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Last Night Stunk...Who Wants Eggs?

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Anger. I think that best describes my feelings about Game 5. You want to talk about laying an egg, the Celtics basically made everyone in the arena their own 3 egg omelet. The highest they scored in any quarter was 23 points. They shot 37.7%. They blew a 10 point lead. This was the type of performance that makes you need to take a shower after watching. Disgusting effort, disgusting execution, worse timing. The Celtics had their opportunity to steal this game early, grab a 3-2 advantage and be in the drivers seat of the series. Instead, they shit their pants. Poop from everywhere, and every player.

At the end of the day, nothing really changes. Here in this blog we operate under the impression that this was going to be a seven game series. I wrote it in the preview that it was looking like it was heading that way, and here we are fighting for that opportunity to play for a Game 7.

What can we expect come Thursday and hopefully beyond? Somethings gotta give

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And for the record, I put absolutely no stock into getting absolutely blown out. A loss is a loss in the playoffs. This feels no better or worse than losing by 1 in Game 1. I’d rather get blown out then have an ending like the IND/TOR game, but maybe that’s just me. I foresee this being a main focus of discussion, but to me it makes no difference.

But here we are. Thinking about last night there was so much stink I almost don’t even want to relive it, but this is the life we live.

Let’s begin.

The Good

– Surprisingly, the Celtics actually got off to a decent start. Their first possession is just what you want to open the game, a nice easy alley oop to Amir, and for once they didn’t start with a jumper. Defensively, they were swarming. caused three turnovers, and help the Hawks to just 21% shooting. They had their own struggles, but were clearly playing their preferred style. The Celtics were at their best, and had the most success when they took it to the basket. You’re shocked I know. We saw them run their motion play to get Jae an easy lane to the rim

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and made a conscious effort to cut to the basket and move without the ball

Despite their offensive struggles, they way they defended made you feel like this was going to be a grind it out game, which most recently has favored the Celts. A prime example of why they were able to keep the Hawks in check early, came on Kyle Korver’s first possession of the second quarter. The way the Celtics guarded him at the three point line was absolutely textbook, and the exact way you need to defend him

– RJ hit a three and it was beautiful. I say go super small and just let him shoot. It can’t get much worse, and I know he is the definition of liability on defense, but that stroke is being wasted when a team can’t shoot better than 40%.

– That’s it. There’s nothing else.

The Bad

– OK, now we can let the anger out. This is where we can all vent together. What the fuck was that? It certainly wasn’t basketball. What is it about Atlanta that makes the Celtics play basketball like a bunch of assholes? It’s Atlanta! Are the strip clubs that much of an impairment or something, someone needs to explain this to me. What was frustrating about this performance was that it looked a hell of a lot like the other two games in Atlanta. It was like they chose to ignore the formula that proved to be successful in their last two wins, and instead reverted to the style of play that just begs for them to get blown out.

Most insulting, is I wrote it here, and I wrote it here  on what not to do, and they still didn’t listen. I’m not sure how much clearer I could be. You can’t get into a jump shooting contest against the Hawks, and you need to guard the three point line at ALL times. As in every single second. Well, what happened?

The Celtics came out and shot 29 threes (4-18 at the half) and as a result shot 37%. Just like the first two games. After that Amir bucket to start the game, they took four straight jumpers, and made just one. All this at a time when the Hawks can’t buy a basket during a like 6-36 stretch. That’s when the Celtics needed to keep attacking where you’re either going to get fouled, finish, or be able to draw the defense and create movement. Instead the Celtics settled, could hit dick and what should have been a 15-20 point lead early, was 10. And then gone in about 5 seconds.

It also isn’t fucking rocket science that the Hawks take and make a lot of threes. In their wins they make over 11, in their losses under 9. Seems pretty obvious, and it worked early. Then, they Celts just decided they weren’t going to do that anymore. And what happened was 14 made threes and an absolutely blowout. It got to be ridiculous in that third quarter, where Korver, Scott, Millsap, Schroder all hit consecutive threes. The Celtics repeatedly lost the Hawks in transition for threes (Bazemore and Korver) and repeatedly left Teague wide open at the top of the key for an uncontested look. After that first quarter, the Celtics defended the Hawks in the exact way you DON’T want to, and it obviously put them in a body bag.

– The most obvious adjustment the Hawks made for Game 5 was how they defended Isaiah Thomas. They doubled hard off the P&R which prevented him from penetrating the way he wanted, and with nobody hitting a shot, the Hawks were able to cheat in on him. Either way, Isaiah can’t go an entire half without scoring. Not in a game of this magnitude. That’s where the Celts needed to go zig when the Hawks thought they’d zag. I’m surprised we really didn’t see Isaiah come off the ball, and his road struggles continued. I suppose today will be the day everyone talks about he can’t be the guy, forgetting that they probably said he could be the guy after this weekend. Such is life.

– I know he had 10 points in 13 minutes, but if Jared Sullinger isn’t going to rebound, and he’s going to turn the ball over and take contested threes, I don’t need him on the court. His stretch of tuning the ball over, then giving up a offensive rebound, then not running out to challenge a Bazemore three (which he made) was everything I needed to know about Sully playing in this series. I fear that Brad rode the Sully train a little to long.

– The final six minutes of the first half. How can you let a team go 11-11? A 10 point lead to an 8 point deficit. Eleven for eleven.

– We didn’t get that good third quarter. What a weird game.

The Ugly

– Playing in a hugely important game on the road, everybody knows the key to success is turning the ball over 20 times. Now what’s even better is when you come out in the second half and turn if over 10 times in the third quarter. If you do that,you’ll really set yourself up for success. Pretty fool proof plan.

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The way the Celtics turned the ball over in this game was unlike anything I’ve seen from them in a while. Careless basketball, what do you expect is going to happen if you are giving the Hawks free points.

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That’s inexcusable. I’ve never seen almost every starter having as many turnovers as field goals. What even is that.

– Reports are that it’s not serious, but what the hell was Isaiah doing in the game. I know Brad said he had a sub coming in, so its shitty luck, but he shouldn’t have even gone in to start the fourth. Something also tells me it’s worse than we’re being told. Every Celtics injury is.

– The Celtics followed up a 30 point quarter with a 40 point quarter and for the kids at home reading this blog no, that is not good. In fact, it’s horrendous.

– We really missed Avery Bradley.

 

So the time has come. Tie to nut up or shut up and force a Game 7. Historically Celts have never won a Game 7 in ATL so that’s not great, but I’ll take my chances. We’ve been on both end of a Game 7, and there’s nothing better in sports. Anything can happen. Now to get there, Thursday needs to be a whole lot better than last night. If the Garden was electric this weekend, I cant imagine what it’s going to be like for Game 6. Do I wish this was a series clinching game for the Celt, obviously, but I’m just as confident than ever they are going to take care of business and put the pressure back on the Hawks.

I hope.

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