It’s becoming evident that there is a specific way this team plays when it gets wins. It’s not an exact science, it doesn’t have anything to do with specific play calling or an extreme amount of production out of one specific guy. It has to do with attitude. It has to do with urgency. The Celtic’s have to stay interested.
The Celtic’s previous contest against the 13-26 New Orleans Hornets proves my point exactly. The Celtic’s came out interested and semi- urgent in a game that had plenty of family drama and hype surrounding it, and before we could even take a second to notice, The Celtic’s got bored. They appeared to be playing in a pre-season mindset of sorts just trying to shoot their way out of the little mess they got themselves into in the first place. It became a terribly cold shooting night and a rather disappointing loss especially when ending the streak at home. Here’s a simple formula that the C’s should come out with every game.
Quick and sustained starts- Nice start to New Orleans game, but terrible job of maintaining it. Sure the Hornets are stacked with some young talent but the C’s need to put teams like this away, even if shots aren’t falling the Celtic’s need to get consistent stops and put teams away by getting to the line… which brings us to our next part of the winning formula.
Get to the Line and MAKE Free Throws- In a weird game when offense is hard to come by I want to see Paul Pierce get the herky-jerky going and get himself to the line… He was 1-3 from the line… and 1-8 from beyond the arc. You just can’t keep jacking up three’s to try and bail yourself out in a game like this… another fun fact- C’s were 6-16 from the free throw line as a team. Everyone who shot free throws missed at least 1 except for Courtney Lee who was 2-2. This was a night when overall the Celtic’s played wayyyy too far from the basket, and it cost them.
GET INSIDE- There’s two ways to do this early in a game to establish the paint, either feed Kevin Garnett in his big mouth and let him play close to the basket or send in one of two speed demons Rajon Rondo or Avery Bradley hard to the bucket. This one is simple… you don’t get buckets in the paint- you force yourself to take more jumpers.
Press On- This is a big one. And it’s one part of the formula the Celtic’s should bring night in and night out because they could be better at this than anyone in the league. The full court press. With Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee backing him up the Celtics should make teams start their offense at at least 16 seconds. This is a huge factor in the C’s team defense and also strains the life out of opposing teams guards, unfortunately the young legs of New Orleans played at a pace that made this task harder then it usually is. I’m a firm believer in having AB and Lee on the floor at the same time for short periods of time throughout crucial moments of the game. This duo is a defensive nightmare and should be utilized more. It’s obvious now that Jason Terry’s weakness has been located and diagnosed, almost anyone can get by him.
Overall the C’s need to keep their foot on the throttle and turn the proverbial switch to the on position and keep it there. I see this recent loss as a minor set back but the rest of the NBA isn’t going to wait for the Celtic’s to prove their worth, they have to do it and they have to do it now. It doesn’t get any easier taking on Chicago tonight but whoever said winning championships was easy?
Expect a big game out of number 9 tonight, always seems like he has a field day against the bulls. The formula is there, just can’t let up now.