Who would want the #1 seed? That kiss of death? Noooooooo thank you. We all remembered how that worked out last year, and then when you factor in that only 2 teams since the 08 Celtics have made the Finals as the #1 seed, it’s no wonder the Celtics decided to go into TOR and play one of their worst offensive performances of the season. When you think about it, this loss actually increased their odds to actually make a Finals run. Brad Stevens did it again!!
All joking aside, what a goddamn disaster this game was. We knew that both teams were going to be pretty brutal offensively given that both were on the second night of a back to back but personally I did not expect the Celts offense to look this brutal. Even with the injuries they’ve still been able to give us something that at least remotely LOOKED like basketball. At the end of the day this loss most likely gives TOR the 1 seed, but just to paint the complete picture, the Celts are now tied H2H with TOR so if somehow the Celts and TOR end up tied in record, given that they are in the same division I believe the next tie breaker would be conference record, which TOR has a pretty good lead in. So for the sake of your own brain just consider the Celts the 2 seed and start looking at potential matchups between CLE or PHI if they are fortunate enough to get out of the first round.
With that all said, we should probably get started. It won’t be pretty, but this is the downside of the blog life, we can’t run when things make you want to vomit.
– How could I possibly find something for this section? Because nobody can spinzone things like my own brain can when it comes to this team. First up? Efficient 20+ scorer Marcus Morris is back baby!
Just when you thought maybe he was coming back down to earth after that dud against MIL, Marcus Morris was back at it again going for 21 points on 7-14 shooting. Granted he struggled for much of this game but how many times do I have to tell you to stop focusing on the details and focus more on the spin. Remember when the Celts would run those down screens for Avery and he would come off them and into a nice little midrange shot? Remember how confident you felt when that happened? I’m feeling that times a billion with Morris. When I see him with a sliver of space in his midrange sweet spot, I just close my eyes and listen for the sound of nothing by nylon. Morris gave us a nice combination of an inside/outside approach and on the defensive end things looked a whole lot better as well.
Above all else it’s going to be a wild ride in the playoffs if Morris has to be relied upon to score like he is now, but at least for the last few weeks he’s shown he’s up for the challenge.
– Last night was also a nice bounce back effort fro Greg Monroe, and for a large portion of this game I had felt bad for being so upset with him for how he played against MIL
If we’re going to be getting 17/8 on 4-7 shooting and was an absolute animal in that first quarter. This is the type of bench production I think we all dreamed of when he first came aboard, and when the offense is so putrid it is a nice luxury to just be able to dump it down to the big man and let him body his way to either a layup, or a missed layup but foul. Things slow down in the playoffs so I’m thinking Greg Monroe is going to be a big time factor, which is both exciting and frankly terrifying.
I will say this though. TOR bigs for years have tormented the Celtics, but with him and Baynes throwing their bodies around, it never felt like JV or Ibaka were an issue. In year’s past these two would dominate the paint, get every rebound, and generally make my life miserable. Now that the Celts have actual big men to throw at guys like that, I’m a little more confident moving forward.
– There’s not much to choose from really, but at least we can all shit back and enjoy Al Horford’s performance. His 16 points led all starters
and him and Morris were really the only consistent options in the second half, where they both shot 50% and finished in double figures. Maybe a little more from Horford in that 2nd quarter may have helped, but you have to remember a lot of times when he is on the floor with no PG, the spots where he is catching the ball doesn’t really allow him to shoot a high percentage shot. He’s used as more of a passer and distributer which is fine, this team just needs to find the balance of getting him in the right spots at the right time, especially like in that quarter where this team could not fucking score.
– Hey at least the Celts defense kept another team under 100. Why focus on only the offense when defense is 50% of the game! Four of the five starters had a Drtg under 100, and it’s not exactly like the Raptors shot the ball lights out either and they were at home. Defense travels, and if you haven’t accepted the fact that this team is going to win by defense and rebounding and NOT offense, then you simply haven’t been watching this team all year. Their offense will get back to being slightly below average instead of absolute dogshit, but that defense remains legit as hell no matter what happens on the other end. That’s important.
