Relax. It was only one game. Luckily, there are 81 games left. Sure, some guys didn’t play well, but overall this was a complete team loss. Let’s call this loss a result of first night jitters, and the team having their minds occupied by other things.
So, what went wrong.
The Celtics were outgunned and outrun. They were beaten in every facet of the game by a talented Heat team. The biggest issue in general was that the defense failed. A few days ago, Doc Rivers said the team’s defense has ways to go and judging from this game, it sure as hell does.
For a team that has prided themselves with having a stingy and suffocating defense, tonight it looked to have more holes in it then Swiss cheese. It isn’t easy to stop LeBron James. In fact, no one really can.
Tonight the Celtics allowed him to get easy baskets, especially in transition. The Celtics are usually pretty good in transition, but LeBron loves even more. It’s a way to get easy baskets by running and gunning. He did it a several times while the Celtics defense was regrouping and got some dunks that got the Heat fans going crazy.
While LeBron had his way with the defense, Dwyane Wade cooked both Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. Wade led the Heat with 29 points, while Ray Allen dropped an additional 19 points against his former team. Not a good defensive showing by the Celtics’ shooting guards.
Jeff Green’s defense was atrocious as well. He allowed Rashard Lewis, RASHARD LEWIS, to score and pull down rebounds. Green still has a lot to learn when it comes to defense. Hopefully tonights
The one thing that seems to ring true whenever these two teams play is Chris Bosh and the way he handles Garnett. It seems Bosh is just too talented for Garnett to handle. During the playoffs from the past season, Bosh turned the Eastern Conference Finals around when he came back from an abdominal injury with a deadly jumpshot and the ability to get into the paint. Like Allen, Bosh dropped in 19 points and had 10 rebounds.
Tonight was one of the worse defensive showings the Celtics have put on since Garnett arrived in 2007. In fact, the Celtics have only allowed 120+ points three other times during that timeframe. It was clearly a bad game.
Turnovers killed this team too. Garnett had five, Rajon Rondo had four and Terry had three. Unacceptable. Turnovers against teams like the Heat will always result in a basket.
The bench scoring was also so-so. Jared Sullinger did absolutely nothing, but you’d expect that from a rookie whose first NBA game is against the reigning world champs. Terry was basically a no show as well. In 25 minutes, he had three fouls, three turnovers and just eight points. Like I mentioned earlier, his defense wasn’t good as well. It was clearly a forgettable performance.
Green was also absent on offense like he was on defense. In 23 minutes, he didn’t make one shot and had just three points, courtesy of some free throws. Green looked like the Green from the half season he played with the Celtics after he was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011, where he looked lost and undecided. Hopefully, tonight was just a bad game for the $36 million man.
Garnett was a non-factor for most of the night too. He did pull down 12 rebounds, but he was in foul trouble for most of the game.
There were a few positives that came out of the game.
Leandro Barbosa, who was literally signed off the street a week ago, led the bench with 16 points in 16 minutes. He shot 6-8 from the field and made all three of his 3-pointers. His speed and shooting ability kept the Heat on their toes and if it wasn’t for him, then this game wouldn’t have gotten to within four points near the end. Solid, solid game for him.
Lee did alright, he scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting. Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring 23 points and had a good all-around game despite shooting 6-15 from the field.
Rondo was close to another triple-double on national TV, but he finished with 20 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. The numbers were good, but it wasn’t one of his best games. His emotions got the best of him to a point where he was close to getting thrown out. He even gave Wade a flagrant foul that might result in a fine from the league. It was a Jekyll and Hyde game for Rondo.
The best player on the floor was Brandon Bass. Every game is giving him more and more confidence. He had 15 points on 6-11 shooting with 11 rebounds and just one turnover. He did everything great. After the game, Rivers even said he played great.
All in all, I call this game a pancake game. When you make pancakes, the first one always has filling in it. But after you make the first one, the next few don’t have batter in it, and you end up getting used to making them until they come out perfect. That’s the Celtics right now. This team will figure things out within the next several games and a repeat of tonight’s performance should be common. It was just a poorly played game.