Advertisement

It's A Good Thing Home Court Advantage Exists

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 7.20.04 AM

That picture says it all. Gross, gross two games in Washington to tie this series up 2-2. This was why I wasn’t even close to considering this series over when the Celts went up 2-0, and they are VERY lucky to at least be tied as they return home for the biggest game of their season on Wednesday. The result in Game 3 you could have expected. There was no way the Wizards were going down 0-3, you knew they were going to come out fast with high energy, and I’d day a 22-0 run did the trick. Yesterday’s game was different in my opinion. THIS was the game that the Celts had a realistic shot at taking, and really putting themselves in control of this series. Or so I thought. In reality, the Celtics again had a stretch of awful, soft, sloppy basketball and guess what, it resulted in a 26-0 run that essentially ended the game. It took two minutes and thirty seconds for the Celtics to lose a game in which they once led by 12. That is tough to stomach. We’ve seen this team blow leads before, that’s nothing new, but the way in which they have given up these historic runs to the Wizards is beyond infuriating.

At the same time, almost everyone predicted this series was going 6 or 7, and in order for that to happen, the Celtics do have to lose some games. That’s not me trying to spin zone, those are just mathematical facts. So while they Celtics blew their chance (twice) to really put the pressure on WSH, they are by no means out of the series. They still have home court, and remember, the Wizards have lost 4 out of 5 road games this postseason. Were the Celtics lucky to win at home in the first two? Perhaps to some degree, but a win is a win in my book.

This game sucked because the Celtics got away from what worked, they shot themselves in the foot, and they lost their composure. These were all things we talked about them needing to avoid if they wanted to move on. Well, for two games in a row they’ve literally done the opposite.

The Good

– The way this game started, it appeared that things were getting back to normal. Finally the Wizards didn’t score a billion points in the first 12 minutes, in fact, they had just 20 points on 40/33% splits. Isaiah was unconscious shooting the ball from deep early and their defense on John Wall was pretty good. We hadn’t seen the Celtics get off to a good start ONCE this series, so when we finally got it, it felt as though the Celts had finally figured things out. For about a quarter and a half, they did.

– The key to their great start came from two places, Isaiah doing Isaiah things, and the offense making a legit effort to get Horford touches. I want to focus on that last part, because it’s truly the key to the Celtics pulling out this series in my opinion. When the Celtics get Horford touches in areas in which he is successful, the whole flow of the offense looks better. He was finding cutters, he was posting up and kicking it out to open threes, it was clear that when the Celtics actually ran an offense that included Horford, things seemed to work out well. Which is why it bothers me he only had 5 FGA in the first half, and only 10 for the game. What happened to bringing Gortat away from the basket like the first two games?

– It was in blowout garbage time minutes, but Terry Rozier looks as if he’s ready to start creeping into some of Smart’s minutes. I like how he’s playing in control, but at a great pace. He’s hitting the boards and attacking the rim, and I think it’s time we see if his athleticism can help on WSH’s guards when the games aren’t a disaster. Frankly it can’t get much worse.

– Everyone join me in taking a collective breath. This series is tied 2-2, so what. The Celtics haven’t looked their best in really any of these games and are still in an OK spot. The sky is not falling, the series is not over. If they lose Wednesday, sure things get a LOT harder, but at the beginning of the series I had Celtics in six and we are still on pace for that. Don’t let the sweeping success of GS/CLE confuse you, that is extremely rare. The playoffs tend to look more like the series we have than what those teams are doing. They are on a different level. As long as the Celtics simply stop playing like complete dickheads, they’ll respond in Game 5.

The Bad

– Man, where to fucking start. How about this fun fact. Bradley Beal and John Wall had great nights, and combined for 56 points. The Celtics starting five combined for 48. As a whole the Wizards starting unit DOUBLED that production (96 points). If you count Smart as the 5th starter since Amir is basically useless, outside of Horford and Isaiah who shot 50%, the rest went 6-25 (3-12 from deep). The Celtics are not going to win on the road, at home, or even in a scrimmage if the rest of the starters shoot this poorly. There are two main factors for the Celtics success. Secondary scoring and rebounding. For the second game in a row, there was no secondary scoring and the rebounding has been a disaster to say the least.

I’m sure his injury is a factor, but Avery’s dropoff in this round is really proving to be a problem. Currently his 34/28% splits this series are a drastic change from his 48/41% splits against CHI. He’s stopped attacking the basket and has gone back to relying solely on long twos which is a problem if you have a hip injury because clearly he’s not getting great lift. This is not the best shot chart I’ve ever seen from Avery

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 9.03.19 AM

The Celtics need to get back to running him off screens and getting him more looks into that 15-18 foot area. If you look at his shot chart from the two wins, you see a lot more FGA in this area, and at least three or four makes. It’s no shocker that when the Celtics do nothing but jack it from deep and stop moving the ball or running an offense, this tends to happen.

