Found February 25, 2013 on
Blazers 92, Celtics 86
After blowing away the competition in Phoenix on Friday night, the Celtics (29-27) came crashing back to earth with a tough loss against the Blazers (26-30). Kevin Garnett returned after taking a game off to rest, and Paul Pierce played extremely well (23 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists), but the new-look C’s were unable to close it out against a Blazers squad that had lost seven straight coming into Sunday night’s contest. Boston has now lost three of their last four and are 5.5 games behind the Knicks in the Atlantic Division. They have a chance to end their post All-Star break road trip with a win as they travel to Utah for a tilt with the Jazz on Monday night (9 p.m. ET).
West coast road trips have been challenging for this team, but considering the fact that they lost three consecutive games by an average of 23 points on their last trip to the Pacific time zone, these three losses seem comparatively easy to swallow. They played a surging Nuggets team down to the wire, dropped the second half of a back-to-back to a desperate Lakers squad, and on Sunday night they couldn’t earn a tough road victory at a notoriously rowdy Rose Garden Arena. These losses are nothing to sneeze at, and they may help a roster that is clearly in a transitional phase come together over the final months of the season.
Don’t forget that help is on the way. Boston signed D.J. White to a 10-day contract and he should be able to play as soon as his paperwork arrives from the Franchise that he was playing for in the Chinese League. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has also indicated that he will fill the remaining available roster spot with another big man, and the Celtics front office has a long list of candidates that they are apparently deciding between.
However, the group that is in place right now is simply not built to win a slow-paced basketball games. Bringing in Jordan Crawford and Terrence Williams looks great as long the C’s are able to run past their opponents, but once the game slows down, they struggle on both sides of the ball.
Playing small lineups presents difficulties when it comes to finishing defensive possessions with a rebound, but the offensive limitations of Boston’s current personnel packages surfaced against a Portland team that is 20th in the league in pace (91 possessions per 48 minutes according to Basketball-Reference’s metrics). Right now, spacing is a glaring problem for this team in a half court setting. When they play three guards along with Jeff Green and Garnett, there isn’t enough movement on or off the ball to get those guards clean looks on a consistent basis.
Paul Pierce was able to offset these issues by torching the Blazers at the start of the second half with a vintage array of step-backs and drives to the basket. Yet when he checked out of the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the C’s offense sputtered and never really recovered. They were held without a field goal for five straight minutes as the Blazers opened up an eight-point lead.
Boston was able to fight back and tie the game at 84 before their defensive shortcomings came to the forefront. So often in the NBA, defense prowess amounts to a team’s ability to guard the pick-and-roll. With such a short lineup on the floor, Doc Rivers exhorted his players to ‘pull-in’ against the Blazers’ pick-and-roll, and this left them exposed to the biggest shot of the night. One possession after Damian Lillard broke the deadlock with a strong drive to the bucket, the Celtics’ vulnerable D pulled in to prevent another easy hoop. With the defense on it’s heels, Wesley Matthews was able to create enough space off and he buried his fifth three of the game after a nifty step-back move.
Defensive lapses will continue to haunt the C’s as they become more comfortable playing with each other. This is essentially a new team, and understanding the complicated defensive concepts that Coach Rivers designs and Garnett delineates on the court will take time. If the adversity of this road trip helps this squad become more cohesive over the upcoming months, then perhaps a silver lining can be found in their defeats.
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Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump
“These are guys that I can’t imagine giving those numbers out to anybody else,” Grousbeck said on WEEI. Grousbeck called Pierce the “linchpin” of the Celtics’ success during his tenure, which predates...
The Boston Celtics have retired more jersey numbers than any other professional sports team in the USA with a count of 21. And according to co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, it looks like both #34 and #5 will be added to the rafters when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett retire in the near future.
In an interview with WEEI.com, Grousbeck said this about Pierce:
“We’re going to retire...
The Blazers had lost seven straight going into tonight’s game, but Wesley freakin’ Matthews made sure that’s where the streak would end. The C’s got big games out of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but those two didn’t get a ton of help. They drop a very winnable game 92-86.
