Wins at home this season haven’t been easy, but the Celtics not only beat the Suns relatively comfortably last night, they pushed that home record back up over .500… and moved just a half game behind Detroit for the 7th spot in the conference. Here’s a look at some of the good and bad from last night’s win.
1: Kelly Olynyk
Oh what a beautiful night by Olynyk. It’s the kind of night we dream about with him. That 2nd quarter run he made was perfect. 3’s without hesitation (including a no-doubt 30-foot heat check), runs off staggered screens for in-rhythm jumpers, drives to the rim and sweet finishes at the rim… it’s a dream sequence that reminds you of his potential. Yes, it also reminds you of how bad he can be sometimes… but let’s not get into that now. He closed out the 1st half scoring 13 straight Boston points…. and they were all sweet.
Plus.. that steal and between the defender’s legs bounce pass was pretty sweet.
2: The Amir Johnson/Isaiah Thomas pick and roll
This was just working beautifully with Thomas drawing Tyson Chandler and beautifully dropping the pass behind him to Johnson for an easy bucket. Thomas has assisted on half of Johnson’s buckets this season, and this is mostly why. They continue to run this pick and roll with precision, and continue to show why they should be on the floor together at all times.
3: Jae Crowder
This guy keeps on filling the stat sheet. At this point, a night like this is expected: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. As Jay King & I discuss in the latest podcast, you can make the argument that Jae Crowder is the most important player on this team.
4: Forced turnovers
The Suns had 15 turnovers on the night, but 12 of those were Celtics steals and they turned into 10 points. Quite honestly there were a couple of missed opportunities and subsequent turnovers of their own that could have pumped up that total even more. I’m not thrilled that they gave up 103 points, but the live-ball turnovers are a huge key to the Celtics scoring 117.
1: Letting up
It wasn’t as bad as in past games, but the Celtics came out of the break slow and sloppy. If the Suns were worth a shit, they’d have forged a big comeback. It seemed only Mirza Teletovic seemed interested in making any noise against the Celtics lapsed defense.
The Celtics were never in any REAL danger of losing the lead last night, but that’s mostly because their opponent was terrible. They can’t keep doing stuff like this and expect to be OK.
2: Bradley/Smart from deep
A combined 2-9 and a continuation of each’s individual shooting woes. Each guy is struggling a bit, and I think it’s why they both were the only Celtics to play more than 30 minutes in the game. They both need some jumpers to fall soon.
3: Evan Turner
Did he even play? Actually, maybe I should put this into the 4 Up section… any time Turner is invisible in the game mean he’s not hurting the Celtics.
4: The Schedule
Because I need a 4th thing, really… I’ll just harp on the schedule for a second. I know every team goes through the 4-games-in-5-night stretches… but I’ll be happy when the league figures out a way to eliminate these.