A Daily Babble Production
As the headline suggests, I'm not sure how much overarching analysis there is to be done about a game that had minimal importance to a Celtics team playing without two of its top three players. It's always good to add another tally to the win column, and if the Celtics feel strongly about pushing to play Philadelphia rather than Chicago in the first round, all the better. For today, just some quick bullet thoughts on the green's 100-98 win over the Sixers, and we're out of here:
- Great to see Paul Pierce bring such a strong effort after his no-show on Sunday. He got himself good looks on the inside, hit a couple of his patented step-backs from mid-range and put up a bonkers 7-for-9 effort from beyond the arc. Nice to see him do a fine job on Andre Iguodala on the Sixers' last two possessions as well. Box score oddity of the night: He didn't collect a single rebound. But I'll happily write that off as a bit of strangeness on a night when the Truth was on his own planet offensively.
- Nice showing for Tony Allen getting a start in Ray's place. He looked strong taking the ball to the basket and turned the ball over just twice in 40 minutes. But his passing might have been most impressive of all: He made a couple of fine dishes in transition traffic, including one to Large Baby to tie the score at 95 with just inside of four minutes to play. The hitch on his outside shot still makes me cringe, and despite his one made three, I could do without his looking to shoot jumpers with any regularity. But that's a small complaint on what a good evening for TA.
- The Sixers lived up to their billing as the worst three-point shooting team in basketball, hitting on just three of 12 attempts and thus failing to clear their season average of 32 percent from deep. Thaddeus Young looked awful on two good looks from the corner late in the game, and Andre Iguodala managed to hit just one of his four tries. Nice to have the luxury of a poor-shooting opponent if the Celts and Sixers do in fact reconvene over the next week.
- That he can't shoot is the good news for AI2 opponents. The bad is that he continues to improve in every other aspect of the game. His athleticism makes him a terror in the open floor, and he moves the ball well and plays defense. His spin to the left baseline for a dunk in traffic in the fourth quarter last night was beautiful.
- The Celtics' interior defense (Perk and his four blocks occasionally excepted) did not look spectacular overall, and in the second quarter it was downright disgusting. The Sixers put up 20 points on dunks and lay-ups in that period alone, a few of which came uncontested or off major lapses in transition. This is not good.
- Speaking of dunking, the play after he hung onto the rim for roughly the length of the shot clock (hyperbole, yes), Thaddeus Young missed an uncontested stuff. I enjoyed the second part of this sequence.
- Welcome back, Leon Powe! The Show looked good offensively in his return from injury, hitting a couple of shots inside and knocking down all four of his foul shots in a 17-minute stint. I would expect to see more of him tonight.
- Interesting to see Doc not use Gabe Pruitt and Bill Walker at all. I'll be surprised if they don't see a few minutes apiece tonight as well.
- Lou Williams gives the Sixers nice energy off the bench. He has plenty of speed and gets to the basket and the foul line well.
- No matter how meaningful a game is, 9-for-17 constitutes another miserable performance from the foul line. Come on.
- Rajon Rondo did a great job attacking the rim early and cooled off a bit as the game went on. As editor Green17 said after the game, it was good for Stephon Marbury to get some run in "pseudo-crunch time" down the stretch, although he was up and down in his minutes.
- The Nasty Newborn found his way into double digits once more with another better-than-50-percent shooting effort. Loved his left-wing jumper that hit the short side of the rim and somehow bounced up and in.
- Faithful readers know that I tend to lean toward the hard-on-our-guys end of the spectrum when it comes to technical fouls. Thankfully the only referee in the league who could make me hold me tongue was on hand last night in the person of Joey Crawford. CB member Brickowski said it best in the forums: "As for the technicals, it's difficult to determine if they were warranted without a courtside microphone." While I'm generally a believer that it requires players at least opening their mouths to the refs to get technicals, track record indicates that this isn't always the case with Crawford. The whole situation was odd. Let's just move on.
- A tip of the cap to our beloved Eddie House, whose run of 24 consecutive games with a made three-pointer came to an end last night, for a particularly hot last couple of months worth of shooting off the bench. He had his off night just in time to start a new streak for the playoffs.
Enjoy the regular season finale tonight, folks.