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The Celtics Played Like Dogshit Last Night. No Other Way To Say it

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It was bound to happen. It took 22 games, but the Celtics finally had a brutal outing. In a matchup between the top two seeds in the East, the Celtics absolutely did not look like the best team in the conference last night. To put it simply, Detroit came into the Garden and bullied the hell out of them, making all the previous knob slobbing about the Celtics defense look rather silly. The worst part about this loss for me has to be more than anything else, it was self inflicted (more on this in a minute).

But I don’t want to act like this is the end of the world. The Celtics are still 18-4, have a 3.5 game lead for the top spot in the East, and it’s not even December yet. Contrary to what we all thought, this team is going to lose basketball games from time to time. What we can say though is this team was outplayed AND outcoached, a combination we haven’t seen so far this season.

Be prepared to be frustrated, let’s get started

The Good

– After hearing all summer about how good of shape Marcus Smart was in, THIS type of Smart is what I had been hoping for. He led the team with a +9, and his 23/6 on 8-13 shooting (6-9) from deep, was what kept the Celtics in this game in the first place

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Tough couple games for the anti Marcus Smart crowd that’s for sure. While I don’t think he’s the type of shooter we’ve seen the last two games, I don’t think he’s as bad as his like 20/20% splits were either. He’s somewhere in the middle, and when you combine that with everything else he does, shows you why he’s such a valuable player. I can’t talk about it enough, I am in love with how Smart plays the point guard position and how he runs the offense. Did you see some of those passes in the P&R? His decision making has been 10000x better over the last two, and that’s probably why he’s so frustrating to watch at times, you just wish he could be this way all the time.

For example, last night he had a 25% usage rate with a 30% assist rate. He again had a great ratio of 54 passes on 74 touches. It’s obviously insane to think he’ll keep shooting like this, but the improvement in his decision making is what I really care about.

– Take a bow Daniel Theis. In just 10 minutes of action, a nice 12 points on 4-4 shooting.

Ainge has shown to make multiple solid finds this season, and Theis has to be right at the top. Here’s something interesting, no starter scored more in the fourth quarter than Daniel Theis, and he played just 4 minutes in that frame.

– Finally, some good ball movement. An assist% of 67%, the ball didn’t stick all that much last night, and as a result the Basketball Gods continued to reward the Celts, especially from deep. 87% of their threes last night were assisted, that’s #actuallygood!

– For the first time in a lonnnng time, we all need to say thank you to the second unit. Without them, this is an absolute bloodbath. They were responsible for 47 of the 108 points, and while most of that was Smart, everyone else went a combined 9-12, and not one of them was a minus player.

– He played just 6 minutes, but this was without a doubt in my opinion the best Semi stint of the season. Here’s something that’s interesting. Look at this find by Jay King

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You notice how Semi is in three of those lineups? That’s encouraging. I was just really happy with the way he made his presence felt last night on both ends, and he even made his three! Perhaps Al talked to him as well, can’t rule it out.

– Thank you Avery. Well deserved tribute

Avery was a very good Celtic, and I know there is a rule where apparently you’re not allowed to like someone if he’s not on the Celtics anymore, but I don’t care. I will always love Avery.

The Bad

– Man, where to start. I think it’s fair to say that this was the worst Kyrie Irving performance of his short time as a member of the Boston Celtics. On one end, Avery Bradley ate him up. He was 2-11 and a -30 when Avery was on the floor, and on the other end, Reggie Jackson abused him to the tune of 20 points on 7-10 shooting. His final line of 18/4/9 on 6-16 (1-6 from deep) with 6 TOs was tough, and not something I expected despite what a legit defender Avery is. Despite how poor he played, this game was tied at 86 heading into the fourth, where Kyrie then went 0-4 (all threes) and had 2 TOs.

Chances are he doesn’t play this poorly again, but it was a bit of a crash down to earth performance.

– He wasn’t alone though, all the starters sucked donkey dick. I mean pick your poison, you want to focus on Jaylen going 4-10, Tatum being a non factor with his 3-7, Morris refusing to pass and going 5-11, or Horford for getting absolutely abused by Drummond? As a group they were a -76. How does that even happen???

