I'm going to cover the end of the game first. This time it's not because we just beat the best team in the league, but rather we barely beat the worst team in the league. Yep, it was "play down to your competition night in Boston and the C's did a great job of it. Those prematurely celebrating the demise of the 76er's and an eventual Atlantic division title for the C's better pay attention. After I recap this last 4 mins, the rant is on!
4:00 left in the 4th
The Celtics took thier 1st lead OF THE GAME with roughly 4 mins left on a long 2pter that PP hit, after creating space with a step in fake. 85-83 Celtics. Obinna Ekezie (try saying that 4 times fast) hit 2 FT's on the next trip down and PP collected his 4th foul. 85 ALL with 3:29 remaining. PP then was fouled by Tyronn Lue and hit 2 clutch FT's with 3:18 remaining to make it 87-85 C's. An ATL turnover on the next possession prompted them to call a timeout with 2:59 remaining. RD went to the hole strong, but didn't get the call or the hoop. Raef then fouled Childress, who hit both FT's to tie it back up with 2:23 left. Several shots by both teams ensued that proved fruitless and with just :58.5 left, the C's called a timeout.
Pierce drew Al Harrington into another foul with an upfake. However, he missed the front end of the trip and with :52.5 left, the C's led 88-87. 'Toine stole the ball from Al Harrington just above the top of the arc and then rewarded a trailing RD for a layup and the C's led 90-87 with :30.5 left. Lue then scored quickly on a drive with :26.4 remaining to make it 90-89. Former Celtics Tom Gugliota fouled PP to stop the clock and PP hit 2 more clutch FT's with :16.5 left on the clock and the C's out front 92-89.
Al Harrington hit a big time jumper with his toe on the arc line and GP with relatively decent position on him. This brought ATL back to 1 down at 92-91, but PP was fouled and hit 2 more clutch FT's to put the C's up 94-91 with :10.9 remaining. **Random Stat: The Celtics are 61-39 when PP makes 10 FT's**.
Googs took a 3pter to try and tie it, but was well guarded and PP pulled down a big rebound and was fouled. He missed the front end, but this time, all that mattered was making the 2nd, which he did. Celtics win ugly: 95-91
Final: 95-91 Celtics Win
Now, on with the rant.....
Grillo, Washington and Malloy. Remember those names, because as officials, they sent a loud reminder tonight that David Stern hates the Celtics. Don't misconstrue this, I'm not blaming the C's woes tonight solely on the referees. I'm just pointing out that not only were these guys bad tonight, but they were mostly bad against the Celtics. They let so many ATL fouls go on Celtic drives and attempts on putbacks that I wanted to go nuts by halftime. PEEEEYYYOOOOUUUUU, You stink fellas.
Our Defense.....how to put this politely.....still not there for 48 minutes. In fact, it was largely absent for a good portion of the first 43 minutes. We need to shore this up or forget renting 'Toine for a playoff run, the point will be moot. If you can't play defense come playoffs, you go home early. I've been a patient man with Doc thus far, but this particular issue is really starting to chaff my nether-regions. I won't blaspheme, for Jeff's sake, but I spent the entire 4th Quarter standing in front of the TV with my teeth clenched together mumbling "play some *** damn defense!!!!"
To sound like the wise, but broken record that was Tommy Heinsohn tonight: REBOUND, REBOUND, REBOUND. We got hammered on the boards 46-37 overall and gave up 13 offensive rebounds. Those who watched the game will probably back me in saying that they are surprised that the RB total was that close. It seemed like alot more of a discrepancy than that.
Guys who didn't show up tonight: GP, Big Al, TA. They had thier moments, but for the most part, didn't help this team much tonight. The rookies had thier "growing pains". For a stretch, Al Jefferson looked more like a fouling machine than the potential future of this team. TA, well it was his first game back, so I'll cut him slack. GP had an absolutely miserable night. He missed 2 wide open layups to start the game and didn't score his first points of the game until 9:53 in the 3rd.
Back to Doc: Here's the situation - Celtics call a timeout with 2:47 left in the 3rd. The Hawks had just tipped the ball out of bound and there's only :02 left on the shot clock. Into the huddle to diagram a play. What happens? They inbound the ball to Blount who promptly tries to dribble it and a shot clock violation ensues. Please, PLEASE tell me this wasn't what was drawn up.
Speaking of Blount: I know you don't have to be a rocket scientist to play basketball, but some common sense of the game would be nice. Here's something you obviously missed when you grew up: When you're the man in-bounding the ball and the other team chooses to ignore guarding you and double the guys you're trying to pass to, here's a bit of advice - If you can't find an open man, you throw the damn ball off someone who's back is turned. Call a timeout. Anything other than turn the ball over. Watch some footage of Scottie Pippen sometime if you don't understand the concept.
I'm sure there's more, but the aneurism I feel coming on won't allow me to write any more about this game.
Good teams find a way to win and we did that tonight. I give the team credit for that much. However, we've got the World Champion Pistons on Friday and the Wizards on Sunday. If we play like we did tonight against either of those teams, we'll be blown out by halftime.
Take advantage of the day off Boys. Get the house in order cause after the showing tonight, some tidying is needed.
Player of the Game: Here's the suspects.
PP: 27pts, 10 rbs, 3 assts. (14 in the 4th quarter)
RD: 21 pts, 5 assts (Was part of the glue, along with AW that kept the team in this game.
AW: 15pts, 9rbs, 3 assts, 2 blks -Good all around game (6/9 FG and 2/3 3pters)