These motherfuckers. Because I pride myself on being fair, I couldn’t have a headline like I did after the Pacers win when we as a collective fanbase puffed our chests out after what was their best, most complete win of the season and not give them the exact same treatment now that we just watched them turn in one of their more embarrassing performances of the entire season. Basically, I have a lot of things to say about this performance, but we’ll start here
If the Pacers game was an example of what this team looks like when they are clicking on all cylinders and are the best version of themselves, then last night was the exact opposite. That shit performance was something the October/November Celtics would do. They were lifeless, they played zero defense, their shot selection gave me a brain aneurysm, and what’s frustrating about this is these very Celtics just had a beautiful 5-6 game stretch where it was very clear how they have to play if they want to be successful. And you can spare me the whole B2B shit with travel bullshit. That wasn’t an excuse for the Pacers when we wanted to talk about how great of a win that was, and when your starters play like 23 minutes and you’re going to a team that was 9-12 at home this season, you can’t play like this. Their shot selection was not a result of them playing the night before, it was a result of them playing like assholes. This first half has given us a pretty clear roadmap for how this team has to play to be successful, and it’s like they spit in the face of those facts and decided to just have a throwback to a playing style that had them losing to the worst teams in the league. I cannot stress how frustrating that is.
Of course, the narrative will now be how the Celtics are in fact not back, almost as if in order for them to be back they can’t ever lose a game again. It’s one of those things when they play well for 20 games that means nothing, but one loss means everything. That doesn’t really make sense to me either, but that’s the reality of the situation. Vultures foaming at the mouth like you read about. The fact of the matter is, they played like dogshit against a team that was motivated to beat them, and they paid the price for it. That doesn’t negate everything we’ve seen from Thanksgiving, but it does show you that this team still has a lonnnnnnnng way to go until they get rid of these bad habits. This loss is on everyone for the most part outside of Mook/Kyrie who continue to be solid. I’m talking the other starters, the bench, Brad, everyone. It was very clear they did not come to play and we’re at the point of the season where that is simply unacceptable.
So, just like we always do. We do not run when the times are bad. We talk our way through it, take our medicine, and move on. Let’s get started.
– It is a little comforting that even when 90% of the team decides to play an extremely frustrating brand of basketball, that we can rely on guys like Kyrie to still show up each and every night. It was pretty clear early on that he was going to have to do the bulk of the work on the offensive end, and he did his part with 22/5/5 on 10-19 shooting
He was 8-11 in the first half which is impressive considering the team shot 38/27% and what was impressive about his performance was just 2 FGM came from the painted area. This was one of those nights where you were frustrated that he wasn’t being more aggressive and attacking the rim, but he was making his shots so you live with it. Defensively he did a great job on Josh Richardson, who just so happens to be MIA’s best player and Kyrie held him to just 4 points on 20 possessions. I have a lot of problems with what we saw last night, but Kyrie’s performance is not one of them.
– Same for Mook. Mr Consistent was exactly that, he finished with 17/6 on 7-13 shooting and 3-5 from deep in his 28 minutes
Morris gave you exactly what you want on the offensive end, he had a great mix of an inside/outside presence and it’s no surprise he was the only starter to finish with a positive +/-. It was a little annoying how he took 0 FTA, but that was mostly a whole team problem so I won’t get on him for that.
The one area he struggled in was defending the three point line, as opponents shot 5-8 from deep when being “guarded” by Mook. That’s pretty rare.
– Lost in all the garbage we saw last night was the fact that maybe, just maybe Marcus Smart is becoming an average shooter. Imagine what a weapon he becomes if he can jsut be average? I don’t even need him to be good at shooting, I just need him not to be God awful and that’s what we’re seeing right now and it makes him a completely different player in my opinion
Not only did he have that monster block on Bam, but he also shot 5-10 from the field and 4-8 from three. On the season Smart is now up to 35% from deep which is right on the league average, and over his last 5 games Smart has 47/48% splits with 2.6 3PM. That’s some shit many didn’t ever think we’d see. Now I’m not saying Smart is going to be a 40%+ three point shooter, but again for a guy who for his career has shot in the high 20s and low 30s. there is no denying that the man is trending in the right direction. He has 13 3PM so far this month with three games with 4 or more 3PM.
He did a great job on Justise Winslow holding him to just 4 points on 24 possessions, and was second on the team in contested shots with 14. I could get very used to this version of Smart and I think it goes without saying he has already shown his extension was a good idea.
– That’s it. Enough fluff, now let’s get to the real part of this blog.
– Where to start, where to start. How about the offensive approach. If there’s one thing we know about this team it’s that when they settle and decide to take terrible contested long jumpers, in a blink of an eye they find themselves down double digits, guys start to sulk, and things balloon into a blowout. We’ve seen it a billion times over the first 20 games of the season. It should be very clear to this team how they have to play, and why suddenly we saw a team go from one that moved the ball, played unselfish basketball and got good shots to one that did the exact opposite, didn’t move the ball and took bad shots I have no idea. Look at how this team started this game. Look at it!
Of those 24 first quarter shots, 12 of them came from deep. Pretty cool considering they only made 4 of them. Meanwhile on the other end, there was virtually no resistance to anything MIA was going. They had 28 points, 12 of them came in the paint (to BOS 2) and right then and there we should have know this team had a fucked up mentality. How many times do we see the Celtics settle and miss all these threes/long twos on one end, and then give up layup after layup after layup on the other? Where the hell was Brad? The biggest culprit was Tatum to start, who wouldn’t stop doing shit like this
I thought we were done with this Kobe shit. Right before that he had this beauty of a three
that is so bad and really there’s no excuse for it. Especially when we’ve seen Tatum be so much better with his shot selection during this stretch of solid play, it’s like his brain broke and he reverted back to his October/November self. On the entire night, Tatum had just 3 FGA in the paint. Three! This shit makes my blood boil.
