For 3 quarters, the Celtics looked really good. We were playing defense and the offense was clicking on all cylinders. Then the Cavs started playing defense and the Celtics fell apart. Once again, we are left to look for positives in a loss.
The Celtics were playing without Wally Szczerbiak who announced just before the game that he would be unavailable for the game. Ratliff is once again out with his bulging disc. Al is out with appendicitis. It seems like the team is picking up where they left off last season with a rash of injuries one after another. Last year, the injuries gave us Ryan Gomes. I have a feeling that if Telfair wasn't out last night, Rondo would still be on the bench. Now would be the time to give Powe some playing time with Ratliff possibly out for awhile with his back. However Doc seems to think that Scal is a crunch time player so Powe will probably continue to sit on the bench.
There were some bright spots tonight though. We showed through the first 3 quarters that we can play defense and we can play as a team. My personal highlight was the play of Perk. He ended up with a double double with 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Perk is going to continue to improve and to play more and more without fouling. All he needs is playing time and with Theo out indefinitely, hopefully he will be getting it.
West seems to be breaking out of his slump and hit some big shots tonight. He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block. He plays hard and we really need him to get his confidence in his shot back. Gomes continued with his solid play finishing with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. I just don't know why Scal was out there in the 4th quarter instead of Gomes. Again, Doc's substitutions and in game decisions are puzzling.
Telfair played 34 minutes and finished with 15 points and 5 assists and no turnovers. I still feel that Rondo is our better PG because of his defense and because he runs the team more under control. He played only 13 minutes last night.
In spite of not scoring in the first half, Pierce finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Pierce took and missed at least two 3's over a double team and failed to see (or just didn't want to) an open Delonte on the wing. Perhaps, Pierce got wrapped up in the whole Pierce vs LeBron thing and wanted to do more than he should have.
I do feel that it is coming together for this team. We may be 1 and 5 and that is a terrible record but we are seeing some progress. Many of our problems stem from the inability to get stops when we need them. If we had a coach who took defense seriously and knew how to coach it, our defense would undoubtedly improve. I am not ready to give up on this team yet, though, even with Doc as coach. It is still very early and when other teams begin to slide toward the end of the season, the Celtics will be hitting their peak. There is an article today that compares this team to the young Chicago team taht started out 0 and 9 and finished with the 4th seed in the east. There is definitely time for this team to gel and come around. And I believe they will and last night's heartbreaking loss will be a distant memory and a blip on a successful season.