Ladies and gentlemen, for one quarter tonight, the Boston Celtics were as good a basketball team as you and I would want to see.
After that, not so much.
The Celtics raced out to a 42-23 lead on the Detroit Pistons after just twelve minutes, but then allowed Detroit to outscore them in every quarter thereafter as what could (should?) have been a blowout became a nail-biter, and finally a heart-breaker. Had it not been for the fact that I was watching most of the game with at least one of my three children on the couch next to me, this game might have set some records in the Spalding house for “Most Swear Words Used During A Single Sporting Event.”
Which would also explain why I was relatively quiet on Twitter, as I had nothing but expletives coming to mind for most of the second half.
Let’s start with the obvious: this is not the first time the Celtics have stormed out to a big lead, only to allow an opponent to whittle its way back into the game. Hell, it just happened last Friday:
The Celtics lost a game they should have won. They allowed what happened against the Knicks to happen again, but couldn’t overcome this one
— Hardwood Houdini (@HoudiniCeltics) December 19, 2013
Boston was lucky to pull their butts out of the fire at home against the Knicks . . . but it was the Knicks, who are terrible, so blowing a lead only to come back and win against a team like that is possible. Detroit, on the other hand, actually has a team that will make the playoffs this season, a team that has the talent to make some noise if they can figure out how to play together for a full 48 minutes. When the Celtics built a 21 point lead, they should have continued to pour it on. Instead, they spent the second quarter being sloppy with the basketball (6 of Boston’s 18 turnovers tonight came in the second quarter) and gambling on defense, trying to make highlight-reel plays like steals that lead to breakaway jams, only to be caught woefully out of position as Detroit penetrated and scored in the paint easily. Coach Brad Stevens needs to find a way to keep his team from getting too – cocky? excited? what, exactly? – once they build a big lead, as it only causes them to abandon the style of play that got them the big lead in the first place.
Some people on Twitter were calling this a hard-fought game, which I guess it was; others were saying stuff like, at least the Celtics have fight in them, which I suppose is true . . . but come on: the Celtics should have won this game. I appreciate their fight, but I would also appreciate a team that doesn’t have a giant lull in each and every game. Part of this problem can be blamed on the fact that the Celtics’ true leader and general out on the floor, Rajon Rondo, most likely will be in street clothes until sometime in January. I realy like watching Jared Sullinger play, and I also respect the rest of the Celtics’ starting five, but the Celtics lack true leadership out on the floor right now. So, while I do admire the fact that they fought back and re-took the lead late in the fourth tonight, I’ll never feel like any lead is safe with this team because it just suffers from too many prolonged instances of undisciplined play on both ends of the court.
It was tough loss to swallow, but on the bright side, it is rumored that the Celtics will be making a trade that brings them Houston Rockets big man Omer Ask sometime soon, possibly tomorrow! Make sure you follow us on Twitter – @HoudiniCeltics and @theamazingMrS – or check in to this site regularly to see if anything goes down! Until then, thanks for the read!