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Talk About A Wave Of Emotions

Houston Rockets v Boston Celtics

Anybody else not come down yet? No? Sorta? Well allow me to rile you right the hell back up because we had one of the most impressive wins of the year last night. If we’ve learned one thing for sure about this 2017-18 Celtics team, it’s that despite the talent, they will never make it easy. In some sick and twisted way it’s almost like they enjoy the challenge of getting down by a shit ton to really really good teams. It’s happened against SA, GS, OKC (twice), and now HOU. I can’t think of many others team in the league that in one can look like they don’t even belong in the G-League, and then in the other half hold one of the best offensive teams in the NBA to just 36 points.

What we know is this team doesn’t quit. It seems that no opponent, and no deficit can deter them from continuing to push, scratch, claw, defend, and shoot their way back into a game. For a team that has the 4th youngest roster age on average, that’s pretty damn impressive. Is it something I wish they wouldn’t do? Absolutely. If they do this shit in the playoffs will it most likely fuck them? Yup. But that’s what the regular season is for, learning how to play and what not to do so when the games matter, you’ve seen it all. There will be a time in the playoffs where the Celtics will probably have to come back from a double digit deficit. Well, I could not be more confident in their ability to do that no matter the opponent. The same way I have zero confidence in their ability to hold a lead, I have all the confidence in the world that they can always come back.

OK we have a lot to get to, so let’s get started

The Good

– In a battle of stars, we’re starting tonight with the Celtics star Kyrie Irving. First the line, 26/4/4 with a block on 9-18 shooting in 37 minutes

Look when the Celtics were having the worst half of their entire season, there was Kyrie to at least give some sort of an offensive contribution with 11 points on 5-8 shooting. When it was clear the Celtics would need a massive turnaround in the second half, on both ends, to get back into this game it was Kyrie that helped spark that. Throw out his 15 second half points. What I care about is Kyrie dug his ass in defensively over his final 19:44 with a 65.7 defensive rating. Aside from Baynes who played just 9 second half minutes, it was Kyrie that had the largest second half net rating of any starter that played legit minutes.

These are the type of performances from Kyrie that make me most excited. The 26 points is nice, but we know he can score. What this team needed to see was their best player buy in and lead by example. I thought that’s what Kyrie did in this second half. The one thing we didn’t get was that classic Kyrie Fuck You Three. There were a couple prime opportunities that rimmed out, but that’s nitpicking.

– I think I’m not alone in saying we all get pretty worked up whenever Jayson Tatum does something awesome. Like against CHA we were all pretty happy with his dominance. Well, when I see him play like he did last night, against a team like HOU, I start bursting at the seams. Perhaps his opening night 14/10 against CLE was a sign of what was to come, because you look at how he’s done against the better teams in the league, and the production is still there. CLE, GS, SA, TOR, HOU, WSH pick whichever one you want, we’re seeing that he is NOT afraid of the moment which is exactly what I need out of a guy who I’m ready to call a franchise caliber talent. That may be a little strong, but I don’t care I’m still drunk as shit off Kool Aid. Just watch

The defense (96 rating) was solid with 2 steals and a big big big big big block, but it went deeper than that. He was active as hell on that end, finishing second on the team in contested shots with 14. This is the 19 year old rookie who is supposed to be tired because of their schedule right? Wrong. Jayson Tatum isn’t your normal rookie and he’s showing us that with every game he plays. He displayed great poise late which we’ve grown accustomed to, and honestly I still don’t think we’ve seen him take a bad shot on the offensive end. Nothing is forced it’s wild.

I’ll say it again, let Ben Simmons win the award. Let PHI fans celebrate that while heading to the lottery. I’ll take the more efficient player making huge plays for the top seed in the East every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

– Man, wouldn’t it be cool considering all that money he’s paid if Al Horford actually showed up when it mattered? Could he be clutch for once????

Oh wait.

Not to mention his HUGE defensive trips at the end of the fourth, I’m happy for Al because he was having a rough night for about 90% of this game offensively. It was a nice little redemption story given he missed that wide open layup in a 1 point loss against HOU last year, and man is it a rough time to be a Horford hater. Two nights ago you finally got your super important 20/10 performance, and then last night a game winner against a team like that? Ts+Ps for you.

When the game got to the fourth quarter and the Celtics needed their best players to show up, Kyrie and Al responded. Both finished with offensive ratings of 120.9 and defensive ratings of 47.7 in the same 7:43 of time. Horford made both his shots, and had the first missed FTs of the year that I did not care about. Credit to him.

– I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the Celtics do not win this game without Marcus Smart. When he has a game in which he goes like 2-13 from the field and everyone on Twitter wants to get rid of him, just show them this game. THIS was exactly what everyone who is pro Smart is talking about. You want to describe Smart as a player you can say a lot of things. A headcase, a bad shooter, a good defender, intense, sloppy at times, all those things would be true. You know what would also be true? Winner.

