Houston 93, Boston 77
Well, at least it is over. When I say the game was not as close as the 16 point deficit might indicate, I am being generous. The Celtics were dominated in nearly every facet of the game tonight. They were the less composed team, they played softer defense, they were less energized, they weren't as tough, and they weren't as efficient on the offensive end.
Kyle Lowry set the tone early, and led the Houston attack every minute he was in the game, making mincemeat of what the Celtics playfully called 'defense' tonight (Lowry finished with 20 point and 9 assists). The game turned into a laugher early, at least if you were a Rockets fan, and it didn't even get close in the second half.
The Celtics' starters were near no-shows tonight, shooting 14-40 from the field as a unit, and playing defense that could be conservatively called 'underwhelming'. The game also got chippy very early, with the Celtics venting their frustrations in anxious prolonged glances with the Rockets players who were making their lives so difficult tonight.
Tonight's game was basically a throw-away, and its only use going forward (both in analysis and in memory) will be to serve as a motivator never to turn in a performance quite so lackluster as this again.
I'm anxious to move past it though, because in the long run, tonight was much more important to the Rockets (who moved to within 2 games of the Grizzlies for the last playoff spot in the West) than to the Celtics, who pretty much stayed neutral in relation to the Bulls (they lost in overtime to the Pacers tonight), and first place in the East.
More stuff after the break, and it's a bit more positive (and I don't mean the comments..those will be brutal).
Do you remember how it felt when you were 18 and had to ride a bike again for some reason after a couple of years of driving? Remember how at first it felt strange, but then you remembered how to do it, and it got easy? Well, that's what I'm going to do now. I'm going to try and draw some positives out of a terrible loss, like we used to back in the day (as in before KG).
Jeff Green had another decent night tonight. Yes, a lot of his time towards the end of the game (after the first half) was what most would refer to as 'garbage time', but he played well for most of the game I thought. Green was active, even after the game was clearly lost (and honestly, I hate nothing more than a quitter), and he shot really well tonight. He led all Celtics scorers with 17 points, and shot an effiicent 7-10 from the field. I also liked how he was willing to take full advantage of a mismatch with Courtney Lee for stretches and take his versatile game down low. Really liked Green's game tonight.
Glen Davis also turned in a near 100% effort tonight, and he seemed as willing to go to the hoop for tough buckets as he was to take jumpshots. He was still diving after loose balls long after the game was lost, and I really liked that he was still going hard when the Celtics were clearly out of mortar range.
Sasha Pavlovic really showed me something on D tonight. I think he understands his role on this team, and he understands that in a perfect world, he doesn't get the 10 minutes he got tonight because of his position on the Boston depth chart. Doc called his number, and despite Sasha only taking 1 field goal attempt, his aggressive defense and playing the passing lanes against a careless Houston bench is a big reason why the deficit was only 16 points, and not closer to 25 or 30. Pavlovic had his number called, and he came out and played hard when given the chance. You can't ask for more from your 14th man.
Avery Bradley tried. His offense was atrocious, and his defense was maybe a bit jumpy, but he was in it. Bradley was working his newts off out there, and played hard down the stretch. Yes, he played poorly, but in all honesty, seeing him play hard even when he was playing badly warmed my heart a bit. I'd rather have a prospect that needs work on his skills but not his effort than a prospect that needs work on his effort but not his skills.
That's all the kool-aid you get guys. Cya tomorrow.