Yes, the call on Paul Pierce was a bad one, but I don't think the Boston Celtics had to be at the mercy of one bad call late in the game (and yes I do mean one bad call in the sense that it pretty much changed the entire game around). I'll admit, I was inclined to believe that the refs messed this one up late in the game, but when I thought about the game from the opening minutes, it seems that the Boston Celtics had a chance to put the game away early.
The Boston Celtics in my opinion, should've been able to win this game as early as the first quarter, where they forced 8 turnovers against a Bulls team that averages only 15 a game for the season. The injury to Luol Deng, should've also proven great news for the Celtics, seeing as how many times Deng has locked up Paul Pierce in the past.
The Celtics had a lot of opportunities to put the game away. For the game, the Boston Celtics forced 21 turnovers, but only managed to score 7 points off of those turnovers.
Credit has to be given to the Bulls defense which kept the Celtics to just 42% shooting from the field, and 21% from 3-point range. The Celtics were only out rebounded by 1 board (the Celtics still managed to grab 3 more offensive boards than the Bulls), but still couldn't hold the Bulls who shot 48% from the field, and 33% from 3-point range.
Another curious statistic in my opinion was the 91 shot attempts the Boston Celtics had, compared to the 75 attempts for the Bulls, which brings me back to the opportunities that the Celtics missed out on. The inconsistency of Pierce, coupled with the late surge of offense from Garnett, mixed in with the lack of bench production (other than perhaps Jared Sullinger who still went only 38% from the field), and finally tied with all the ticky-tack fouls the Celtics had called on them, was responsible for the loss. It also came down to sheer luck, as Marco Belinelli threw up a prayer that was unfortunately answered during the final seconds of overtime.
I also want to highlight Leandro Barbosa. I was pushing for more minutes from Barbosa, but he logged in only 14 minutes despite starting. He only logged more playing time than Jason Collins who was only in the game for a minute or two. During his very short stint, Barbosa had 5 points, on 2/6 shooting, and 1/2 from 3-point range, including 3 boards, an assist, a block, a steal, and 4 fouls.
I was disappointed with Jeff Green, for not logging in more stats than just 2 points and 2 fouls. Sullinger logged in good minutes other than the poor shooting performance, but I was surprised that I didn't see more of Brandon Bass. In his 26 minutes, he scored 10 points on 4/6 shooting, grabbed a couple of boards, and a couple of steals.
It was a tough loss, but the Bulls are a better team on the road, than they are at home, which I find to be strange. The Bulls are easily a championship contending team, and when Rose comes back they'll be even scarier. For the next 2 games, the Celtics will be on the road, where they will face the Pistons and the Cavaliers. The last time the Celtics played the Pistons, they got spanked by 20, and the last time the Celtics played the Cavs, Pierce went off for 40, so let's see how this mini road trip turns out.
What are your thoughts? Should the referees be held accountable for loss? Do you believe the Celtics should've been able to win the game early?