With a game like this, following a losing skid that has seen the Celtics drop 7 of their past 10 game, it would be easy to blame the injuries to Garnett or any other member of this decimated team but these recent losses are starting to become a cause for concern. The team is limping towards the playoffs and is in danger of losing its position in the seeding. To make matters worse all the momentum they were riding from the Rondo injury is gone and with it possibly the chemistry. The thing that seems to be the most harmful is streaky nature of this team and its players. Many of these guys have gone through stretches where their ineffective shooting the ball and unproductive on the court and some of them (Terry, Lee, Bradley) are going through it now. The playoffs are almost here and the worst way to tackle that challenge is with inconsistency.
The Celtics came out the gate and didn't have their Captain with them, always a troubling sign, and had their recent star Jeff Green get into foul trouble. Both teams made impressive runs and the game was
Jeff Green was outplayed for the first time in a whilewith Thompson's dominating performance
back in forth until the Cavaliers took over in the fourth quarter. Tristan Thompson dominated the entire game inside the paint and had career highs in points and rebounds(29&17). The Celtics had been winning the rebounding margin early on led by Shavlick Randolph's rebounding and surprise offensive outburst. Sadly is in recent games the team wore down and stopped making the right plays.
Avery Bradley's 3-12 shooting didn't indicate he was coming out of his slump and his inability to knock down open shots hurt the team's momentum. The bench wasn't able to spark much momentum either as both Crawford and Terry struggled with their shots.
Their up and down play is concerning as the most important part
of the season approaches and the pressure intensifies.
Crawford's inconsistency continues and his spot in the rotationshould be questioned.
This type of momentum doesn't bode well for an early round matchup with Indiana or New York will test the team and their seasons future so they need to be clicking on all cylinders.
Garnet's return couldn't come sooner as the season is spiraling out of control. The defense isn't playing with as great intensity while heroic performances and isolation plays are being a bigger part of the offense. The team's youth is starting to show more in the game as most these guys want to run and take some questionable shots. Games like tonight show Rondo's importance since his control and imprint on a game could halt the sloppy offense and pick apart the defense.
This team needs to get healthy and play some games down the stretch to regain some chemistry and identity. Garnett and Pierce's leadership are needed and the stretch run is quickly going by.
Personally I hope the Celtics keep the 7th seed and face the Knicks. If the team is healthy and can regain their defensive edge they can frustrate New York and advance in the playoffs. Facing Miami in the condition this teams in while they're streaking like they are would be too much in the first round.
P.S. Paul Pierce naming his son Prince Paul Pierce is the reason I love this guy. If his son isn't playing professional basketball with a name like that it would be a shame. Imagine Tommy calling his shots PRINCE FOR THREE!!!!
[Discuss on CG Forums!]