One would think that after Saturday’s lackluster effort in Chicago where the Celtics were handled 90-79 by the Bulls, that the Celtics would be ready to pummel the Rockets on Monday night. One would think…
The Rockets entered the game without the services of leading scorer Kevin Martin, big man Brad Miller, and a hobbling Aaron Brooks. Not to mention they were losers of 5 straight games. So what do all of those detractors mean for the Celtics? A loss of course. In what was the definition of a “trap game” the Celtics were outplayed, out shot, and out hustled on their way to their 2nd consecutive loss 108-102.
Before I rehash some of the ugly details let me say that Houston was stellar in their effort and let’s be honest, the Rockets were not going to lose the remaining games on their schedule. They had to win again sometime and often when a team is without their best player unexpectedly they usually rise to the occasion initially. Unfortunately for the Celtics this was that initial effort from the Rockets where they relied on sheer emotion and fight.
Aaron Brooks hit contested jumper after contested jumper to finish with 24pts and 5-8 from beyond the arc. Kyle Lowry broke out of 3-23 shooting slump and fancied his way to 17pts and 8ast on 4-9 shooting. The Celtics obviously didn’t read the scouting report and left Chase Budinger open much of the first half and he finished with 13pts on 5-6 shooting. Patrick Patterson finished with 10pts and 4ast on 5-6 shooting. Every time he passed the ball somebody seemed to score. Do you sense a theme here? With 5:20 left in the 4th quarter the Rockets had shot 67% in the half up to that point. Absurd. They finished the game 10-20 from 3 and with 53% shooting overall from the floor.
This loss was reminiscent of the loss suffered to the Thunder on November 19 when they came to Boston without their Kevin, Durant that is. The same old Celtic deficiencies reared their ugly heads tonight; complacency, lack of rebounding, and offensive stagnation when Rondo rested. The Celtics again lacked energy and played the first half as if they were in a summer scrimmage game. No sense of urgency, no desire to keep a bad team down and say “Your losing streak will not end in our house”. Instead the Celtics allowed offensive rebounds by the Rockets on the few shots they did miss, couldn’t score with Nate Robinson running the show, and had to rely on Marquis Daniels as the go-to-option on offense for most of the 4th quarter (he had a season high 19). Team Green ho-hummed their way through the game until they were down 11 with just under 4 minutes left to play. Then suddenly the game became real, but it was already too late.
The loss puts the Celtics firmly in 2nd place behind the soaring Miami Heat with the streaking offensive attack of Orlando close behind. A match-up with Orlando looms in the distance next week Monday on MLK. The Celtics will have two games against seemingly inferior competition (Sacramento and Charlotte) before they meet the Magic next week. The Celtic’s Kevin (Garnett) hopes to be back against the Kings and could very well provide some of the emotional spark the C’s have been lacking. One would think these next two games are just what the Celtics need to get back on track. One would think. I hope Team Green sees how that thinking worked out tonight.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com