It doesn’t get more maddening that that. Ray Allen emptied his whole magazine without hitting anything, Paul Pierce forgot the game started at 9:05, a revitalized KG saw the ball far too little, the corpse of Lamar Odom actually showed a pulse and of all people, Derrick Fisher turned out to be the killer. Throw in the fact that Doc stayed with his bench for too long in the second and the fact that the Celts close out quarters like the Diamondbacks close out ninth innings and Celtic fans are left with a very bitter aftertaste from last night.
But first things first ….. I just wanted to get this out of the way early. Last night, Backtofoulke went jihad in a bar against one particular Laker fan who either wouldn’t, or couldn’t, shut the fuck up! Clapping and cheering from an opposing fan is perfectly fine but this ass clown was having a snarky conversation with himself for the whole bar to hear. Every play sparked a comment. And every comment was predictably mindless. So at half-time, I got up, approached the perp, firmly tapped him in the chest and politely let him know: “you are gonna shut the fuck up or there will be a problem. Keep up the talk and we’ll see who is flopping.” For comparison sake, I am six feet tall, 195 pounds and sporting a four-week old playoff beard. The 27 yr-old perp was 5’9, wearing a Kobe jersey and slinging a back pack. He protested for one moment but quickly cowered. I may have been the dick but it worked as nobody in the bar heard one more word from that kid all night. I’ve been going to that bar since 2003 and usually don’t say a single word, even to my friends. Once blasted a girl (Dipshit Yankee fan named Megan …I know, totally redundant) during G7 of the 2004 ALCS but that is it. Last night, I was not in the mood.
On to the game …..
The story of the night is obviously Ray Allen’s abortion. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that was probably the worst game of Allen’s life and that includes all sports. And the question people are asking this morning is: how does a guy go from making eight threes one night to 0-13 the next. Well, there is a pretty simple explanation for that. Often times, when markets correct for outlandish moves, they tend to over-correct, meaning they go too far in the opposite direction. That is what happened last night. Allen was due for a reversion off Sunday’s night game but instead of that reversion being a 4-13 night, it turned out to be an o’fer. That too will correct itself but that is of little solace this morning as Allen’s misses absolutely killed the Celts last night and are about 80 percent of the reason why Boston trails the series 2-1. Heading into this series, I thought Allen’s offense was going to be a big story and through three games, that certainly has proven to be the case.
The other big storylines, at least from the Boston POV was PP’s absence in the first half and the Celts inability to get KG the ball more often. I’m not sure what was wrong with Pierce early but he clearly wasn’t ready to play and not even a couple of quick fouls on Artest could get him out of his slumber. His lethargy (and misses) was a big reason why the Celts were in a big hole at half.
The other problem was KG didn’t see the ball nearly enough. It was clear from the get-go that KG was feeling it, but the Celts just didn’t have the ball in his hands nearly enough. Doc lamented after the game that this was a big problem but if he felt that way, I ask …. Why was KG sitting for eight minutes in the first half while the team was struggling?
What was crazy about last night was despite all these problems, the Celts actually had it down to one with five or six minutes to play. That is because the bench played great in the second half, Big Baby went crazy, they protected the ball (just 10 turnovers), Rondo picked it up late and Pierce finally showed up. If they can get this combo for more than a half in game four, and spice it up with a handful of Js from Allen, I am confident the outcome will be different.
* It took three games of pounding but it looks like Andrew Bynum may have blown that tire. I can’t emphasize enough what that will do the play on the court. Bynum doesn’t change everything but he makes a huge difference. If that knee is toast, the Celts just became the favorite to win the series. Sorry, Odom doesn’t have more than one of those left in his pocket.
* Tip of my hat to D Fish. He played great. He has always been a big moment guy and he proved that once again last night.
* Hard to imagine a 10-29 game ever being so well received as the 10-29 that Kobe threw up last night. Yes, he made some tough shots and one beautiful tear drop but he was brutal in the second half. Not bad. BRUTAL. “Hey guys, I am caught without my pivot or dribble, 21 feet from the basket, might as well heave one up ……” Quite frankly, I am more scared of Gasol at this point.
* While KG had it going from the field, he still didn’t look right going for boards. Van Gundy has been killing him for not locking up rebounds with two hands and he is spot on. Garnett had just four defensive rebounds last night and has got to do a better job on ripping those balls down. For that matter, so does Paul Pierce.
* Haven’t seen any talk of this but the Boston Celtics are just brutal at closing out quarters and it KILLED them last night. End of one, Sheed misses a three with four seconds left, nobody rotates back, Odom gets fouled and makes one free throw. So instead of heading into the second down five or six, the Celts were down nine and LA had possession. In the second, the Celts waited too long and PP missed a shot at the buzzer. And in the third, down six, Rondo does his thing, winds down the clock to .8 seconds and then launches an errant eighteen footer. If any of these had been converted, particularly the first, the game may have looked a lot different with five minutes to go.