Well, Hardwood Houdini readers, should I start with the good news or the bad news?
Ah, what the hell! I’m a bad news first kind of guy; get it out of the way and end with the good stuff, I like to say!
So here’s your bad news: the Celtics lost tonight. Maybe you picked that up from the title of this post. The third and fourth quarters saw the Spurs pick the Cs apart with precision passes and timely three-point shooting, resulting in San Antonio taking control of a game that was tied 48-all at the end of the first half. It may not have been fun to watch as a fan of the Boston Celtics, but as a fan of basketball in general, watching the Spurs find the open man time after time again was a sight to behold. There’s a reason why we should all expect to see San Antonio sitting near the top of the Western Conference standings yet again when the regular season comes to an end: every player on this team is 100% committed to playing solid team basketball, to the point where players pass up good shots in order to create a great shot. Seriously, I hate to see Boston lose, but when you face a team as good as San Antonio, you just sort of smile and say, “Damn, those guys are good.”
Anyway, that’s the bad news. There IS good news though; a lot, actually, considering this game wound up being the Celtics’ fifth-straight loss.
1. It was a great bounce-back effort following the butt-whooping in Houston.
After getting lit up for 40 points in the first quarter last night, the Celts could have retreated inside themselves and gotten destroyed tonight. Instead, they fought the Spurs tooth-and-nail in the first half, and even responded to a Spurs’ run that put the Celtics down 12 in the middle of the third period. Boston came out with the intent to win this game; they simply lost to yet another team that is just better than them – but at least they made the Spurs earn it.
2. The good Jeff Green returned.
Look: there are many teams that the Celtics can beat in this league IF they get solid production out of their key players. Jeff Green is number one on the list of players Boston needs to see solid minutes from every single night. His last two games have been absolute turds, but tonight he dropped 19 on San Antonio. tying him with three other players for the game high. When Jeff Green is looking to get his shot, the Celtics are going to find themselves in an awful lot of games.
3. Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger are ballers.
Sullinger had a double-double in the first half, everyone, and finished with 19 pts, and 17 boards. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley continues to let his play scream, “Don’t ever put me at the point again!” He, too, scored 19, including some tough shots that had me on my feet. If the Celtics can get Rajon Rondo back some time soon, playing at even 75% . . . that will be fun to watch.
At the end of the night, a loss is a loss – the Celtics just are not good enough to beat the best teams in the leagues, and you know this – but it was a good game to watch, and a tantalizing glimpse of the not-too-distant future. Thanks for the read, and share your thoughts on the Boston Celtics below, or @theamazingMrS!