Head over to Third Quarter Collapse where Magic fans have reason for optimism. Meanwhile, back here at Green Bandwagon I can't force myself to be that negative. The Celtics are 8-1 with their only loss coming on the road by two points. If I complain too much the 2006 me will find a way to travel to the future and punch me in the face. Having said that there were some concerns:
- Overall the ball movement that was a staple of big wins against Denver and Washington has disappeared recently. The Celtics offense has revolved around pick and roll, drive and kick and isolation. The fact that some of the drives have been out of control and that open shots are not falling at times (4-16 from deep yesterday) only complicates matters.
- Rajon Rondo shot better than I can ever recall. He's scored more points in a game but never hit mid range shots like that from all over the floor. At the same time he struggled to keep Jameer Neslon out of the lane and watched Eddie House play a lot in the fourth quarter. Technically the three seconds that KG earned in the fourth was not Rondo's fault. But he has to be willing to take the open shot in that situation.
- I was really impressed by Hedo Turkoglu who had ice water in the veins with a couple of back breaking three pointers. At the same time I was disappointed to see him drive and finish on several occasions.
- James Posey fouled out and his bump of Rashard Lewis in the corner that led to three free throws was not a heads up play. As the season goes on Posey will bring a lot to the team. But he will make some mental mistakes at times and will struggle a bit with quicker forwards.
- It was a physical game and despite all of the fouls I thought the referees let a lot go at the start of the third quarter. The Celtics definitely bullied their way back into the game.
- I half expected the Magic organization to get Craig Esherick for a post game video conference where he reenacted his "Don't mess with my boy/They're killing Mike Sweetney" tirade in honor of Dwight Howard. The Celtics essentially attacked him, driving the mild mannered Howard to the point that he almost earned two technical fouls. The Celtics had to play Scot Pollard because of their foul happy ways. And yes I am not sure about the D-12 nickname.
- Ray Allen did not have his A game last night. That happens. To his credit he still nailed a big three down the stretch. You just don't expect him to miss a wide open three or a foul shot on a technical foul for three in the key. And yes he finished with 19 on an off night.
- Can anyone remember a game where two defensive three seconds were called in the fourth quarter? The funny thing is that those calls were somewhat borderline while at other points Howard set up shop in the lane.
- Tony Allen. He's not 100%, be it mental or physical. This was evident on the break when he lacked his old explosiveness. And that missed lay up towards the end of the fourth was a back breaker. Having said that Allen does hustle. On one play he ran back on the break, forced Nelson to pass and then contested the shot. Unfortunately Howard was there for the offensive rebound. Funny aside. After one Allen turnover the announcers of the broadcast I caught, David Steele and Matt Goukas, blamed the travel on his knee. They must not realize that a turnover is always a possibility whenever Allen dribbles, knee surgery or not.
- Kevin Garnett definitely looked mortal tonight. Despite all his talents KG came up against players who were more physical and quicker, Howard and Rashard Lewis respectively. And how about Howard beating KG down the court for a dunk? This can't end well for Golden State on Wednesday.
- The final play. I'm cool with going for the win on the road and the Celtics were out of timeouts. But with seven seconds there has to be a better option that Pierce's turn around, contested three pointer. Of course the Celtics were only in the game because The Truth dropped 15 in the third. By the way, had that final shot gone down it would have set off one of the most obnoxious celebrations following a regular season win in quite some time. And I would have loved it.
- How about Rondo shooting 8-9 from the field? That has to excite Celtics fans.
Garnett: 37 minutes (fouled out)
Pierce: 42 minutes