The Boston Celtics headed into tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks looking for their third-straight road win. Unfortunately,
the combination of playing a hellacious 19-game schedule in the month of November, playing their second game in as many nights, and getting torched by the backcourt duo of O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight added up to a loss tonight to the Bucks.
Yes, you heard me: it seemed like every time the Celtics were about to make a push that would knot the game up, or had played solid defense and were about to force a turnover or shot clock violation, Brandon Knight (20 points, 8 assists) or O.J. Mayo (22 points on 9-14 shooting) was there to save the Buck’s butts, time and time again. At no point did Boston have an answer for either one of these guys, and man, did they pay for that.
It wasn’t just their lack of containment on Mayo and Knight that hurt the Cs; overall, Boston just didn’t look like the same team that saw all five starters score in double figures last night, or the team that held third-quarter leads against the San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers. This will be a recurring theme all year long, by the way, as this team is more Frankenstein’s monster than the carefully-assembled teams we see in San Antonio, Indiana, Miami, and Oklahoma City. Coach Brad Stevens really has his work cut out for him, trying to figure out which combination of players is going to get results on any given night. Sadly, he didn’t enjoy much success tonight.
The three Celtics stars for tonight’s contest are easy to pick out, as Jared Sullinger led all Boston players with 21 points (although he did commit a terrible turnover late in the fourth that really killed any comeback hopes Boston might have had.) Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford each chipped in 18, but again, neither one looked as good as they did last night. When Jeff Green only takes two free throws in a game, I know it wasn’t the Jeff Green the Boston Celtics need in order to win. The Celts need the Jeff Green who attacks the rim and draws fouls, not the guy who shoots 2-6 from behind the arc. Gotta get to the rack, Jeff.
And don’t even get me started with Boston’s bench. Gah. Check out the +/- for guys coming off the pine: -10 for Keith Bogans, in only 5:37 of playing time. -16 for Vitor Faverani. -20 for Kris Humphries. Oof. Especially on the second game of back-to-backs, Boston has to be able to rely on its bench to give the starters a chance to rest without watching the game slip away. Tonight was not a good showing for Boston’s reserves.
Whether it was dead legs following last night’s game, or just the culmination of a terrible November schedule, the Celtics really fell flat tonight. The good news is, they get a few nights off before facing these Milwaukee Bucks in Boston on December 3, so I expect to see a better effort all around from the Celtics. Hell, I’ll even call it tonight: Boston takes the next contest to extract a little bit of revenge against a team that has already beaten them twice this season. Write that down – I’m not backing away from it! Thanks for the read, and let me know what yo think below!