Well, the Celtics have lost 2 in a row. Once again, the defense just wasn't there. The Celtics talked about this team being the best defensive team ever. Well, so far it's all talk because when you allow a team to rack up 113 points on 52% shooting and allow them to shoot 50% from beyond the arc, You aren't playing defense. This team is very capable of playing lock down defense. We saw it in the first 5 games and in the Utah game but then, in the other games, the defense just hasn't been there. I don't know if it is fatigue or if it is just mental lapses. Whatever it is, they need to figure it out and get back to locking teams down on D because it is defense that wins championships.
There were a couple of bizarre happenings in this game. In the beginning of the 3rd quarter, a Dahntay Jones jumper got stuck inside the basket in the net and Perk had to tip it to get it to fall out. Then, in the 4th quarter, a Ray Allen 3 got wedged between the basket and backboard. And on one play, two Pacers were going for a rebound of a Paul Pierce miss and they tipped the ball into the Celtics' basket. Perk got credited with the points because he was the closest Celtics to the basket.
I really don't like Joey Crawford. He is power happy. Perk was called for a foul and afterwards, he calmly put his hands up in the air and according to Mike Gorman, who was just 10 feet away, Perk just said "I went straight up." And Crawford gave him a technical foul. It seemed totally uncalled for. Then, on the next play, Doc Rivers got a technical also. KG and Sheed also received techs in this game. You should recall that Joey Crawford was suspended back in 2007 for tossing Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench in a playoff game. He then challenged Duncan to a fight when Duncan tried to plead his case. I imagine he won the pool tonight for giving out the most technicals in the game.
The Celtics appeared to fix their rebounding problems and out-rebounded the Pacers 43-34. The difference was a lot bigger in the first half. They seemed to lose their fight in the 4th quarter and allowed the Pacers to get most of the rebounds down the stretch as they pulled away.
The Celtics struggled on the offensive end, especially in the second half. They shot just 3-12 from beyond the arc for just 25% and shot just 48% overall. They weren't moving the ball as can be seen from the fact that they had just 18 assists on 39 field goals. On the other hand, the Pacers had 31 assists on 40 field goals.
Perk and Shelden Williams both played well as Perk finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks in 28 minutes and Shelden finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block in 17 minutes of play. Shelden had one play in particular that was impressive. He blocked a shot on one end and ran the floor to finish with a layup at the other. He also won the Tommy Award for the game.
Ray Allen had a team high 24 points on 8-18 shooting. He was 2-6 from beyond the arc and continues to take the ball inside when his outside shot isn't falling. Pierce had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. KG finished with 15 points 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Rondo had 10 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals but continues to struggle from the line going 0-2 in this game. Marquis Daniels had 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists against his former team.
The Celtics have 3 days off now to regroup and try to get their defense right and to figure out what went wrong in these past two games. There is a lot of talk about fatigue, but I personally think it is more mental lapses than it is fatigue. Even to begin the games, the starters have been coming out flat. They just don't seem to be playing with the urgency and intensity that their opponents have been playing with. They need to get that mental toughness back.