By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
The Motor City Drives Past The Celtics
BOSTON — The Celtics played well early against the Detroit Pistons, but, in the end, Detroit proved to be the better team as Motown handed the Celtics their second loss in as many games.
Celtic captain Paul Pierce (22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) once again put the team on his shoulders and did what was necessary to keep the Green in the game, but Detroit went on a 17 to 4 run with five minutes remaining in the game to secure the 101-88 victory in Boston.
Wally Szczerbiak once again was the Cs #2 scorer with 18 points (8-for-13 from the field, 1-for-2 from the deep end).
“I thought at halftime, we should have been ahead by 10 or 12 points,” said Celtic coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers after the game. “Against a veteran team like this, you just let them hang around, and, eventually, you’re asking for trouble and I thought we did.”
CelticNation must agree that the Motor City Pistons cannot be used as a barometer to measure the talent of the Beantown Celtics because the Pistons are a veteran team who are only two years removed from an NBA championship while the Celtics are one of the youngest teams in the League.
The Truth and Wally World are going to give the same effort that they did against the Hornets on Wednesday and again against Detroit for the rest of the NBA season, but other players are going to have to be just as consistent if the Celtics expect to participate in post season play.
The Emerald Al Jefferson played much better and much more aggressive than he did opening night as he contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, and we can only hope that he steps it up just a little bit more in the remaining 80 games of the regular season. “I’m just going out there doing my job,” said The Emerald.
“Doc explained what he wants out of me, and I just got to do that. That’s my job and I’m just going to go out there and do that.” Jefferson still has a lot of work to do on the defense, but his offensive game is potent enough to keep him on the court and give CelticNation some hope.
Rip Hamilton scorched the Celtics with a game-high 27 points (10-for-18 from the field, 2-for-2 from the deep end, and a perfect five from the charity stripe), and Chauncey Billups added 20 points and 10 assists against the team that drafted him.
Defense was still an issue, but the deciding factor was the Cs lack of aggression in the second half. Detroit let up a lot of points from inside during the first half, but locked it up in the second half…or maybe the Celtics settled for too many outside shots in the second half.
The Green finished with 20 free throw attempts, converting 15 of them, but did not make a single trip to the charity stripe in the 3rd quarter and only went to the line twice in the fourth quarter, converting 3 out of 4 – and that was early in the 4th quarter.
“I thought we settled (in the second half) over and over again with jump shots,” said Doc Rivers after the game. “We just got to learn. I used Detroit as an example after the game. We get Al (Jefferson) going then we don’t go to him a couple of times. We get Paul (Pierce) going and we go away from him”.
“I said, ‘The difference between us and them is that they see that.’ Detroit gets Rip going and they go back to Rip. So that’s something our guards have to see better. And I got to do a better job of getting them to see it.”
Another interesting stat: Detroit scored 40 points in the paint and added another 19 points off of Celtic turnovers.
Again, Detroit should not be used as a barometer to measure the talent of the Celtics, but CelticNation can use today’s game against the Wizards in Washington to determine how good (or bad) they really are at this point in the season.
“I know we are a good team,” said Al Jefferson. “Games like this are going to make us keep working. It’s going to make us be humble. So we just got to stick together and fight it out.”