The Celtics were handed their 8th loss in a row as they were beaten by the Blazers in Portland tonight. The Celtics were actually leading at halftime, but again came out flat in the 3rd when they let Portland score 32 points. Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points on an efficient 11-19 shooting. The Celtics also saw a good game from Sullinger who came off the bench for 14 points and 10 rebounds in only 28 minutes.
The Celtics have now lost 11 of their last 12 and have plunged in the standings and ended their 5 game win streak without a win. The Celtics now return home, and will play the Howard fueled Rockets.
The Celtics dominated this game from the get go as their starters outplayed and outhustled the helpless Knicks in every facet of the game. Before the season the Knick were potential contenders but so far the team has looked and played as bad as anyone in the Eastern Conference.
Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudamire actually had decent games as they combined for 36 points, but the rest of the team looked awful as they only combined for 37 points.
The Celtics starters on the other hand played well all game. Crawford continued his hot play as he had 23 points and 6 three-pointers to go along with 7 assists. Sullinger also had a solid game with 21 points and an incredible +43 on +/-. The Celtics overall played great defense as they were able to disrupt the 3 point happy Knicks, allowing only 6 three-pointers.
The Celtics were looking a little sluggish on their back-to-back as the lost their second straight game. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love both had 12 rebounds and had a combined 43 points as the Celtics front-court couldn’t deal with the bigs. Jeff Green also had a forgettable game as he only got 2 points on 0-6 shooting. He had possibly his worst game since his return last year, and probably wants to just forget this game as he was out-shined by Kevin Martin and the Wolves. The lone bright spot was Avery Bradley who scored 27 points on 12-23 shooting.
Jeff Green hit one of the biggest shots of his Celtics career as he hit a buzzer beater that lifted the Celtics over the Heat on Saturday night. The Celtics are now officially on a winning streak as they have won 3 in a row, and now have beaten a legit contender. Wallace also had one of his better games for the Celtics as he filled up the stat box with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, including the key assist to Green for the buzzer beater. Crawford also had a solid game as he scored 15 and upped his trade value again. Avery Bradley also put in a solid game at SG by putting in 17 points on 8-14 shooting. The Celtics now have gotten their biggest win of the season, and are starting to come together as a team.
The Celtics led for most of the game, and even had a lead going into the fourth. But then Bayless led the Grizzlies to a massive comeback with a near perfect 4th quarter. The Celtics again looked desperate for a point guard, as they were hoping that Crawford and Bradley could hold onto the ball. Unfortunately the Celtics ended up with 21 turnovers, in what has become a daily headache for the guards and Brad Stevens. Kris Humphries also was unable to get into the game again in what is now an unfortunate trend for the former reality star.
The Celtics were winning for most of the game behind Vitor Faverani and Brandon Bass, but unfortunately fell apart in the 4th. The Celtics can take heart that their rookie big man had the game of his life with 12 points and 18 rebounds. The Celtics also can take heart that Brandon Bass seems to be raising his game (and trade stock) with another solid game.
Brad Stevens will definitely have a lot to take away from this game, as what worked early for the Celtics, definitely did not work late. Look for adjustments to be made.
Highlights – Celtics don’t show up for 3 quarters then make epic comeback attempt, Knicks don’t impress, Keep the Gang for one more try
Celtics don’t show up for 3 quarters then make epic comeback attempt: If you ever wanted to watch a team get dominated in every facet of the game, the Celtics showed it to you on Friday night. They couldn’t shoot, weren’t switching right on defense, and generally had no flow either defensively or offensively. They shot 32% from the field and had a 20 point deficit heading into the 4th. But then the script flipped and the Celtics showed the heart they have shown all season by going on a 20-0 run. They cut the lead down to 4 points behind Bradley (who decided to show up for the series in the last quarter) and Green. But in the end the Celtics ran out of gas and the Knicks were able to squeak out a win. The Celtics went down with the type of heart we’ve seen them have for the past 6 seasons, and ended the season with a 4th quarter effort that was in no way embarrassing.
