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That Is How You Win A Must Win

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His face at the start says everything

This is for Team Isaiah. A performance like this doesn’t surprise us in the least. This was just Isaiah doing what Isaiah does. Dominate. Not sure when a guy wasn’t allowed to have a bad night, but make no mistake, without Isaiah Game 1 isn’t close, and we certainly don’t win last night. It’s almost at the point where I simply need to ask what more he has to do before people understand he CAN be a go to piece, one of a top 3 if you will. What other players plays like this and the narrative is he should be a bench player??

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As someone who has watched every second of this team, I can assure you Isaiah’s shot selection is not inconsistent. What you saw last night is consistent with why he has been successful. Blow bys and hesitation moves into the paint where he finishes at the rim. Then he hits you with the transition three. Been doing it all 85 games he’s played. What’s inconsistent about that? For some reason people just don’t want to accept reality. Callers all week calling him a regular season player after Game 2, like he didn’t go 6/13 in the 2nd half of Game 1. Guys like Mazz refuse to call him a Top 20 player, it’s bananananaland. I wonder if they feel the same way today.

When the Big 3 were traded and we didn’t have that guy to step it up down the stretch, who wanted to take and MAKE big shots at big moments it makes no sense to me that this team finally gets that and people can’t accept it. Overall, it was great to see the Celts step up and respond to the must win. They looked like themselves, and won the same way they have all year.

Let’s get started.

The Good

– We can’t start any other way. The 42 point performance we got was one for the ages. It was as if you could feel Isaiah letting out all the frustration of Gm 2.

It’s amazing what the lineup change did for Isaiah’s production. It allowed Isaiah to get the paint easier, and what we saw was him basically making the same sort of shots he was missing in Gm 2. It’s a shame it took till Gam 3 to make this adjustment, but it now poses a real problem for Atlanta. Jeff Teague obviously can’t stay with Isaiah, Bazemore had no shot last night, so if the Hawks aren’t able to clog the paint because they have to respect a player like Jerebko, that’s a win for Isaiah more times than not. It’s no coincidence that in a game where the Hawks had half as many blocks as Gm 2, we got this type of performance.


What I found interesting was to get Isaiah open, they ran a lot of the same screens that usually the Celts run for Bradley. Obviously Brad adjusted the gameplan to get Isaiah more opportunities off the ball, and every time Amir came to give him a high screen it seemed to work. And while the narrative is that Isaiah is a defensive liability, for the series he has a 103 rating. That’s not awful. In fact, it’s pretty good.

– When someone needed to step up along side Isaiah, we got Marcus Smart. Again, huge night for Team Isaiah and Team Marcus. Marcus came up huge time and time again last night, and as is nature, it showed up all over the box score. On the night he was a bench high +7, he shot the ball well: 3-6 (2-4 from deep) for 11 points 3 rebounds 5 assists and 2 blocks in a big 32 minutes. Hit hid dagger threes, he hit midrange jumpers, he had game saving blocks

This is why you live with the shooting woes, because Smart’s ability to make a positive impact in all aspects of the game make him a unique and important piece.

– What can I say, I’m a big time sucker for good ball movement

When the Celtics move the ball like this (19 assists on 38 baskets, which is sneaky low but whatever) everything opens up for them. Where they get into trouble is when they make things hard on themselves and don’t move the ball, which results in a tough contested jumper. But when they move the ball around, and guys actually hit shots, it’s a thing of beauty.

– In what was his first start in years, Jonas Jerebko stepped up to the challenge. That’s why playing at home always helps, your role players tend to play better. Millsap is a brutal matchup for Sully, so going with Jerebko basically neutralized him. Between Jonas and Crowder, the Celts had the quickness in the post to stay with Millsap, but Jonas’s biggest contribution in my eyes, was his rebounding. A 11/12/4 night from him is something I will take to the bank every single time. Jonas was a team high +14, and I don’t see how you move away from this lineup, even if Olynyk comes back.

– Let’s talk a little bit about the Celtics defense, particularly on Millsap. As much as Jae is struggling to shoot the ball, he has absolutely handled him up to this point. He’s been a complete ghost for about 2.5 games Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.30.19 PM  The only time’s he had a sliver of success is when guarded by Sullinger, and something tells me that won’t happen again.

– How could I not mention the Garden. what an incredible place. Kevin Durant is probably dreaming of playing there as we speak. You don’t know.

– We got the full Evan Turner experience last night. I loved him, I hated him, I loved him again, I wanted him murdered, and I wanted to marry him. That’s what you get with him. When he’s good? He does stuff like this

Overall, Turner’s 17/2/7/5 tells the story. He had this fingerprints all over this game, which was both awesome, and terrifying.

– You also have to love the resiliency. Blowing a 19 point lead, but then shooting out fast to start the fourth was huge. Not losing your composure when things were going back and fourth late in the game, shows me mental toughness. This is hat I mean when I say the Celts won this game because they got back to being themselves. No quit.

– Knew that first quarter was coming, some things are just too obvious

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It ended up being 55% but whatever.

– I’m happy the losing streak is over, and I’m happy Brad got his first playoff win. Monkey off your back like you read about.

The Bad

– For the second game in a row, the Celtics had trouble staying with Kyle Korver. The way he’s been defended is the definition of playing with fire. He won them Gm 2 in the first quarter, and he almost won them the game last night. The Celtics are just not fighting through screens, and he’s getting too many uncontested open looks. Not sure why the Celts think they can go under screens, but that’s the exact wrong way to go about it.


– Missing 8 FTs made me want to fucking puke. Again, it’s who is missing them that bothers me. Too many.

– Unfortunately, the theory of fast 1sts / slow 3rds reared its ugly head. It’s simply a matter of fact for this team. As soon as we ended the first quarter, I knew it was going to happen. You should have too. I’m not right on a lot of things, but this is 100% a thing.

– I talked about it earlier, but now it is beyond certain that this isn’t the series for Sully. Horrible matchup, it fucks up the spacing, just can’t do it. CLE is a much better series for him, if we can get there.

– While it worked for the Celts to start, it was troubling that the reason they blew their lead was because they were trading dunks on one end, for missed threes on the other. I suggest they all sit down and watch film on themselves so they can realize they are not the Warriors.

– Not the best look for Dennis here. Thought he could delete this and I wouldn’t notice? Fucking Germans man, the worst

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The Ugly

– All those flagrant fouls. What an absolute joke those were, on both sides. Once they called one, they had to call the rest, but that was just so weak.

– Fourth quarter turnovers. Again, the Celtics played with fire in that final frame, they are very very lucky it didn’t burn them, or their season would be over.

– All this hooplah about Isaiah. Especially if he gets suspended


So finally, we have a series. Take one game at a time obviously, but things feel good to me. Celts really have been playing ATL well this series, and if their slow starts are now a thing of the past, I feel even better. Now none of this mattes if they lose tomorrow, but you couldn’t ask for better momentum going in.

That’s how you win a must win.

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