“We shouldn’t be satisfied with the way we played tonight.” Paul Pierce
“We have to be better” Doc Rivers
“We got to play better if we want to be champions.” Big Baby Davis
Say this about the interviewing skills of the Boston Celtics … they are not above stating the obvious!
So where do I start? Do I mention the fact that forty-eight balls came off the Celtics defensive rim and the Knicks got twenty of them? Do I harp on the fact that Boston’s bench is no better at holding leads than the 2010 Arizona Diamondback bullpen? And should I even mention that last night’s opponent had Jared Jeffries, Rony Turiaf and Billy Walker on the floor during the ninth inning?
I know some Celtics fans are pleased with last night’s outcome and I’ll admit to being relieved, but people, that was the definition of a shit show. Yes, it was exciting. And kudos to KG for not shirking his late-game responsibilities. But it was also horrifying on many levels and at this point, I don’t see any reason to be long the Celtics right now.
Now Celtic apologists are arguing today that when a superstar like Carmelo Anthony goes off like that, there is little a team can do to stop him. But that ignores the fact that the Celtics did more than enough to stem that attack if they had just grabbed a few loose balls. Do I have to repeat what I said earlier? There were 48 available boards off the Celtics glass and the Knicks got 41.7% of those. Half that number would have been troubling given Amare’s absence. But 41.7%? That is sickening.
Beyond Boston’s inability to secure its own backboard, the bench once again got bombed. In this area, Rivers is partly to blame as he started lifting starters a bit early last night just as the Celtics were on a first quarter run. Granted, Rondo seemed winded at the moment and in need of a blow, but once the Celtic cavalry arrived, the Knicks regained the high ground and all of Rondo’s good work was erased. Thank you Jeff Green!
What scares me is that as poorly as the bench has played in Boston, it figures to get worse on the road where lesser players tend to struggle. So if you are sick of watching Green freeze in the headlights or Davis clank 18 footers, I suggest you find something else to do on Friday night. Because “Green at the Garden” doesn’t figure to be very appetizing.
Add it all up and last night was pretty unsavory. Far from looking like a contender, the Celtics looked like a bunch of non-tenders. And while that may be enough to survive this first round, it doesn’t figure to be nearly enough to survive the second.