It was a game that the Celtics needed to have, and seemingly did, until a 4th quarter collapse reminiscent of the beginning of the year caused the Celtics to lose their 3rd straight game and fall a 1/2 game out of the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 13 games left in the season. The 4th quarter was closely contested but the Celtics seemed to have had the game won after a nice alley oop from Turner to Bass brought the Garden crowd to its feet and gave the Celtics a 4 point lead with 1:50 to go in regulation. After a Phil Pressey foul on defense resulted in 2 made free throws and a missed Bass jumper on the other end, the Pistons took the lead on former Celtic legend Tayshaun Princes 3 pointer from the corner. Kelly Olynyk had no idea who he was guarding on the play or which spot he was supposed to be running to in transition, which left Prince wide open in the corner to drain the 3 and take the lead with 1:15 left in the game and shift all the momentum in the Pistons favor.
The Celtics had the last shot with a chance to win, but the ball slipped out of Evan Turners hands and the Pistons never looked back after that, outscoring the Celtics 17-9 in overtime and ultimately winning 105-97.
On Saturday it was announced that Marcus Smart was suspended one game for the fragrant 2 foul he committed Friday night when he tried to punch Matt Bonner in the balls
sidenote – Is Matt Bonner wearing a cup? because according to my extensive research (google) NBA players don’t wear cups, so the only other explanation would be that Smart somehow missed his ball area and only hit him in the thigh. Either that or Matt Bonner has literal balls of steel because god knows if I got hit like that they would have to take me out on a stretcher before I even thought of getting back up.
Regardless of what material Matt Bonners balls are made out of, Smart’s play was an extremely immature and dumb one, especially considering the fact that Isaiah Thomas is still out with a back injury so the Celtics had to rely on Phil Pressey, who is shooting a whopping 26% from 3 point range, to take his minutes. I know Smart is just a rookie and that he will mature over time but in a playoff stretch where your star point gaurd is already out with injury, and every game counts, you have to think ahead before you make brash, heat of the moment decisions like the one Smart made because it ultimately cost the Celtics another loss last night.
The Celtics road to the playoffs isn’t getting any easier this week either. With games against the playoff contending Nets, Heat and Clippers, as well as a game against the Knicks who somehow beat the Spurs just last week, The Celtics are going to have to find a way out of this slump quick if they want to have any chance of catching the Hornets and that 8th and final playoff spot. With Smart coming back today and Isaiah Thomas hopefully back in time for the Heat game Wednesday, the Celtics are going to be looking to use last nights loss as motivation to close out games they should win, and gain back some of the momentum they had when they rattled off 5 straight wins before they went on the road to OKC on their way to the playoffs.
PS – I know this was blogged earlier in the season but Kelly Olynyk’s pregame handshake with team trainer Bryan Doo is straight up Mt St. Helens fire flames, spirit fingers!