Celtics Right The Ship In Their First Win Of The New Year

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 8.36.52 AMMuch much better. Now I am not going to pat the Celtics on the back too much, after all this was just the Brooklyn Nets. Also, I may still be a bit angry about their recent performance, but at least last night looked more like the Celtics team we know and love. Not having to play against Jarrett Jack helps (he kills the Celts), but I credit the win to a simple change in philosophy. Get back to attacking the rim. After witnessing a total non-effort performance on Saturday, what we got this time around was the exact opposite.

Before we get to the game, let’s take a quick look at how things are stacking up. At 19-15 the Celts are still right in the thick of things. They blew their chance to start to pull away and be 2 or 3 seed in the conference by losing to the Lakers/Nets. At the moment they are 7th, but just a couple wins out from that 2 seed. The reason this little stretch was so important is look who we have coming up over the next 5

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That is certainly no cake walk. Especially with how unpredictable this team continues to be. But lets not get too ahead of ourselves. First, we talk about last night.

The Good

– I mentioned it above, but I think we can all agree that it was nice to see this team move away from the long jumper in favor for plays at the rim. It shouldn’t then be a surprise that they got off to the start that they did. A 37 point quarter shooting 55% is just what the doctor ordered. It all started with Jae (who we’ll get to a little later) but there was almost nothing to not love about how the Celts started. They moved the ball, they were solid on their rotations, and they had 6 steals and no turnovers. A 15 point lead after one allowed us all to exhale a little I think.

– Speaking of defense, I want to spend some time quickly to truly appreciate what we saw. First, the defensive effort was what you expect from this group. They were swarming. The Celts were so fluid defending the pick and roll, BKN really struggled offensively. Sure Joe Johnson did his thing when going iso, but as a team the Celtics had great communication and timely rotations. These solid rotations often caused a turnover/fastbreak and we saw just that with some of Sullinger’s rotations in the first quarter. Looking at the Celts defense from a higher level, the numbers back it up. 47%, 32%, 36%, 36% shooting for the Nets. For christ sake Sully had a 67 defensive rating last night. 67! That’ll win you a road game pretty much every time.

– I have a crush on interior passing and I don’t care who knows it. I love it. It shows me you are playing unselfish beautiful Celtics basketball. We saw great interior passing about 3 or 4 times last night, and it came from pretty much all our bigs. Amir had 3 assists, Olynyk had 2, Sully had 2 and they were all magical.

– Jae Crowder should seriously be considered for this year Most Improved Player. We’ve talked about his progress before, but last night we saw why he may be our best and most important player. I love absolutely everything about the development of his game. His range, his confidence, and his toughness are contagious for this team. Last night may have been the most complete game I’ve seen him play as a Celtic: 8-13 25 points 6 rebounds 3 steals. Lets not forget his big boy three that came at the biggest moment of the game.

Look at his decision making last night offensively, and you basically see the Celts strategy. Attack, attack, attack

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– Marcus Smart is my everything. There cannot be enough said about what he brings to this gteam. He is our missing piece. I know some will say he has no offensive game (sorta true) but he is a stud. STUD. He had without a doubt the two best plays of last night, so why not take a look!

First, who does this on a walk the dog? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before, and if I have it hasn’t been for a long long time. This is just so absurd my brain couldn’t really comprehend it in real time.

Then the magic happened. You’ve seen it, if not, you don’t watch SportsCenter because this came in at #1 and frankly all I have to say about that is duh. So fucking sweet.

As Smart continues to get into game shape, I wouldn’t hate to see more Smart/Thomas lineups while Avery Bradley is out with his hip pointer.

– Did anyone else catch Gorman’s vintage FT ice in the fourth quarter? Guy is the absolute best at using his cosmic powers to cause missed FTs when the Celtics need it the most. Simply, the GOAT.

– Quick shout out to IT4 for continuing his very strong PG play as of late. Another 19/7 with just 1 turnover, he was another player the Nets couldn’t contain. Oh, and if you still don’t think he can be your best player, or shouldn’t be an All Star, feel free to sit down.

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– Fine, Evan Turner played great. 12/10 and only a few bonehead plays. Fine.

The Bad

– Not too much to choose from, but the Celts in no way played a perfect game. For example, it sort of bothered me that they let the Nets hang around. After getting up by as much as 19 points, this game was far too close for comfort. Moving forward I would like to see the Celts really step on a teams throat so we can get our young guys some minutes.

– While it didn’t cost them, I hated pretty much everything about how the Celts started the 4th quarter. Long jumpers, stupid fouls, and turnovers. Naturally they would go on to miss about 5 layups all within the first 3 minutes of the quarter, so that was awesome.

– I don’t know why it bothers me, but I got really frustrated with the Celts inability to hit a big momentum three (aside from Jae’s late 4th quarter make). First it was James Young missing a wide open look, then Kelly missed a couple, Evan Turner obviously missed almost all of his, and it felt as though the Celts at times couldn’t make the shot to get them over the hump and turn this game into a true blow out.

The Ugly

– Sorry James Young, your minutes last night were ugly. I love you, but I am fair. Last night you stunk.


– Tyler Zeller missing that fast break layup is everything you need to know about him as a player. Does a great job of running the floor, has soft hands to catch a nice pass in transition, blows the layup like only a 6th grader would. Ugly.

– And finally, not so sure this is the right time to be on the Bill Crosby train. Just a thought



As weird as it sounds, I’m glad the Celtics are done with the Nets for the year. For some reason, they play us better than basically any other team in the league, and now they can get back to their losiung ways. Splitting the season series 2-2 is pretty disappointing, but whatever, live and learn.

The Celts are about to have a big stretch ahead of them, and if they play like they did last night, things should go as planned.

19 down 28 to go