Knicks don’t impress: With all the talk of how the Knicks were now making the leap to Championship contenders, this series should put a halt in that thinking. They were impressive in the first 3 games of the series, but then came out of the last 3 looking like immature punks. Wearing funeral garb to a home game that they eventually lost was both ridiculous and moronic as it only served to put the unearned spotlight on themselves. They then proceeded to let a team that was down by 20 in Game 6, make a 4th quarter run that scared even the most confident Knick fans. In the end they are celebrating a Round 1 victory. Round 1 is not where Champions are made, only tested. And in the departments of intelligence and heart the Knicks failed.
Keep the Gang for one more try: A majority of pundits are saying that the Celtics and Danny should part ways with both KG and Pierce and officially start the rebuilding process around Rondo, Green, Bradley and Sullinger. This seems to be a good thought process in that those are some young chips that a team could start to build a nucleus around. Also the 27 million Pierce and KG will be earning next year would put a pause on any GM’s thought process when looking at a 36 and 37 year old. The Celtics could buy out Pierce for $5 million which would spur KG to retire and open up some cap space for the C’s. But this would only open up some cap space for what I consider a weak free agency class. The Celtics are not going to get Dwight Howard, and Al Jefferson is restricted. The list of free agents under that has some other notables, but nothing compared to 2014’s free-agent class. What the Celtics should do is bring the whole gang back for one more attempt. A healthy Rondo and Sullinger will add some key pieces to what was a depleted team down the stretch. Green has emerged to look like a border-line All-Star, and Bradly will be one more season removed from surgery. KG and Pierce could play 25 minutes during the regular season and rest up for what would hopefully be a long playoffs. The Celtics would then have the added experience and youth that most teams dream of. KG and Pierce could also continue to instill in the young guys the Celtic Pride that has come to define this current team. Lastly the contracts of Pierce and KG would come off the books for 2014, when there would actually be some decent free agents. JET, Bass and Lee could all be used as trade bait to maybe bring in one more big, or kept if nothing shows up. Overall the Celtics have some options, but I’m hoping they bring it back for one more run.
Highlights – Green and the vets come up huge!, Knicks embarrass themselves, Game 6 will be huge
Green and the vets come up huge: Jeff Green was amazing in the 4th. As the rest of the team started to falter in the final frame, he personally picked up the offense with 10 points, including 2 back-breaking 3 pointers in a row. But the Celtics really relied on all their vets as they only played 7 players total in the game. Bass ended up with 17 points on 6-7 shooting, while also playing great defense on Carmelo. Pierce also had a great 2nd half after starting the game with 6 straight missed shots. He ended up with 16 points and 4 three-pointers. JET was soaring also, as he hit some clutch shots that shut the Knicks crowd up. He had 5 three-pointers and ended up with 17 points. But the player of the game was probably KG, as he put up a gargantuan 16 point 18 rebound performance that was capped off with the game clinching shot over Tyson Chandler with less than a minute left. The Celtics relied on all their veterans and were amply rewarded by each one of them.
Knicks embarrass themselves: Before the game JR Smith pretended not to know who Jason Terry was. He also said that if he played in Game 4 (he was suspended for elbowing Terry) he would have been golfing instead of playing Game 5. He wasn’t even the worst offender of bulletin board material, as Kenyon Martin, the player that no team but the Knicks wanted because he was an asshole, told the whole team to dress for the Celtics funeral. The pre-game telecast showed each Knicks player following their asshat leader Kenyon, by dressing in black. But the joke was on New York, as they were humiliated on national TV and in front of their home fans after a pathetic performance. The fact that Charles Barkley is now openly rooting for the Celtics shows you how much of an asshat group the Knicks have become.
Game 6 will be huge: The Celtics have the chance to make history on Friday. Only 3 teams in the NBA have been able to force a Game 7 after going down by 0-3 in a playoff series. If the Celtics can take this game, the screws will tighten on the Knicks, and the Celtics could be the first team to fully complete the comeback. There is no doubt that Causeway Street will be loud for the Celtics.