When it was all said and done, their poor shot selection proved to be too much to overcome. They finished with 40/35% splits, had jsut 20 assists on 36 FGM so the ball wasn’t moving, it was essentially the exact way they cannot play if they want to be a quality team. No excuse for this trash.
– Now defensively, last time I checked the Celtics pride themselves on guarding the three point line. Well, my question is where is that defense because the Celtics have now dropped to 14th in the league in opponent 3PM. This was an area they are normally in the top 2-3, so that’s a major problem. Last night was a prime example of why not being able to defend that at a high level will hurt them, and the Heat coming out and making 18 3PM made me want to vomit. It was 7 more than their average, it came from guys like Winslow and Wade who are not good three point shooters, and honestly this was just a prime example of a team that did not close out hard on shooters.
But their poor three point defense is just the beginning. How are you going to let 50 year old Dwyane Wade own you like this? I’m looking at you Hayward and Jaylen. They matched up against him the most of anyone, and he torched them both. He had half his points against these two, combined to go 4-6 from the field and there’s no doubt about it their inability to stop an old man cost them this game.
When the Heat weren’t making threes, they were getting to the paint and to the rim at will. For a team that had 46 points in the paint and Whiteside only having 9 of them, that’s a problem. Where is the perimeter defense that makes it tough for guys to get into the paint? Where is the rim protection? Where is Brad realizing there isn’t any rim protection so maybe he should play the one player that actually can protect the rim in Robert Williams? He had just 14 minutes, got them back into the game, and then we didn’t see him again until the lead was back to something crazy. Brad’s rotations can be so frustrating at times and this was a perfect example of that.
– Celts lost the rebounding battle, the points in the paint battle, the fast break points battle, the second chance points battle, the turnover battle, the 3PM battle, and their biggest lead was 4 points. That is disgusting and shows just an overall lack of effort.
– OK, let’s be honest here. This was one of the worst collective performances we’ve seen from the second unit all year (minus Timelord). As awesome as they were against IND, they were that bad last night. I mean everyone was horrific. There was Gordon Hayward, who turned in a 3-7 performance and was a bench worst -20. He only had 1 rebound, was iffy at best defensively and he did not attempt a FT. We’re at the point of the season where you don’t have to be the UTA Hayward, but you need to be better than this. It’s OK to get on him for laying an egg. He’s shown the ability to not play like this, so I’m going to need more moving forward.
If he was bad, then I don’t know what you call the performances from Terry and Jaylen. Pathetic? A disaster? Embarrassing? I’ll let you decide, either way I know it was absolutely disgusting to watch both of them play. Together they went 2-13 from the field, were absolute turnstiles on defense, and when they are doing more harm than good there’s not much you can do. It’s why both of them only played 13 and 16 minutes, and even that seemed like too many. This game was close entering the fourth quarter, and there came Rozier to aboslutely kill them in the first 4 minutes of that quarter only to see the lead balloon back up to 19. Here were his possessions over that stretch
There’s your ballgame folks. This went from a 9 point game to a 19 point game in about 2 minutes, largely due to what you just watched. You throw in some BRUTAL Al Horford turnovers in there and it was the exact opposite of how this team needed to start the quarter. Once again, I ask where the hell was Brad? This was yet another example of him seeing a lead get out of hand and he is too slow to call a timeout. Why not call one after the Horford turnover and Johnson three that made it a 14 point lead? He didn’t, Horford them had another turnover which lead to MIA FTs, Terry took a bad three and then Johnson hit another three to make it 95-76 and Brad finally took a timeout. By then it was too late, and it was very clear from the start that this lineup was doing more harm than good, and he sat there and did nothing. He’s every bit to blame for what happened in my opinion.
Also pretty frustrating that in a quarter they needed to just play a lick of defense, the Celtics give up 32 points on 54/54% splits. Have some balls for me one time, is that so much to ask?
– I hear there was also a fight between Jaylen and Mook in this game but I will not be showing it because I do not need that negativity in my life. We all saw it, we all can agree it wasn’t great, and Chris Forsberg did the research and figured out it was because Mook was mad at Jaylen for not getting back in transition. Seems like a pretty valid point, so it’s not great to then see Jaylen get physical with him about it. Instead of that, why not try getting back on defense.
Of course this only adds fuel to the fire given his up and down play, and frankly they can fight all they want in my opinion just do it behind closed doors. You have to know this shit is going to get caught on camera and I’m not sure how this helps anyone. I’m sure we’ll hear them talk about how it’s no big deal and all that, I just know I find it better when the players aren’t fighting each other in timeouts. That could just be me though.
So look, the one thing we know about this team is they refuse to make things easy on themselves. It’s their thing. So instead of continuing to make progress to catch the teams ahead of them, of course they would lose to a sneaky bad MIA team to give a little ground back as PHI/IND/MIL/TOR all play really bad teams tonight. Some will say maybe they were due for a game like this, but I’m not one of them. They should be embarrassed by their performance and there’s really no excuse for what we saw. Stop settling and playing like dicks and we won’t have these problems, it’s not hard. Hopefully this was a wakeup call because I don’t know how much of this I can take.