Avery Bradley usually isn’t compared to Larry Bird. During one shot tonight, that changed. The fourth-year guard was in the right spot in the first quarter on Tuesday night, rebounding a Jared Sullinger airball under the basket. Knowing he needed to get off a shot before the shot clock expired, Bradley hoisted up a prayer [...]
We’ve talked about Jared Sullinger quite a bit this week, but he has been playing intriguingly well, so forgive us for continuing the trend. The “Should Sullinger be taking 3-pointers?” argument continues to rage, but last night presented compelling arguments for proponents of the strategy. I wrote about these shots specifically during the preseason, and [...]
Only five NBA teams are humiliated by a less effective offense than the one currently deployed by the Boston Celtics. But being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are a couple parts of that offense we should all be grateful for. (Most notably the fact that it’s run by Brad Stevens, a mastermind [...]
Last season, Jared Sullinger was whistled for 6.2 fouls per 36 minutes. In other words, statistically, even if the Celtics wanted to give him a starter’s minutes, he would foul out before the 36 minute mark. Some of that was on Sullinger — it takes a certain amount of time to adjust to the way [...]
In a playoff-less season, the Celtics really have only one thing to look forward to before lottery night: The return of Rajon Rondo. There are always a few indicators that a player is nearing his return, and one of the first ones is that he is returning to drills during practice. From Gary Washburn’s Twitter [...]
Trade talk hasn’t died down just yet in Boston. Days after Danny Ainge confirmed to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the team was engaged in discussions with other teams pertaining to their veteran pieces of the roster, we have another report surfacing today from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report on potential talks between the Celtics [...]
Always good when the Celtics are confronted with an issue in the first half, but make changes to correct that issue in the second and win handily. Creates a tight little game story, and that makes my job easy! Just kidding, this job is already pretty easy and it’s not actually a job.
The Celtics seemed like they were fixing to be hustled off the floor in the first quarter. Guards like Jodie Meeks, a man who shares his first name with my mother, blistered Ray Allen and particularly Rajon Rondo on the first few plays of the game. Ray was technically assigned to Meeks, but Meeks craftily drifted off Ray defensively so he’d have an edge on him for the race downcourt. Rondo was the only thing standing in Meeks’s way, but because standing was basically all Rondo did, Meeks blew past him and ended up with the ball right under the basket.
Here’s one time the aforementioned happened.
The only good that came of that play was that it forced Tommy Heinsohn to scream that there would be “serious trouble in River City” if it happened again. Then, five minutes later, it did.
The Meeks shall inherit the earth, as the world’s funniest dude would say. Between this guy and Jrue Holiday hitting jumpers right in Rondo’s disinterested face, the Celtics point guard had a pretty lazy defensive quarter. Basically, he kept the game close at both ends: he engineered all of the Celtics offense in the early going, but most of the Sixers offense too.
But the Celtics, not consistent adjustment-makers over the last few weeks, tightened up this time. They got back on defense and forced the Sixers to go halfcourt rather than run right through them, as you can see in this game footage.
This led to the 14-1 run that spanned halftime and put the Sixers in a sufficiently deep hole to take this one. Every single defensive possession for the C’s in that stretch saw them forcing the Sixers to run a halfcourt offense. An interesting thing is that Rondo, in this stretch, was not good defensively. He missed a bunch of rotations and got iced out on picks. Postgame recaps elsewhere have pointed out that Jrue Holiday didn’t score any points in the second half and missed his last eight shots, but a few of those shots looked like this.
Sometimes no defense is the best defense, right? No, that is not right. That video shows some great suffocating help D on Spencer Hawes, but Rondo’s involvement was completely superfluous and he was lucky Holiday missed. It’s another chapter in the very long story of Rondo leaving his man to bite on a steal.
But to reiterate, Rondo’s offense was superb throughout this game. He set virtually every play in motion, and he did it in the halfcourt, which the Celtics execute much better than the Sixers or pretty much anyone. People like to say that Rondo is good because he can “push the tempo,” but this is not true, or at least not completely true. Rondo is good because he can put a pass anywhere and hit his guys at the exact instant they’ve created some space.That’s why he’s good. Jrue Holiday can push the tempo. “Push the Tempo” is a Fatboy Slim song.
The Celtics, when they’re at their best, operate in the half court. They pick apart defenses with ball movement and stymie that same ball movement on the other end. They’re not fast. They’re old. Rondo is capable of running a fast break, and that can be a weapon when implemented judiciously. But when the Celtics need points, there’s nothing wrong with waiting for everyone to drag their old bones up the court and running plays. Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare? The hare jumped out in front with a few fastbreak points, but then he fell asleep under the scorer’s table, but the tortoise couldn’t score because his stumpy appendages were totally incapable of controlling a basketball so he lost anyway. That’s not relevant.
I’m increasingly concerned about Jermaine O’Neal’s springiness. All the boards I can recall him getting fell into his hands while he was groundbound. Watch the opening tip, where Jermaine visibly considers jumping but then gives up.
As mentioned earlier, kudos to Krstic and Murphy for their quick recoveries. I think most of us were prepared to lose Krstic until next January, based on the example set for us by Shaq and his 30-game charlie horse.
Paul Pierce has been the team’s best rebounder for at least a week. He and Green led the team with seven tonight, and Pierce has been the only Celtic who actively parks himself where the shot’s most likely to come off the rim. This would be a bigger deal if it didn’t sometimes seem like he was fighting his own teammates to get position.
KG is shooting as well as any of us have ever seen him lately. Just the daintiest little “splish” noises as the ball goes through, and his form looks fantastic. Did KG drink a cauldron of Ray’s blood? Is that why Ray went on the schneid for a while? It’s not a likely explanation, but it’s also not the least likely.