The Nets are clearly trying to will themselves into clinching the 4th seed in the East while the Celtics struggle to keep their place near the bottom. In whats already been a rough stretch for the green team only got worse when the division rivals came and swept the Celtics on the road for the season. The Nets won with a balanced scoring attack and gutted the Celtics defense. Three of their starters had at least 20 with Deron Williams leading the way with 29 points and also dishing out 12 assists. Paul Pierce scored 23 for the C's while no one else on the team reached 15. The possibility of catching Atlanta and Chicago is slowly slipping away which might help decide on whether to sit players or not. The regular season is coming to an end and unfortunately this Celtics team doesn't seem to be finding their rhythm.
With Bradley in foul trouble Deron Williamsreminded Boston why he's an elite guard
Saddled with foul trouble the entire game Avery Bradley wasn't able to leave his imprint on the game leading to a big night from Williams. Since entering the league Williams has been considered an elite point guard but has been suffering from ankle and wrist issues throughout the year. The last thing he could have used was Bradley hounding him for 48 minutes. Without the full court pressure Williams was able to dictate the Nets offense and pick apart the C's defense.
The game was back and forth well into the second quarter but things went sour for the Celtics when the Nets ran off a 14-3 run to close out the half with a double digit lead. If not for Paul Pierce' 13 point points in the 3rd quarter the Net's might have blown the game wide open. There wasn't any flow to the Celtics offense and guys like Jeff Green and Jason Terry just didn't have it.
Green missed on 13 of his 17 shots while Terry went 1 for 7, ouch. These guys have been some of the biggest question marks during different points of the season and games like this aren't encouriging heading into the playoffs. Surprisingly I'm not as worried about Terry considering he's played in his share of playoff games and won't get rattled by the bright lights and big games. Green on the other hand has been a well documented roller coaster his entire career and that type of play will hurt the team in the playoffs. It's true that teams can get hot and march through the playoffs but not if they can't keep their mojo for more than a couple games straight. Green needs to be in his aggressive mindset every game and possession in the playoffs but he hasn't shown that quite yet, the flashes we got were incredible now its up to him to bring that effort on a nightly effort.
Two of those guys scored over 20 pointsone of them grabbed 14 rebounds.
With a player like Bass it's about bringing that type of effort every half. After scoring 10 points in the first half Bass was nowhere to be found. He managed only 3 rebounds which has become the sad reality in many games this season for "The Muscle".
At the other end of the floor power forward Reggie Evans grabbed 14 rebounds and was a presence all night. His style of play has brought the ire of many fans and players but having a guy like Bass who's strong suit isn't rebounding makes you appreciate Evans so much more. His entire career he's just gone out and played hard defense while grabbing a ton of rebounds. That type of mindset is what Bass needs to work towards because not only will he be helping his team but with the offensive capabilities he has his scoring will also benefit with put backs and second chance points.
For now the Celtics are still up 2.5 games on the Bucks and aren't in too much danger of falling down the standings but for the sake of the playoff run need to become more aggressive. The big games they've been working for all year are approaching and this team isn't showing any sense of urgency. I hate to be the negative fan but this team is genuinely starting to scare me with their chances. This Celtics team seems to be too hurt and inconsistent get any type of real momentum which could hurt them come playoff time. They need to find a lineup that can get back some consistency and try to ride that into the playoffs even if that means benching some guys. The road to banner 18 is going to be a tough one and hopefully these guys are ready for it.
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