three-point play, which led to an awesome defensive sequence. For nearly the full 24-second shot clock, Brandon Jennings bobbed and weaved his way to absolutely nowhere; with Avery Bradley matched him step-for-step and forced a missed jumper.
Not long after, Sullinger hit us with a little déjà vu (Minnesota game, anyone?), as he hit a go-ahead three with 1:01 remaining. Jennings answered with a three of his own, and then Sullinger hit one of two from the line, leaving the Celtics down 107-106 with 39 seconds left.
Avery Bradley continued to completely harass Jennings, who missed his next shot.
With a chance to win the game, Brandon Bass dribbled out much of the remaining shot clock with little intention to shoot. Stevens was able to regroup with a timeout, and with exactly five seconds left –Jeff Green caught the inbound pass, drove to the basket, but was unable to finish with Josh Smith’s defense matching him every step of the way. Game over.
The first quarter. Everything about it. The pace was good, the defense was tight, and the shots were falling.
Courtney Lee’s play in the
11th hour fourth quarter… he scored 10 points, knowing well that he could likely be traded tomorrow.
Avery Bradley’s defense on Brandon Jennings in the fourth. Bradley didn’t even blink during his defense against tonight’s best scorer.
Turnovers. All 19 of ‘em.
Jordan Crawford’s three-ball, which only went in once in seven tries.
The final possession. Brandon Bass dribbled aimlessly with his back to the basket for nearly 12 seconds. Green’s look was decent, but the entire possession was marred by Bass’ inability to reset.
We got a chance to witness the best tip-in of the century tonight (well, according to Tommy). Although I’d argue this one takes the cake.
Avery Bradley’s steal and finish.
Vitor sneaks in the slam
- Boston posted a 42-point first quarter. First time they’ve done that since 1999.
- For the second game in a row, Avery Bradley scored 10 points in the first quarter.
- Brandon Jennings had himself a game. 28 points and 14 assists.
Tonight may have been the final game in green for Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee. They’ve both been contributing well this season, and it’d be sad to see them go. We should know their fate by tomorrow’s end.