Monday, April 28, 2008
CELTICS STARTING TO CHOKE
Losing Game 3 was acceptable. It happens. Complacency against a weaker team, a freakishly good shooting performance by a few individuals and some off nights combine just right to make for an upset. But losing Game 4 last night, and the way it was lost, was simply unacceptable.
The Celtics are in the early stage of choking this series and season away. They need the Heimlich, or perhaps the Heinsohn maneuver, and they need to get back to being the best team in the NBA.
The C's shot out of the gate, up 13-3 less than 3 minutes into the game. But the Celtics fretted that lead away with turnovers, fouls, missed shots, and piss poor defensive effort. By the end of the 1st quarter, Atlanta led 29-24.
Atlanta actually pulled away, but the Celtics gradually reeled them in. By halftime, the Hawks led 51-48. The third quarter was a back and forth struggle, with the C's pulling away at the end and leading 75-65 going into the 4th. But the final period was a disaster for Boston.
The Celtics started off the 4th by going 1 for 10 from the field, which allowed Atlanta to regain the lead 86-80 with 3 minutes to go. To make matters worse, the Celtics were 2 of 4 from the line until that point. The C's desperately needed some stops, but every Atlanta possession from the 2:00 mark on ended with either free throws or a field goal.
Atlanta played great. The last two games they've played at about 105% of their ability. And the Celtics played at 85% of their ability. Which isn't good enough.
Look at the game's boxscore, and you find see the 5 or 6 points the Celtics needed in order to win. 10 for 18 from the charity stripe. 0 points from Cassell, 0 from House, 0 from Davis, only 13 from the bench. 12 for 23 from three is good, but that's too many shots from beyond the arc. Only 41.2% from the field.
But Atlanta's stats are where you can really see how Boston lost. 47.8% shooting from the field. 29 for 33 from the line. 8 blocked shots.
The Celtics need to get back to basics and resume playing their formidable team defense which got them to where they are. It's now a best of 3 series, but Atlanta has momentum, and even worse, they have confidence.
Seeing Ted Turner happy makes me puke in my mouth.
Game 5 is Wednesday night.
AP Photo/John Bazemore