– Celts went 25-28 from the FT line. There’s always a silver lining folks.
– OK where do we begin. I suppose we can talk about how the starters combined to shoot 14-43. Some might say that’s in fact not good. I tend to agree with them. Pick a name and they struggled shooting the ball, Tatum at 4-10, Horford 5-13, Terry 1-9, and Jaylen a not so bad but still underwhelming 4-9. It’s been a looooooong time since we’ve seen this team struggle like this offensively, and sadly you can’t just blame their B2B. Their approach was all kinds of jacked up, with player after player settling for contested long twos and threes instead of working into the paint for high percentage shots.
This is frustrating because it’s not complicated. One area they were having success in, one they weren’t. Instead of realizing this and adjusting things to put themselves in a position to succeed, they settled and ended the night with a shot chart that looked like this
Part of this I put on the players but also part of it I put on Brad. I wouldn’t say this was his best coached game either. I thought he waited a little too long to stop TOR runs when things were just all out of wack, and when you’re taking 20 footers and the other team is living in the paint, nights like this can happen.
– Everywhere you look it was pretty much domination by TOR. Points in the paint? 54-34 advantage TOR. Actual made baskets? 40-25 advantage TOR. Turnovers? 16-10 advantage TOR. Threes? 10-3 advantage TOR. Aside from rebounding and FTA the Celtics really were pushed around in all phases. The Raptors were more aggressive, more active, and played with just a little more energy.
– As expected, the TOR bench was MUCH better this time around compared to last Saturday, and really the Celts had no answer for guys like Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poetl. Delon Wright also got to the rim at will and was a pest on defense, and this is what you should have expected. Role players tend to play well at home and the TOR bench is the best in the league. No chance they were going to have back to back poor outings against the Celts, and it was that second unit that changed this entire game. It’s why I fear them more than the TOR starters if we’re being honest. I don’t know how many teams I can say that about.
– If you thought the 3rd quarter against MIL was bad where they only scored 15 points, I’m be curious to hear your thoughts about what the fuck happened during the second quarter last night. I mean 13 points in 12 minutes is comically bad. This carried over to the third quarter too where the Celts didn’t score until like 3 or 4 minutes in. In that second quarter the Celts had more TOs than actual baskets, shot 27/0% and the kicker is that Horford AND Tatum both played at least 8 of the 12 minutes. We’ve seen the Celtics look pathetic on offense before, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen them look THIS futile. If you’re looking for one main thing to be worried about as we head into a playoff series most likely without Kyrie, it’s scoring droughts like this. One bad quarter is all it takes and last night was a prime example. For the most part the Celts played TOR even, but that 29-13 second quarter was simply too much to overcome.
– Turnovers are becoming a real problem and honestly it’s annoying the hell out of me. I don’t know if mentally they weren’t prepared or what, but the Celtics had 13 turnovers in the first half. 13!! That is what they average for a whole goddamn game. Morris had 5 alone and four other guys had at least 2. This lead to 29 points for TOR, and some might say this was the biggest reason for this type of outcome. If you can’t shoot the ball the last thing you can do is simply keep giving the ball to the other team to help them score easy baskets to bump up their confidence. Especially on the road against a team like TOR who is lights out at home. The Celtics deserved every bad thing that happened to them in this game because of how careless they were with the basketball.
– This was the first time the Celts only made three 3PM in over 24 years. Since 1994!!! What the hell is that?
As we approach the final 4 games of the year, Brad has already come out and stated if you are at all injured, you’re going to sit. With essentially nothing to play for this is obviously the best route in my opinion. Play the normal guys here and there before the playoffs start but give the rest of the minutes to Yabu. Some teams prefer rhythm to rest, but this team is so banged up I care way more about health than anything else. All in all if you told us that this team would end up with 53+ wins and a 2 seed after Hayward went down I think we ALL take that without thinking twice. So sure they looked like dogshit against TOR and they ruined their chance at the #1 seed, but if the plan is to just avoid Lebron as long as possible that is still on the table even as a 2 seed. My advice would be to turn the page and forget this game even happened.