I would say it was clear from the jump that the normal energy we see from the starting unit wasn’t there, and for some reason it never came. They seemed to just be going through the motions, had mental lapses and played lazy basketball. I hate when they do that so if they could refrain from doing it again that would be swell.

– For some reason, the Celtics could not figure out the P&R with Avery/Drummond. I mean look at this shit

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Horford was all kindsa fucked up trying to defend that. It was almost as if he showed too hard on the ball handler, and there was no communication as to what to do with Drummond. To me that’s on the players, it’s on Brad, it’s on everyone. I can handle if a guy is going to make tough shots, but you couldn’t give Drummond easier baskets if you tried.

– Should it be time to get a little nervous when it comes to the defense? This was now the 6th straight game a team scored more than 98 points, it was also the first time all year a team scored more than 108. Teams have broken 100 in 3 of the last 5. The Pistons did not have a quarter in which they scored under 26 points. That’s a problem.

– You want to talk frustrating? Allow me to tell you about Tobias Harris. You know, the guy that along with Drummond murdered this team. His 68% shooting was the highest he’s shot all year, and in the previous 5 games he hadn’t broken 20 points OR shot better than 40%. Naturally it makes sense that against what was supposed to be the best defense in the NBA he would finish with 31 points on 11-16 including 5-6 from deep. Of course. I think it’s fair to say Jayson Tatum has his fair share of problems.

– The Celtics shot better from the field, made 5 more threes and shot a higher percentage, and had more assists yet lost by 10. Like I said, frustrating.

– I want to make something clear. I will follow Brad into the goddamn sun, I trust him with my life, but facts are he fucked up in this game. First, he didn’t play Baynes nearly enough. Perhaps the big bruising center who is destroying you should warrant playing the big bruising center you signed to combat that very type of player. Not to mention he was really good in his minutes too. Definitely needed more Baynes.

But that’s not all. To me, this game changed around 5 minutes left in the fourth right after Smart made that three to go up 100-99. There was momentum, the Garden was going crazy, and Brad decided to Hack-a-Drummond. From that foul on, the Pistons went on a 5-0 run, and the Celtics never tied/led to the rest of the game. I thought that was an unnecessary foul given the situation.

– Yikes

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The Ugly

– Weird.

Loss #1: 102-99 vs CLE 19-25 from FT line

Loss #2: 108-100 vs MIL 11-21 from FT line

Loss #3: 104-98 vs MIA 19-27 from FT line

Loss #4: 118-108 vs DET 12-21 from the FT line

Celts shoot 79% in wins and like 64% in losses. There were a million reasons why the Celtics lost this game, but some would say this is a trend. FIGURE IT OUT.

– The biggest culprit for this loss to me though? The turnovers. 17 points led to 26 points for the Pistons and that will lose you a basketball game 12/10 times. Kyrie was the worst offender sure, but he wasn’t alone by any stretch. Did you know the Celtics actually average more TOs in wins than they do in losses? Not sure how that makes any sense, but it’s true.

– Please, someone explain to me why this team STILL can’t inbound the basketball. If you thought the 5-0 run after the intentional foul was bad, another one came when Marcus threw the ball to the other team which led to a brutal foul by Kyrie for an And1. Missing FTs and passing it to the other team when inbounding the basketball, what even is that.

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– The Celtics sure picked a poor time to revert back to the 2016 Celtics in terms of defensive rebounding late in the fourth quarter. They only lost the rebounding battle 40-36, but when it mattered most, they were nowhere to be found on the glass. They gave up 7 second chance points in the final frame, I’d say that was important.

At the end of the day you have to tip your cap to DET. They flat out played better for 48 minutes and deserved this win. Perhaps they were a little too excited about it, but that’s life for the Celtics now. Teams are going to be geared up to play you and beat you, and you can’t dick around. You can’t play without focus. PHI is on deck on Thursday, and there’s a chance they could be without Simmons/Embiid, but they are playing well. An effort like last night is something I hope we don’t see for a long time if ever, but it’s time to forget this game ever happened. Turn the page, and say it with me

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