– Jae picked a bad time to have his worst offensive performance of the series. Just 2-9 (0-3) in 31 minutes, we fell back into a scenario where Jae was utilizing poor shot selection and mixing it with minimal effort on the defensive end. There is no reason he can’t defend Otto Porter Jr, who happened to go off for 18/8 on 7-9 shooting, but it just didn’t feel like we were getting the right type of energy from Jae on the defensive end no matter who he was guarding. This play stands out to me

Advertisement

I mean what the hell is that? Wall was on fire, had just brought the Wizards back, and off a dead ball that is the defensive intensity you show? That pisses me off.

– Celtics lost the points in the paint battle 56-38, they lost the second chance points battle 22-10, they lost the fastbreak points battle 25-12, they lost the rebounding battle 45-31, they gave up 34 points off 18 turnovers. When the Celtics play like this I’m not sure there is an NBA team they CAN beat.

– I really can’t believe Jaylen Brown played just 6:38 of garbage time minutes. What’s up with Brad’s rotations? You play Amir to help with the rebounding I assume, that wasn’t happening, and yet no adjustments were made. Shit, even Jerebko played just 2:34. I’m not sitting here saying that Jaylen is some savior that can change the course of a series, but he is young, he is athletic, he has shown flashes, why not try and use him to slow the Wizards down? Especially with how Jae was defending? Isn’t it always Brad who says the first thing you need to do to see the floor is defend? So why was he allowing Jae to play even though he wasn’t defending and you had backup? Very weird.

– In what may be the most wild part of the entire night, the Wizards starters took 20 FTs. The Celtics starters took 4. Not one of them came from Isaiah Thomas. It did feel like whenever Wall was going to the rim, there was always a whistle. While I think he was probably fouled on a couple of those, you can’t tell me Isaiah went an entire game without being fouled. That just isn’t true.

My problem with this was how soft the Celtics fouls actually were. What is the record for And1 fouls in a game? I’m pretty sure the Celtics shattered it. If you’re going to foul someone, fucking foul them. This soft ass shit is either not a foul at all, or honestly some of the weakest basketball we’ve ever seen.

– Wasting a game in which you shoot 45% from deep and make 14 threes is annoying as all hell.

– Look at these possessions after taking a 12 point lead. God dammit Celtics why must you do this over and over and over and over and over again.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 9.25.37 AMScreen Shot 2017-05-08 at 9.25.45 AM

The Ugly

– The NBA is widely considered a game of runs. When the third quarter opened, Amir Johnson went on a personal 5-0 run to put the Celtics up 53-48. Unfortunately, that dominant run was not enough to stack up against what would be a 26-0 run. It decided the game, so we may as well not avoid it. This was the 22-0 run on steroids, so let’s examine it.

I thought Brad did a good job calling a timeout once things started to get rolling at 53-59. It then took 2:37 seconds for a 6 point deficit to become a 21 point deficit all but ending the game. One hundred and fifty seven seconds.

C_REoZmVYAU6odU

Unlike the 22-0 run that spanned several minutes, Brad almost didn’t have any time to realize what was happening. In a blink of an eye this was out of control, and it really is a shame that he didn’t learn from GM3’s run. I mean the Celtics opened up with nothing but turnovers and missed threes which basically were turnovers.

How rare was this 26-0 run, well, it’s basically never happened in an NBA game before. So like the Celtics do be on the wrong side of history in a playoff game. It shouldn’t be that hard to not have back to back gigantic 20+ runs because you know, those almost never happen. But of course, the Celtics turned it over 7 times in the quarter, and that was a wrap. Throw in the 65%/66% splits for WSH in the quarter, and once again, the Celtics have problems with this team when they shoot themselves in the foot. So goddamn annoying.

You know what this run was like? It was like when you play the computer on 2K on easy mode and once they cross half court your player goes and steals it every single time for a dunk. The Celtics for real could not stop themselves from turning it over as soon as they crossed half court. What even is that.

Advertisement

– If Marcus was the biggest culprit in Game 3, then Isaiah is that man for Game 4. Of his 6 TOs, five of them came in the 9 minutes he played in the third. Before this game Isaiah hadn’t had a game in which he turned it over more than twice. He was losing control trying to split defenders, he was throwing lazy passes to Horford on the pick and pop, just really poor execution from Isaiah in what was a close game.

– Unfortunately, the TOs weren’t just a problem for Isaiah. Avery had four himself, and really sparked the Wizards early with brutal entry passes. A total of 18 it’s no surprise they lost, but also their inability to make WSH pay for their 19 (!!) TOs is just as bad.

– Did Pres jinx the Celtics now that he started watching? We saw it happen with the Bruins, I’m not sayin….but I’m kinda sayin.

Look if you’ve watched this team for any stretch of time this season you fully understand that they are incapable of making things easy. It’s just not how they play. To think they were going to coast through this series even after their 2-0 start was silly. It’s equally as silly to think now they they lost two in a row the series is over. Sure WSH has momentum, but the Celts had momentum coming into these two games and how did that work out? This is going to be a dogfight on Wednesday night, and we have seen that when the Celtics literally stop playing the worst basketball in the history of the NBA, they can beat this team.

Let’s hope the home team keeps on winning in this series because the Celtics are all out of breathing room. They put themselves in this position, so they now have to dig themselves out. It’s going to be a long two days.

C_RAadQUwAI4Ltm