This could have been a good win for the Celtics had a couple shots fallen their way late in the fourth quarter but the ball just didn't bounce their way tonight. Wesley Matthews was big all night and hit a barrage of shots from long range to keep the Celtics at bay all game. Tommy Heinsohn noted at halftime that this was a game he thought the Celtics would win claiming all the shots they were missing would eventually go in, unfortunately that didn't happen and the defense couldn't keep the Blazers at bay any longer. A tough layup from the rookie Damian Lillard and a big shot from Matthews sealed the game and gave the Celtics a third loss on the West coast trip. With a big game in Utah looming tonight the Celtics need to regroup so they don't lose any more ground in the Atlantic Division. The good for the Celtics has to start off with some great defense the team played for stretches of the game. The rotations were perfect and it seemed that the first unit was willing the team with just it's defensive intensity alone. Though the offense was shooting a horrific 34% for the first half the C's only found themselves down 7 with some slight momentum to build on. Much to Brian Scalabrine's enjoyment Paul Pierce started to take over at times of the game and couldn't be stopped. During one sequence of the game Scal mentioned that Paul had assisted on two straight shots, produced a defensive stop and hit a three pointer. The pick and roll with Kevin Garnett was effective at times but Garnett was as efficient with his jumpshots as he usually is.
It was a battle all night among two of the games best power forwards.
The ugly half of the game? That blame can be put on the bench for tonight and a lack of energy. As a whole the team only had 16 assists, which is below their average, none of which the bench was able to contribute. The recent development between Terrance Williams and the team didn't continue to blossom tonight as he was ineffective in sparing minutes. His fellow new arrival, Jordan Crawford, wasn't much better either as he put up an 0-4 night and had no effect on the game. Though these guys have played well in little time people might have been two quick to expect consistent play so soon. Their still learning the offense schemes and more importantly the defensive one's so until they have everything down it's going to be tough for Doc to find them opportunities.
The rookie didn't play like one for most of the game.
One thing the team can build on is the defensive intensity Bradley and Courtney Lee showed in the backcourt. Tonights game against Utah is critical for the C's if they want to keep pace in the standings so that type of energy is going to be needed to pull out a win. If those two guards can create havoc like last night and pressure it can do wonders to stop Utah's one strength, their front court. If the guards can work the guards brining up the ball it can disrupt the offense for Utah's guards and prevent them from finding the post quickly and with enough time on the shot clock. If the C's want to limit the bigs tonight they need to make sure they aren't getting the ball with a lot of time to work with because given the opportunity, Big Al and Paul Millsap can score.
The Celtics let one slip away last night but Doc will emphasis the importance of this game and I think they pull it out. Garnett was visibly infuriated as he walked off the court last night so you can bet he's brining his best against a loaded front court of young and polished players.