Thursday, November 15, 2012

Celts Have 99 Problems But A Bench Ain't One: C's Still Lose To Jay-Z's Team, 102-97

"I feel bad for ya', Son!"


This one hurts. Not because it signifies that the Celtics are in trouble -- they're not, in fact I think they're coming along nicely. No, this one hurts because, in a game featuring the debut of "Rajon Rondo: Bench Coach" and a first half in which the C's were absolutely buried by the Brooklyn Nets' superior rebounding and second-chance points, the green guyz actually led in the 4th quarter and had multiple chances to put the game away.

Yes, not having Rajon Rondo (tweaked ankle) to direct the offense was a significant factor, but the game ultimately came down to two things: the C's failure to get stops when it counted and their inability to hit free throws down the stretch. Paul Pierce, who was otherwise brilliant with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, and Jason Terry (10 points, 6 assists, 4 boards) missed 4 key freebies in the game's waning seconds and a previously bottled up Joe Johnson became uncorked late in the game with 9 fourth-quarter points, finishing with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, not to mention the win.

As the title suggests, A) I am a Jay-Z fan, even if he DOES own the Nets and B) the Celtics bench was not only not a problem, they were an asset and helped to put the C's in position to win, despite the sizeable hole left by Rondo's absence. Mercenary Leandro Barbosa continued his assault in green against the rest of the league -- this time as a starter -- attacking all comers with  17 points while Courtney Lee awakened from his recent slumber and stepped up with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Kevin Garnett added 14 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block.

Though the C's nearly took this one with a valiant second half effort in which they turned the tables on Brooklyn, beating them to loose balls, rebounds and defensive positioning, ultimately, they were done in by Johnson, the interior play of center Brook Lopez (24 points, 6  rebounds and 4 blocks), and aggressive guard play from Deron Williams (24 points 8 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block).

The positives: The C's showed that they can play with anyone, even when their All-Star playmaker is sitting on the bench. They also showed that those starting the game on said bench may soon become the arrows in the quiver that will ultimately help the Celtics hit their target of playing in June for the reward of a champagne shower.

This team is still figuring it out, but they're leaps and bounds closer to the answers than they were even as recently as last week. Give these guyz're gonna be proud of them.

Box Score


Next up, the Toronto Raptors.

The C's will return home for a rare early Saturday game to try and embark upon another win streak.

Celtics vs. Raptors
Saturday, November 17th, 2012
12:30 pm
@ The Boston Garden

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