Friday, May 23, 2008
The Celtics have been under pressure to go on the road and play the way they've played at home. They did the opposite Thursday night. Sluggish defense down the stretch, absolutely retarded fouls, nobody wanting to step up and take the big shot, confused plays in the paint, and so on.
Rajon Rondo had a great night statistically, and that's about it. He had 10 points, 9 boards, and 8 assists. But he looked confused. He seemed afraid to take a shot when given an open look. Other times, he'd drive to the hoop, only to make a low percentage pass back to the outside. And could someone PLEASE spend a day with him and teach him the proper (and smooth) way to lay the ball up?
With Rondo's confusion, Sam Cassell's shoot first ask questions later mentality, and Eddie House's inability to get the ball past half-court, this team is sorely lacking dependability at the point guard position. And that's a major concern.
Pierce and KG were great, and if it weren't for them, this game would have been a walk for Detroit. Pierce had 26, KG had 24, to go with 13 rebounds. Jesus Shuttlesworth finally resurrected as Ray Allen shot 9 of 16 (2 of 4 for 3), and finished with 25 points.
But scoring points wasn't the problem. As the game unfolded, so did the Celtics' defense. Even when they played well for 20 seconds on defense, all a Detroit shooter had to do was make an up-fake, and he'd get an open shot. And the lack of hustle down the stretch was infuriating.
But this isn't the end of the world. The Celtics won in Auburn Hills earlier in the season, they can do it again. Ray Allen is back. And if the C's can stop committing dumb fouls at half court, and being so gullible for the upfake, they'll win one or two in Detroit.
Game 3 is Saturday night.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images