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If You Do Not Score, You Cannot Win
Posted By Michael Johnson On May 11 2011 @ 12:54 am In Boston Celtics | 2 Comments
A lengthy offensive drought, that’s all it took. Anyone who has watched the Celtics since “the trade” could have seen it coming from a mile away. This team just hasn’t been the same offensively. Granted, you have to admire Rondo’s grit and determination. The kid has literally only had one working arm for these past two contests. And as for the collective age of the big three, you can’t knock the effort they’ve put forth. But I refuse to dish out a handful of accolades for this team and remain content as I watch them ride out into the sunset.
This game should have been won by the Celtics. After almost winning game 3 singlehandedly, Kevin Garnett failed to do anything beyond put on his uniform for yesterday’s game. His play down the stretch was atrocious. But then again whose wasn’t? The Celtics only succeeded in making two field goals in the first 8 minutes and 50 seconds of the 4th quarter, and only made one jumper during a 6 minute and 27 second stretch. Not surprisingly, that only field goal was made by Paul Pierce. The Celtics also only netted one bucket during the five minute stretch of overtime, a period they were blessed to reach in the first place. Again, Paul Pierce was responsible for this basket.
Barring some unforeseen miracle, this season is likely over. As I asserted in my previous article, it looks like the class of the NBA is finally on its way out. The Lakers and Celtics are going to have to reshuffle if they want to contend next year in a league that is increasingly young and athletic. Sadly the Celtics seem to be saddled with their present contracts, something that will inhibit them from making moves. They have 55 of their 72 million dollars tied up in the Big 4, three of which look less and less attractive as time moves on. Jeff Green and Big Baby will also be off the books, something that could leave this team in quite the conundrum when it comes to signing reliable bench players (this is nothing new).
Unfortunately in this postseason, neither Green nor Baby performed up to expectations. It’s not like this fact had an overly detrimental effect on the team, because in reality none of our players showed up consistently enough to win when it counted. And as I said earlier, it has all come down to the offense. Throughout the course of this series the Celtics have averaged only 92 ppg, being severely outrebounded in games 2 and 4. These are the same two contests in which the Celtics shut down offensively, going minutes on end without scoring a basket, all the while remaining overly dependent on their defense to get the job done.
Perhaps Miami is just better. Perhaps we are too old. Perhaps the injuries have finally caught up with us. But I refuse to believe any of the above. What I saw were two games that belonged to the green, only to slip right out of their fingertips in the end. Aside from Game 1, the Heat have not displayed the defensive prowess that we saw in the last contest of the regular season. What the Heat have brought to the table is no different than what we expected. Lebron and Wade have been an onslaught on the offensive end, but the rest of the team is nowhere to be found. And just like in previous years, despite the offensive efficiency of these two superstars, the Celtics are right in the thick of it in the final minutes of the game.
What has in fact changed is the C’s continuous motion and selflessness on the offensive end in the clutch. It’s almost as if they think their defense will continue to bail them out despite their indolence on the other end of the court. And there is no better example of what has happened to this team than the last possession in regulation of game 4. After Lebron coughed the ball away on the final possession (what else is new), the Celtics failed to get off the play they wanted. In what was supposed to be a screen set for Ray Allen to take a game winning 3 pointer (a regularity with the Celtics), Ray and KG failed to even move until the last second, bumping into one another, and forcing Pierce to take a contested jumped from 20 feet out. This is a do or die situation in the playoffs, and there are our superstars aimlessly wandering around the court with 5 seconds to go. No matter what the analysts and experts may say about this series, those of us who have watched this team since “the trade” know precisely what is to blame. The offense.
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