My eyes, they burn, oh they burn. Look, I'm as fond of the Celtics grimmy, gritty, fight for every inch on defense style of play as the next guy. That's exactly what you want on defense. But man is it hard to watch when they play offense as if they were guarding themselves.
The maddening thing is that we've seen this team run a fluid, highly efficient if not proficient offense in the past. When the ball is moving around, people are making the right cuts and knocking down shots, it is a thing of beauty. We've got 3 guys that are Hall of Fame locks and were their team's go-to scorers for years and years. But now they can't seem to buy a bucket with all the buckets of cash that they've earned ...scoring buckets.
Their offensive woes were encapsulated in a set with about two minutes left, when Rondo dribbled out the possession waiting for Allen to pop free on the wing. The Sixers forced him wide and Rondo was left to fire up a jumper that was partially blocked by Evan Turner. Asked about it later, Rondo said he didn’t remember the set, which is highly implausible. But then, so are the delusions that the Celtics could simply show up and coast their way to the conference finals. They simply don’t have much margin for error anymore, a fact of life Rivers acknowledged.
By all means, credit the Sixers and the Hawks before them for playing excellent playoff defense. Hat tips and head nods all around. However, they wouldn't be nearly as effective if the Celtics were a little less ineffective. We know that they can play good offense, but they can't seem to do it consistently. The only hope is that their defense is more stingy than their offense is and that they can ride the occasional hot streak to victory.