The dust has finally settled from the fallout of Friday night’s heart-breaking loss the Boston Celtics suffered at the hands of the Milwaukee
Bucks, so I figured it was time to examine the game from an objective standpoint and see what we could learn from the game.
In my eyes, there are two huge lessons that the Celtics should be mindful of us they prepare for future contests in the NBA. One lesson is actually quite uplifting, while the other . . . eh, not so much – yet.
First Lesson: The Boston Celtics will win many games if they push the tempo and play as a team.
For a team that is not expected to win many games or score a lot of points this year (at least, not until Rajon Rondo returns), the Celtics looked pretty damn competitive and more than capable of putting up points as they stormed out the gates to score 16 of the game’s first 20 points, and ended the first half with 63 on the scoreboard. Boston needs to watch an awful lot of video from the first half of Friday night’s game, to hammer into their collective thoughts the team’s recipe for success. Get out and run. Share the ball. Help out of defense and on the glass. Attack and don’t ever let up. Had the Cs played the same unselfish, up-tempo game in the second half, they would have topped 110 points and absolutely crushed the Bucks. This team would do well to focus on the stellar first half they played and seek to recreate that style and tempo for a full game from now on.
Second Lesson: The Boston Celtics will lose many games as long as they lack a true ball-handler.
When the Celtics were getting out and running, wreaking havoc all over the hardwood, the Milwaukee Bucks did not have a chance to get their defense set. As a result, the Celtics didn’t need to worry much about who was handling the ball. The same could not be said for the second half of the game, especially the fourth quarter, and that’s when the Celtics’ glaring lack of someone who can be counted on to protect and distribute the rock came back to haunt them. The perfect example is when the Celtics had just fallen behind by one point and were clearly in danger of letting a win slip away. Coach Brad Stevens had just called timeout, and Boston came out and tried to run a play with Gerald Wallace handling the ball. Wallace promptly lost the ball, and the Celtics lost the game shortly after. When the Celtics needed to rely on half-court sets, they had difficulty making entry passes and getting the ball to the open man. This problem will continue to hurt Boston until either Brad Stevens gives Phil Pressey a chance to play the point, or until Rajon Rondo returns, because the players that Stevens’ is currently playing at point guard are not reliable ball handlers.
For the time being, then, the Boston Celtics need to try and play a chaotic, up-tempo game in which they share the ball freely and consistently refuse to allow their opponents’ to make it a half-court game. Once the Celtics take their foot of of the pedal, they will struggle to run their offense and will find themselves hanging their heads just as they did in the TD Garden Friday evening.