There is a lot of talk this morning from critics and fans alike about last nights game between the Pacers and the Celtics. I see a lot of negative discussions on how Boston is not the same team and Indy is "the" turnaround team this year. So, is there any need to worry in Green land? Here's why we shouldn't...
You had to believe that this game might not turn out to be one of the C's better outings. You can take the C's late arrival in Indy at 4 a.m. that night as a sign of things to come. Even Doc, who doesn't make excuses, had to remind the media of how the C's day began.
“We got in late, but we just didn’t play well,” said Doc Rivers. “We didn’t deserve to win that game.”
And in that small Doc quote, there offers another other explanation as to what happened at Canseco Fieldhouse last night...the C's simply did not play well. As one writer put it, you name the stat and the C's were at the bottom. Boston had 35 trips to the line converting just 21 or 60%. They shot 34.6% from the field with Pierce shooting 58.3% (7-12) from the charity stripe, just 20% (3-15) from the field, and 28.6% (2-7) from 3! KG was called for 4 walks (leading the C's with 6 TO's) and Rondo just about tripped over his own feet and fouled TJ Ford on key defensive trips down the floor. Which had him effectively neutralized and relegated to the bench with 4 fouls early in the contest.
Boston combined for a total 24 tunrovers with the Big 3 chipping in 14 of those. To make matters worse, even Eddie House couldn't hit good looks from the 3's, some wide open by his standards, shooting just 10% (1-10) from the field. Ray Allen ended up with 10 points on 40% shooting, but only hit 1 of 2 FT's AND only played just over 26 minutes even though he wasn't in foul trouble.
“That’s the only way you can chalk it up,” Allen said. “We had turnovers. Free throws are something we have to work on. But you give too much confidence to the other team when you play this way.”
If there were any bright spots for the C's in the game, they were KG and Tony Allen who played somewhat decent. At least considering the game the rest of the C's played last night, but to say Indy didn't win as much as the C's lost it, isn't telling the whole story. Jim O'Brien along with Dick Harter seem to have the Pacers running a superb defense and their offense looks good also. They appear to have put together a really young, fast, and talented group of players. Making trades last year that got them TJ Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, and Roy Hibbert (draft) in a trade that sent Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto. Adding those pieces to a nucleus of Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, and Marquis Daniels seems to have turned around a hapless Pacers team. In the end, Obie-ball won out and KG knew it.
“I don’t even know what to call that,” Garnett said. “We just got our (butt) kicked. You can go through all of those points of what we didn’t do well, but that’s what happened. But hand it to Indiana. They’re a better team now. They’re playing much better together now.”
The C's now have a lot to work on. They have another back to back coming up, on the road no less, facing the Rockets and Thunder (Tuesday and Wednesday). The C's must bring their A-game when the visit Houston. They also must go over the Indy game tape to see where they went wrong (as if they don't know) and focus on practicing those points. One area which needs tending is FT's.
“Right now we have to make free throws,” said Doc Rivers. “The problem is that you can’t mock a game situation (in practice) for free throws.” . . .
Regardless of not being able to simulate game situations, practice those FT's they must. They are still the Defending Champs. They still have a chance to repeat. It is very early in the season and one game this early isn't going to determine their future. However, it does show the C's are not the exact same team as last year. I truly feel losing Posey was key to our bench. Still, we have pieces that can and need to step up to fill that void. Otherwise, Danny Ainge has work to do. Hopefully, it won't come down to that.