The Truth came to play. After early foul trouble, Pierce carried the Celtics and...
As if there were really any doubt, Celtics fans can rest assured that No. 34 and No. 5 will indeed hang from the rafters of the TD Garden one day, along with the numbers worn by rest of the Celtics’ all-time greats.
Wyc Grousbeck, managing partner and co-owner of the Celtics, confirmed Tuesday that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, future Hall of Famers who helped bring a 17th NBA...
Celtics 110, Jazz 107 (OT)
Five games in seven nights. A marathon of basketball and travel that would even leave young players exhausted. The Celtics (30-27) key players, however, are not young, and were certainly not happy when the final game of their west coast road trip went into overtime on Monday night. But these are professionals, and even though he was too exhausted to celebrate...
Highlights from the Boston Celtics' 110-107 overtime victory over the Utah Jazz above, box score below. Paul Pierce was the leading scorer for the Celtics with 26 points.
Boston Celtics 110, Utah Jazz 107 - FINAL - Overtime - February 25, 2013
Boston Celtics (30-27)
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he could tell that the 36-year-old Garnett hasn’t been the same since a triple-overtime victory over Denver on Feb. 10. Garnett played 47 minutes in that game.
The Celtics played...
Before I went to check the Jazz forums, I predicted that the bulk of the talk would be on three things: Horrible officiating at times and the fact that Celtics fans' cheers were quite audible, garnished with some OT hate on Paul Pierce. What I've seen though was a fan base that hated their coach and mocked their players for pages in a way that's quite funny. Almost zero...
The young guns, specifically Avery Bradley, kept the C’s in this one, and the vets finished it off. Despite weary legs and some lapses in defense, Boston gets a gutsy 110-107 win in OT in Utah. Paul Pierce took the game over late, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot in the 4th and the OT. Pierce was 3 of 3 in overtime, and 5 of 9 for 55% in the 4th & OT. His partner in...
Not getting easier
The Portland Trail Blazers have lost seven straight games, and while the Boston Celtics aren’t what they used to be, they’re still a tough opponent for a young Rip City squad.
Matchup: Portland (25-30) vs. Boston Celtics (29-26)
Venue: Rose Garden
Time: 6:00 PM PT
Date: Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013
The playoffs are becoming less and less likely with each grueling...
The Boston Celtics sat Kevin Garnett Saturday and still easily defeated the Phoenix Suns -- thanks to Jeff Green.
The fifth-year forward dominated, making 11-of-14 shots, including three 3-pointers, for 31 points. He added a full stat line of seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and five blocks in 39 minutes. It was a dominant performance, but one that we've come to expect...
Zach Randolph does not have a reputation for being a nice guy on the court. He is especially unkind to opposing big men who stand between him and the hoop.
The Grizzlies forward does have respect for a select few true low-post players, which he thinks are a dying breed in the NBA. Randolph joined Bill Simmons of Grantland for an interview that touched on many topics, including which...
This could have been a good win for the Celtics had a couple shots fallen their way late in the fourth quarter but the ball just didn't bounce their way tonight. Wesley Matthews was big all night and hit a barrage of shots from long range to keep the Celtics at bay all game. Tommy Heinsohn noted at halftime that this was a game he thought the Celtics would win claiming all the...
Kevin Garnett sat out Friday night (DNP – old and tired) and Jeff Green finally got his chance to start. Doing the best KG impression he could muster, he tore up Los Suns with a season-high 31 points and added 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 5 blocks. Oh, hello there! What did you say your name was? I don’t believe we’ve met. They traded you for who–Kendrick Perkins...
I don't know about you guys, but I am quickly moving on from tonight's loss in Portland. In my opinion, it was a loss that was bound to happen. I could care less about it. Tomorrow night they will visit the Jazz in the final game of their road trip. Here are the five things they must do to win in Utah:
5. HAVE BRADLEY GET HOT:
Avery Bradley has slowly gotten more and more...