What does it take for our Celtics to hold onto a lead?!
An eighteen point lead disappeared quicker than Doc Rivers facing a rebuild. The Celtics got more than enough help from their bench, as rookie Kelly Olynyk finished with a career high in points (21) and field goals made (8). Aside him, reserve big man Kris Humphries recorded season highs with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Courtney Lee was huge as well, scoring 11 points on seven shots. Phil Pressey even got in on the action, as he dished out five assists to control the guard position off the bench. And yes, we even miraculously saw production from Gerald Wallace, chipping in six points. But where were the starters?! Not one starter scored in double figures, as the unit combined to make just 12 baskets on 47 SHOTS! YEAH! That’s terrible, even by baseball standards.
Boston needed much more production from Jared Sullinger, even before he left with an apparent hand injury. Fellow forward Brandon Bass led all starters with nine points, but routinely looked overmatched in the paint and somehow collected only two rebounds. His play could arguably be considered the most detrimental for his defensive effort. Tasked with guarding Paul Millsap, Bass allowed the Atlanta big man to score 34 points and collect 15 rebounds. But even with the offensive struggles, the Celtics were in this one all game, up until the last few minutes. Their run at the end of the third seemed to be enough to clinch the game, but then reappeared in the fourth with absolutely no energy. Once Atlanta shooting guard Kyle Korver caught fire in the fourth, Boston had no answer. Their sloppy play led to foul trouble, which Atlanta turned into scores. The Hawks five point advantage from the charity stripe proved to be the difference down the stretch.
The Celtics recent troubles with holding onto leads is quite quite quite troubling. Brad Stevens is going to need to readjust lineups and make the necessary tweaks to keep these lapses from continuing. The C’s play again Thursday, hopefully they’ll be refocused by then!