Doc Rivers is fond of saying "it's a make/miss league" and he's right. If the shots are falling, the offense looks good, the passes become crisper, and everyone has an extra bounce in their step. If they aren't, people tense up, miss the extra pass, and hesitate on shots. That's why the best shooters have no memory or conscience whatsoever, but everyone's human.
Take away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and the other nine Celtics who played in the 82-75 Game 6 loss were 12 for 47 for just 31 points. And the 76ers adopted a different defensive approach this time, allowing the Celtics to shoot jumpers, then taking the long rebounds and pushing the ball down the court. The Celtics cooperated fully, missing a litany of open jumpers that began to discourage those who usually release those shots without conscience. And those shooters, primarily Ray Allen and Brandon Bass, hesitated and then responded with poor decisions.
"We didn’t have it,’’ said Rivers simply, after Boston was done in by 17 turnovers, while shooting just 26 for 78 (33.3 percent) with only Paul Pierce (24 points) and Kevin Garnett (20) reaching double figures. "I thought we had a lot of empty possessions. "Offensively we played random basketball. We never really established Kevin in the post. Our spacing was horrendous. They really clogged the paint up, but we hurt ourselves with pace. We walked the ball up the floor and we have to get [Rajon] Rondo running. "It didn’t look pleasant, as someone said. So we’ll look at it and see what we need to change.’’
The next game could be completely different. Or maybe not, I've given up trying to predict these things. We just have to hope the ball falls through the hoop this time.