The Celtics Responded To Their Biggest Challenge Of The Year With One Of Their Most Lifeless Performances Of The Season

Jesse D. Garrabrant. Getty Images.

After Game 3, you heard a lot of this from the members of the Boston Celtics

Well what the fuck happened? Where was the redemption? Where was the competitive spirit? What exactly did they bring? Where was giving it all they have? Because in reality, this is what happened.


Inexcusable doesn't even begin to describe it. There are ways the Celts can lose that I can live with. Sometimes the ball just doesnt bounce your way, you don't make shots, and that's that. But a lack of effort? A game in which you are not playing hard? No. That is flat out unacceptable and frankly insulting to everyone who roots for this team. In what was probably their biggest game of the season up until that point, they were lifeless. They looked as if they figured since they lost on a prayer that all they had to do was show up. I'm talking everyone, from the players to Brad. They picked a pretty terrible time to shit their pants and play like a bunch of lifeless assholes. And this isn't to take anything away from the Raptors, they played tough, they were aggressive, and they earned this win. But I don't know how you can sit here and tell me the Celts played with any sort of energy and effort on either end of the floor. 

With a chance to regain control of this series we all expected this team to show up, not turtle. We expected them to bring a level of effort and energy that we saw to start the series, not play like they don't give a shit. This was their first true test of postseason adversity and they failed in embarrassing fashion. The leaders on this team did not lead like we expected them to. You may not want to hear that, but it's the truth and in this blog we tell the truth. 

So let's look at what the fuck happened and why this is now a 2-2 series which is now anyone's to win.

The Good

- No. I'm not doing it. I'm utilizing my power to skip this section because after what I witnessed last night nobody deserves any positive praise, There is no spinzone. I'm embarrassed for them. I'm mad at them. And I don't care to give any sort of delay until we get to the meat of this game. Next time don't play like assholes and we'll all have fun videos and clips to watch.

The Bad

- Remember, this was the biggest game of their season. You knew they weren't bringing it just 1 minute into the game

You may be saying to yourself "Greenie, this is just one game on one rebound in the opening minutes, big dea;". Correct, very big deal. It's not about the rebound, it's about the mindset. It's about playing with a Game 7 mentality. Basketball is a simple game really. The team that is aggressive and locked in and actually plays like they give a crap usually wins. That opening play pretty much told us what the entire game would look like. This didn't come at a time where they were down 15 or whatever and they were moving on to then next game mentally. This was in the opening goddamn minutes. Inexcusable.

- Throughout the playoffs the Celts rank #1 in opponent 3P% at 29% and 3PM at 10.4. In this round they are #2 at 31%. I ask you, where was that perimeter defense while the Raptors were making 17 3PM? Based on NBA tracking data, the Raptors were 7-14 on wide open threes. They made another 8 on what the NBA considers "open" threes. So 15 of their 17 makes came on either open or wide open looks. That is not championship caliber perimeter defense and there is no excuse for it. 


On the flip side, the Celts were just 2-11 on open threes and 3-10 on wide open threes. I want to vomit

- Let's talk about their overall shooting for a second. Not the first time we've seen the Celts shoot like shit so I can't sit here and tell you this was a surprise. The surprise came on the defensive end. But a quick look at this

and I don't even know how to explain it. Everything you hate about this Celtics offense came true. A majority of everyone's FGA are threes, which they aren't making. That tells me they were more interested in making the homerun shot than ya know, actually playing smart. The missed FTs were just the salt in the wound. I'm pretty sure Brad agrees with me

The frustrating part is you cannot play that way against the Raptors. You settle and miss threes, they find a way to either draw a foul or have Siakam on the block and next thing you know they are building a run. Instead of attacking the rim in an effort to try and stop that run, you take more threes. Remember early in then game when it was clear that dribble penetration and the baseline were open for this team? I don't think we saw that at all in the second half. It was more hero ball and ill advised threes. Where's Brad in that situation? Where are the leaders to calm everyone down and play the right way? Nowhere. That's where.

- When when two of your leaders combine for nearly the same amount of turnovers (10) as FGM (12), that's a big problem. I thought this was the worst Marcus Smart has looked all playoffs, on both ends but especially offensively. He was throwing the ball out of bounds, he settled for outside jumpers, this is the type of shit we cannot afford to have at this stage of the playoffs. This was a game where he needed to take the responsibility of shutting down one of TORs two lead guards. That most certainly did not happen.

- Let's now talk about Brad. A coach who had been nearly perfect through the first 2.9 games has had his brain broken ever since 0.5 happened. He made the questionable rotation call with Kanter in Game 3 and it pretty much is what got TOR going. In Game 4, in the ever important third quarter, we saw this


How did that lineup do? Well, they had a 100 Ortg and a 300 Drtg in their minutes together. That is not a typo. 

I also didn't love these quotes from Kemba

So where is Brad in this situation? How about getting them back on track or something once everyone could see they weren't executing the gameplan. He needs to wake up and wake up FAST.

The Ugly

- Where else could we possibly put the night from Jaylen. Just downright brutal to watch. The worst part was almost all of his misses were wide open looks that we've seen him make a billion times before. The early misses forced him to press early, that forced him into early foul trouble and from there he was never able to recover. He picked a pretty bad time to be unable to make wide open corner threes. Those are his bread and butter.

The thing is, things also translated to the defensive end. Because of his tunnel vision and foul trouble that forced him to not be as aggressive on Siakam defensively like we saw in Game 3. No surprise Siakam ate him up for an efficient 11 points. Brown had to defend without fouling and that was all the space Siakam needed.

- I don't know what the fuck was going on in that fourth quarter, but the carelessness with the basketball is how we knew this team just didn't have it. When you basically need to be perfect in order to come back and you finished with 5 TOs and only 6 FGM, that's an issue. Add do it the 35/20% shooting with missed FTs and it was a fitting end to what was a disaster performance from everyone involved. 

- But that wasn't even the most frustrating quarter. For me, that was once again the third. For the third straight game this team came out flat on both ends and it was where the game turned. I don't get it. Stop playing like shit in third quarters and we won't have an issue. This time it was defensively, allowing TOR to shoot 59/46%. This is where the hero ball killed them. They settled for threes (1-6), while allowing the Raptors to get whatever they wanted offensively. How do they not know by now that the Raptors are going to come out blazing in the third? If they don't correct this issue, they won't win another game.


So while the series might be 2-2, it doesn't feel 2-2. Not after we watched the Celts back up all their talk about redemption and responding with one of their worst efforts and performances of the season. Maybe you could argue they were due for a stinker, and maybe that's true. I'll say this, we've basically had carbon copies of each game for each side so far. The Celts Game 4 was very similar to the Raptors Game 1. The Raptors winning on a prayer in Game 3 was very similar to the Celtics winning Game 2 on the prayer of Smart's 5 threes. So maybe 2-2 is where this series should be after all. 

But I know this. The team I watched play last night is not the caliber of team that can win this series. That looked like a team that quit and was defeated the second things weren't going their way. So the question now is who are they going to be the rest of the way in this best of 3 series? The one who plays hard and plays up to their potential, or the ones that choke? Really hope it's not the latter.