The Celtics lost their 3rd game last night. They still aren't playing Celtic defense. And they are struggling with trust, chemistry and consistency. Courtney Lee hit a couple of shots early but that was about it. He was a step slow on both ends of the court. On the defensive end, he allowed Even Turner to score a game-high 25 points and grab 11 rebounds. I can't help but feel that Avery Bradley's return could help the defense. But whether Bradley returns or not, Lee needs to get comfortable in the system and produce. We keep saying that it takes time, and I'm sure it does. I'm hoping to see signs that he's coming around sooner rather than later.
Jrue Holiday added 21 points and 14 assists for the Sixers. Rondo also played well with 14 points and 20 assists, but his defense still isn't where it should be and it's the defense that will make this team a contender. Again, Avery's return would help, but this team needs to be better on defense all the way around.
Boston Celtics' Jeff Green (8) blocks a shot by Philadelphia 76ers'
Thaddeus Young during the first half of an NBA basketball game in
Boston, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The 76ers won 106-100. (AP Photo/Michael
Paul Pierce and Jason Terry looked better in the second half than they did the first. After a sluggish start for both. Pierce scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half while Terry scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half, including two 3-pointers that helped to keep a a fourth quarter rally going, which ultimately fell short. Pierce had decent stats, but he just didn't look right to me on the court. He was a step slow most of the time, especially on defense.
Jeff Green's struggles continue. As good as he looked in the preseason, complete with comparisons to James Worthy, he has looked that bad for much of the regular season so far. Green made just one of his five shot attempts, finishing with a mere four points and four rebounds in almost 18 minutes of action. It may be pressure to earn his big contract getting to him, it may be the increased physicality of the regular season, or, it may be that he's just not a mentally tough player. Hopefully he can get it together and play the way Danny expected of him when giving him the big contract.
Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) drives for the basket between
Philadelphia 76ers' Dorell Wright, left, and Lavoy Allen during the
second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Nov. 9,
2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Jared Sullinger got the start once again and started strong, but Doc didn't play him much in the second half, choosing instead to go small to match up with the Sixers. Sully finished with four points and four rebounds in 19 minutes. I've never been a huge fan of small ball. Maybe Doc should try a little BIG ball and make the other team scramble to match up with the Celtics for a change.
The Sixers outrebounded the Celtics 38-31. Maybe keeping Sully or a couple of bigs in there instead of going small would help the rebounding efforts. The Celtics must do better on the boards. If you don't rebound, you don't win. Much of rebounding is effort and desire. We have to see more of both from the Celtics if they want to snap out of this funk they are in.
Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) grabs a rebound beside Boston
Celtics' Chris Wilcox (44) in the second half of an NBA basketball game
in Boston, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The 76ers won 106-100. (AP
The Celtics had 14 turnovers to 16 for the Sixers. While 14 turnovers aren't good, that's better than the 20+ that they were racking up in the preseason. The Celtics started the season with great fast break basketball, getting more points on the break than their opponents in almost every game. The Sixers had 26 fast break points to just 9 for the Celtics. Some of that was blown layups to finish the break. There were a lot of those. But some is that they aren't running as much, which is a big mistake.
The Celtics were also outscored in the paint by a large margin. The Sixers had 56 points in the paint while the Celtics had just 38. The Celtics need to make an effort to get to the basket and not settle for jumpers. As I said, there were several plays where they did get to the basket and just couldn't finish. The Celtics still have much to work on. I'm hoping that one of these days it will just click. But in reality, it's going to take time for the players to get comfortable in the system. In the meantime, they get a second shot at the Bucks tonight to show if they've learned anything since the home opener.