Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
The Boston Celtics have had a string of games where consistency is productive, but then there is that inconsistency, like the recent second half complications.
Doc Rivers’ team has always been accustomed to playing and preaching all four quarters, but in this series against the New York Knicks, they have struggled to compete the whole 48 minutes.
In Tuesday’s game, the C’s had a terrific start in leading the home team 48-42 at the half, as well as leading 53-49 in Saturday’s matinee, but when 12 minutes went back on the clock, it seemed as though someone pressed the reset button.
On Saturday, Boston’s bench displayed absolutely no production from either end of the court after producing a total of four points while shooting 0-for-7 from the field and only grabbing — mind you — six rebounds. Even without Tyson Chandler on the floor, the Celtics have struggled to find a foundation in the paint to gain more possessions.
Paul Pierce, who has been the C’s anchor in recent games, needs assistance. At 35 years old, the body can only take in so many blows and energy. With that, players like Jason Terry, who went 0-for-4 on Saturday, Avery Bradley, Kevin Garnett, Chris Wilcox, Jordan Crawford and most importantly Courtney Lee, need to start playing basketball.
Lee, a defensive-oriented guard throughout the 2013 season, has been silent due his lack there of defensive awareness and inefficiency to shoot the three ball. If the Celtics need a boost from a player, currently Lee is not the answer to that phone call, Jeff Green and Crawford are.
Green, a well-established player in the NBA, posted a team-high 26 points on Saturday, but on Tuesday it went a little different. The four-year swingman, who only posted 10 points and one rebound in Tuesday’s game, was missing shots, but good ones at that. A great scorer like Green will bounce back from insufficiency.
On the other side of the court, Crawford, who posted 10 points and two steals, took over the third quarter closing the gap to nine points. But as time dwindled down and the Knicks came out pouring in the fourth, little hope was warranted.
The Celtics throughout the 2013 regular season were an average team after Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger went down with season-ending injuries. And I for one, was one of those people who said the C’s are better off without Rondo, but as many of us know that is completely wrong.
The ball distribution was and is too much without an initial ball handler, and Tuesday’s Game 2 was evident after the C’s registered 19 percent from the field. The troubling shooting percentage was in part of last-second shot selections and 11 turnovers, which makes up for the great defensive performance by Mike Woodson’s club.
Carmelo Anthony and the old Knicks, have not been a defensive-minded team, but ever since Woodson took over the reigns of heading coach duties for Mike D’Antoni, the Knicks have been dominating the paint with block shots, as well as picking off passes in the backcourt. The Knicks security around the court has held the C’s to record a 39.3 field goal percentage.
If the Celtics keep up the inconsistency and the Knicks lockdown defensively, the green team could find a vacation spot soon rather than later.