The Good: The Pistons and Magic also lost last night so the Celtics didn't lose any ground in their lead in the East. After a 10 game winning streak, what are the odds that the Pistons would keep pace with the Celtics and lose two in a row?
Ray Allen seems to be shooting himself out of his slump. He scored 32 points on 11-17 shooting.
KG is working his way back into game shape and looked much better last night than he did in Denver. He played 32 minutes and finished with a double double of 17 points and 15 rebounds although he shot only 7-16.
Tony Allen continues to round back into pre-injury shape and had a nice game with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He wasn't able to stop that last shot by Baron, but he played Baron about as well as he could without fouling. Davis just hit a tough shot.
The Bad James Posey had a very bad night. He finished with 1 point, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 4 fouls and 1 turnover in 20 minutes of play. This is another questionable move from Doc. Doc should have tried Baby earlier instead of sticking with Posey who was obviously struggling.
The Celtics were out-rebounded 49-37. The Celtics' bigs need to be more aggressive on the boards. There is no excuse for the to be out-rebounded. Rebounding is mostly desire and effort and the Celtics need to show more of that as a team.
The Celtics were outscored 56-42 in the paint. They have been settling for outside shots and not taking the ball to the basket enough. They are much more successful when they work the ball inside then when they settle for quick outside shots.
The Ugly Celtics defense, or rather the lack of it. The Celtics have built their reputation and record on their defense this season and in the past two games it has been non-existent. They gave up 119 points last night and that should never be. Tom Thibodeau must have lost some sleep after the past two games and he needs to remind the team what got them here and get them back to that defensive commitment. We will not win if we try to play the West's run and gun game. We must play defense and take them out of their game rather than letting them draw us into their style.
The Celtics shot 69.6% from the free throw line. They missed 14 free throws. There is no excuse for this. These guys are professionals and they should be able to hit free throws. Pierce (12-13) and Ray Allen (4-4) hit theirs but the rest of the team were pretty dismal from the line. Today's practice should involve defense and free throws.
This trip has started off with 2 losses, not what they had hoped for, but not disastrous because the Pistons have also lost 2 in a row. It also doesn't get any easier with the Suns on Friday, The Blazers on Sunday and the Clippers on Monday. They need to stop trying to outscore teams and get back to playing defense or they could see their first 3 game losing streak of the season. The can't outscore Phoenix, but if they get back to playing the defense that has made them successful so far, they should be able to salvage this road trip. If not, expect all the nay sayers to come back out in full force.
We ran into two hungry ball clubs that cannot afford to lose home games in the Western Conference. They find ways to score even against good defensive clubs. Our problem last night was rebounding and getting to the rim consistently on offense. Plus Posey has flat out not produced. He must still be on All-Star break.