In spite of the 107-104 loss in the box score, this was actually a pretty good game. They played together as a team, hustled hard the whole game, and didn't hang their heads when they got hung out to dry by the officials. For much of the night it was very obvious that the Celtics were playing 5 on 8. We finished with a 23-16 disparity in free throws taken, but up until the end, it was more like 18-5. There were so many bad calls that even the posters on the Cavs boards were mentioning it. A couple of months ago, that would have been enough to make the young Celtics hang their heads and give up, but they kept fighting and finished strong. If we had at least half the bad calls by the refs we would have won going away. One of the worst was a break away foul on Gomes where he was right beside him when the foul occurred. It was a bad call and they got 2 free throws and a 3 on the following inbounds play. It was a 5 point turn around based on a bad call by the refs.
There was plenty to be happy about from our young players last night. Al continued his strong play of late with another double double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and a steal. He had 4 turnovers as well with 2 of those being travels that really didn't look like travels as he spun to the basket. He had been called for those travels early in the season and Doc sent a tape to the front office and then they stopped calling it but it looked like the refs last night didn't get the message. Perk played 13 minutes last night and finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. He played a short stint along side Jefferson and they looked really good together. I wish Doc would play them together more often.
Tony Allen also continued his strong play on both ends of the floor with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He made his points from all over the floor including drives, free throws, jumpers and even a 3 pointer. He missed a big free throw that could have tied the game with 8 seconds to go and afterwards said that he would practice 1000 free throws because of it. Gerald Green had one of his best games finishing with 21 points on 8-13 shooting to go with 2 rebounds. It bothered me that Doc seemed to harp on his defense on LeBron's 80 foot heave at the end of the third period. No, Green wasn't in his face, but how many times do 80 foot heaves at the buzzer go in? But he did so many other things that were good in the game, that shouldn't be the defining moment of the game for him. He did a fantastic job of curling to the basket off screens and hitting the shots.
West is still hurting in spite of his assurances that he is feeling better. In the 4th period he went down after a driving layup and it was painful to watch him get up. He took so long getting up that Tony gave a foul at the other end to stop play thinking he was hurt. In spite of the back still bothering him, he started the game and played 32 minutes. He finished with 10 points on 4-9 shooting to go with 8 assists, 1 rebound, and 2 steals. A couple of his assists were very nice bounce passes through traffic inside for a hoop. I just hope he isn't hurting himself by playing with the back injury. Telfair had 24 solid minutes with 10 points, 4 rebound, 5 assists and 1 steal with 0 turnovers. Rondo had only 7 minutes and hauled in a rebound and an assist.
Wally continued his shooting woes tonight going 4-13 from the field and 1-5 beyond the arc for 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 turnovers. I don't get Wally going 29 minutes and Green going 19 minutes when Green is obviously out playing Wally on both ends of the court and Wally is obviously not 100%. And Doc called the last play for Wally to hit a 3 from the top of the arc. I don't get that one either. Green is obviously our best 3 point shooter right now. Wally is struggling, so why call the last play for the person who is in a shooting slump. Why not go with the hot hand? Another coaching decision by Doc that has me shaking my head. Gomes had another fairly quite game with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. He isn't spectacular but he doesn't make many mistake either. A solid player.
Scal had 13 minutes (same as Perk) and finished with only 2 turnovers and 2 fouls. Kandy had a 4 minute cameo and made the most of it with 1 rebound and 1 blocked shot. Contrast this with Powe's 5 point 4 rebound performance in just under 3 minutes or any other time that he is on the floor and you really have to wonder why this guy is on the bench. It is definitely a mystery to me!!
One thing that I found particularly encouraging is that they finally were working the pick and roll. This is good because it really opens up the floor for Al and the person feeding him the ball as well. Now we just have to work on defending it better. All in all, this was an encouraging game. We stayed with the team who his tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference, without our star player and with 2 of our starters obviously hurting and if it wasn't for a plethora of bad calls against us, we would have won it. It was very encouraging though that the players didn't waste time arguing calls or hang their heads. They just kept playing hard and that bodes very well for our future.