You think it’s a coincidence that the Celtics are able to come back from these type of deficits and also play a legit psychopath? I don’t. This team does’t quit because guys like Smart don’t know what it’s like to quit. He may not always make his shots, but he is giving you maximum effort every second he’s on the floor. His 13/6/5/2/3 was exactly what this team needed

Let’s talk about the ending. Was there maybe some floppage? Yeah, so what. It’s called using every trick up your sleeve. I didn’t think both were flops, but whatever you have to go to get under your opponents skin is what Marcus will do. He single handedly took Harden out of his game mentally, and the Celtics won because of it. This is certainly not the first time Smart has done something like this, make a big play down the stretch to seal a game, and it’s why his market price will be so interesting. After shit like this I’m ready to pay him whatever, because some guys just impact winning whether they drop 20 points or miss every shot they take. It doesn’t have to make sense, the results speak for themselves.

– Is it fair to say that a Terry Rozier peak is a Top 5 most intoxicating thing on this planet? Boy am I hoping there isn’t a crash down to earth, because we are having all kinds of fun right now

He led the second unit with 13/5 on 5-8 had 2 steals and even dunked again! 2K Terry is most definitely my favorite Terry so I’m happy he’s starting to finish in real life like he does in that game. Watching this recent stretch of games, I think this is what everyone thought Terry was going to be able to do on a consistent basis, and with Morris chipping in 10, suddenly the bench scoring didn’t look so bad now did it! I’d say 30 of the 99 is right around where they needed to be.

– There’s good defense, and then there’s whatever the Celtics did in the second half. Holding HOU to just 9 FGs and 25/21% splits kind of breaks my brain, especially considering how they started. This just further goes to show you get Mad Brad at halftime, you should feel as confident as ever.

– With the Rockets missing their dominant center in Capela, I’m glad the Celtics identified this weakness and took advantage. You would think that against HOU they would fall into the trap of doing nothing but shooting threes, but that wasn’t really the case. Of the Celtics 82 shots just 29 came from behind the arc, and they won the points in the paint battle 56-28. To me, there’s your game right there.

– A lot will be made about how this game ended in it’s final possessions, but to me, this wasn’t at all possible if the Celtics don’t defend those two inbound plays and force the Rockets to call those two timeouts. Them not being able to call a timeout after that Tatum dunk could not have been more important. When asked about that sequence, Kyrie told us what we already knew

– Long live Cornbread. Incredible

– OK fine, Abdel Nader, you helped turn things around in your 20 minutes. The 7 rebounds were nice and you only took 6 shots so I can’t really complain.

The Bad

– If I could give the Celtics one bit of advice, maybe stop starting games against these good teams giving them a quick 12 point cushion. Stop missing all your shots and turning it over every chance you get. I know you like a challenge, but come on you’re doing that shit on national TV guys. People are watching you.

I mean in that first 12 minutes they made 5 shots and had 8 TOs. At what point is that acceptable?

– As expected, when the Celtics came out flat and were getting their dick kicked in, I saw a lot of tweets about the schedule and how they’re just tied blah blah blah.

I’ve made it known how much I can’t stand this, because it felt to me that their issues in that first half weren’t all that schedule related. Horford throwing it out of bounds at half court passing it to Kyrie wasn’t because they’ve played a lot of games recently. Tatum not knowing he had to be a step closer to Ryan Anderson wasn’t because they played the night before. Just look at the second half, the defense was swarming and the Celtics took care of the ball and boom, they won.

I’m not ignoring the toll it’s taking on their bodies, I just reject that when they are playing like absolute dogshit that it’s mostly because of their schedule. Luckily we don’t have to worry about this for the rest of the year.

– You know Harden is going to take a shit ton of FTs, that’s not news so I’m not too mad about his 15 FTA. But you couldn’t watch that game and walk away saying that those two refs did a good job, for either team. The Rockets somehow barely fouled to start the game, and safe to say they had their fair share of missed calls on both ends. How does the NBA not have a backup ref? Seems odd.

– Yes, before the outcome was decided I was just a little worked up about the 3 missed 4th quarter FTs in what was a 3 point game.

– Saving Yabu for London is some next level brand thinking, but a DNP-CD stings

The Ugly

– I don’t need to rehash this. Just rewatch the first 24 minutes and you’ll lose all that holiday weight real quick with the amount of vomit that will be leaving your body. That may have been the worst basketball this team has played all year.

The Celts have now won back to back games for the first time in two weeks, and with BKN/CLE/MIN on deck, they need to be playing their best basketball. Fortunately all three are at home, and none are on a B2B so everyone should be rested and ready to go. In what has been a season full of emotional rollercoaster performances last night most definitely takes the cake, and if you’d be so kind gather round and say it with me…

29 down 25 to go.