Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spurs Give Celtics Splitter Headache -- Boston Falls To San Antonio: 100-112

These two, along with Old Man Duncan made the lives of the Celtics miserable for 48 minutes. Now, we expect The Artist Formerly Known As Mr. Longoria Tony Parker to put his speedy French feet up our collective green @$$es on the regular, and Tim Duncan just keeps coming at us like the cranky, dangerous dinosaur that he is, but Tiago Splitter? Twenty-three points? People all over Brazil must be calling for his hometown of Blumenau to be renamed "Splittsville" after tonight. And just in case you feel like checking his stats for the year to see whether this is a season high, don't is. He's only averaging 6.7 points on the season, but as we already well know, if you want your season high, just come see the boyz in Beantown!

I am being facetious, of course (well, mostly...consider that Splitter's career high is just three more points than he scored tonight). But, the point is that the C's were absolutely pounded on the boards -- 25-41 with only a single offensive rebound -- and allowed the Spurs to shoot 58.4% (and a ludicrous 50% from behind the arc) to their own 53.2%. The Celtics were also outscored in the paint by a whopping 24 points -- 58-34, leading to even more hue and cry from fans and talking heads alike about the Celtics' desperate need for a rebounding big man.

The truth is, the C's can use another rebounder (or 2 or 3 or...) without a doubt, and there needs to be more effort made to box out and defend, but the game essentially boiled down to execution down the stretch and the confidence that comes with familiarity and trust in one's teammates. The Celtics had critical turnovers in the 4th quarter that the Spurs converted into points, while the C's forced shots and missed bunnies. Bottom line: the C's were in this game for three and a half quarters and nearly stormed all the way back with Rajon Rondo singlehandedly dragging the team to within six in the 4th quarter, scoring the 19 of the last 21 points to finish with 22 and 15 assists and yet another step closer to double-digit assist streak immortality.

Lost in the final score were great shooting nights by Paul Pierce (19 points on 6-11 shooting with an assortment of step-backs and herky-jerky, off-speed fadeaways), Brandon Bass (16 points, 7-10 shooting and six boards), Kevin Garnett (14 points on 7-14 shooting), and Jason Terry with 12 points on 5-9 shooting).

Don't get me wrong: the C's need to address their rebounding problems, but as Doc Rivers said after the game, the Celtics' defense has work to do. The positive? I think they're slowly getting there. Make no mistake about it, the Spurs are a very accomplished team and there's no shame in playing them tight and losing a close one. Lack of boxing out and weak defense? That's another story. In time, though, in time...

Box Score


Boston Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Friday, November 24th, 2012
7:30 pm
@ Boston Garden

Welcome back, Big Perk!

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