Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rockets' Red Glare Blinds Celtics, San Antonio Spurred To Win Over Boston By Parker & Neal

I preface this blog by saying that, though I, like many, many of our kind, love the Boston Celtics and one of my greatest passions is to watch, root for and talk about the Celtics in just about any and every instance...there are a few things that even I can admit take precedence over the game.

My heart goes out to all of the families and friends touched by the horrendous evil that befell Newtown, Connecticut this week. There are no words to adequately express the feelings of sadness...only the hope that there can somehow be a day when the painful moments are fewer and far between replaced by the happy memories of those who have been lost to the world.

With that, I will press ahead with the games:

Fits and starts. That's what it's going to be for the Celtics as they look to fine-tune their defensive rotations and get their offensive players marching in synch heading toward the second half of the season in February.

Speaking of appeared that Rajon Rondo was on the outside of it for most of the night against the Houston Rockets. Yes, I understand that he got another double-double with 15 points and 13 assists with 4 steals. But he also had an uncharacteristic 7 turnovers and seemed to be in the midst of one of those days caught up in an affliction that my aunt used to refer to by its clinical name: "The Dropsies." He just seemed a little bit out of sorts and the rest of the team was also just a little bit off somehow. The game plan seemed keyed in on stopping Jeremy Lin and James Harden, which they did to mixed results, but it also allowed the unheralded Greg Smith to blast off for the stratosphere and help put away the C's in the fourth Quarter.

I could tell you that Captain Paul Pierce had an off night, scoring 18 but on 1-6 shooting, or that Kevin Garnett scored 14, but would that change the score? No. It wouldn't. Celtics lose 89-101.
Really, the standout moment was watching Doc, Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett go over to a still deeply grieving Rockets Coach Kevin McHale and give him some love, the latter embrace bringing him to tears. McHale had recently returned to the sidelines to resume coaching duties following the death of his 23-year-old daughter, Alexandra. This was an extremely touching and personal moment played out before the cameras and as sad as it was to get a window into his pain, it was inspiring to see that there are players who recognize the truly important things in life and that it's about so much more than themselves or how well they can put a ball in a basket.


Now, I'll have to admit...I got caught out in the Christmas shopping rush tonight and didn't make it to watch the game. After reading a couple of other blogs and watching some of the game tape, though, maybe I'm kind fortunate that I spent the evening bouncing off of ravenous hordes of mall zombies and over-sugared screaming-while-texting tweenagers.

Apparently, these are the things that happened on the second night of the C's back-to-back Texas two-step:

Rondo continued his mini-funk, kicking away another 7 turnovers and failing to get to double figures in assists for the first time in 44 games (not including his ejection game against the Brooklyn Nets). Previously, he had gotten into double-digits in 42 of his past 43 games played. Clearly, he's not sharp and appears to be playing tired, and one can only hope that it's just a tiny hiccup in what has been a tremendous season for the League's best point guard. 

Jason Terry, on the other hand, appeared to have ingested some leftover Rocket fuel from the C's opponents the night before, scoring 17 points in the first half, but it turned out to be just exhaust fumes because after his return from the locker room after half time, he experienced some major Jet-lag, managing only a single
point for the rest of the game.   

Garnett continued his less-than-cordial relationship with Tim Duncan (see beginning of "game tape" link), and held him down to a decidedly un-Big-Fundamental night, scoring just 5 points on 2-13 shooting. But, Tony Parker, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter? Well, you can watch the tape or check out the box score if you care to see for yourself. 

The crazy stats, considering the 15-point loss? The Celtics and Spurs had identical field goal percentage (46.9%), identical free throw percentage (75%), identical rebound figures -- offensive (11) an total (38), and points in the paint (38). The difference? Three-point percentage (37.5% for the Celtics to 48% for the spurs) and 17 turnovers to the Spurs' 12. Now, I've read a few comments about the refs not giving the C's a fair shake in this one, but I don't care if you had three Joey Crawfords out there, the refs don't cause 17 turnovers.

Other than that?

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