The scoring was balanced last night, but resting Kevin Garnett, a wise move for the future of this difficult road trip, proved costly in last night’s game.
Things will not get easier tonight, as Boston heads to Los Angeles, to take on what is expected to be a motivated Lakers team, following the blow out loss in the last match up and playing in their first game since the death of Jerry Buss.
The first key for the Celtics is defense. One of the team’s most impressive wins this season came in New York, where the team was able to dictate the pace of the game, by establishing their defensive identity. In tough road environments, this is very hard to do. Yet, it is exactly what the team needs to do, if they are to earn a victory tonight.
The second key is limiting dry spells. While yesterdays down fall had a lot to do with resting Garnett, it was the dry spells that hurt Boston more than anything else. Aside from Courtney Lee’s second quarter buzzer beater, the Celtics did not end one quarter on a positive note; and even that quarter ended with a bad stretch.
At the end of the game, the team again failed to muster up any offense and thus begin the road trip with a loss.
While it is unrealistic to not expect this team to have lapses, especially on the road, the key is limiting those. Playing bad for the final six minutes of a quarter completely negates what you did in the first six minutes. If Doc Rivers feels that the team is getting sluggish, whether it be a time out or substitutions, changes have to be made. He must have his finger on the pulse of not just his team, but on the game itself.