Oct 15, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center. The Sixers defeated the Celtics 107-75. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
In the four games played so far this preseason, turnovers have been a major concern, and last night was no different. The Celtics have always been known to have a high number of turnovers per game, but so far this preseason, it’s the types of turnovers that should concern many fans. Tommy Heinsohn on CSNNE suggested that the sloppy play had to do with the lack of chemistry on the court. This may be due to all the different lineups that Doc Rivers is experimenting with.
Last night, turnovers were the main cause of a fourteen point deficit going into halftime. I’m not taking anything away from the 76ers, but turning the ball over thirteen times in a half gave Philadelphia the opportunity to run on the fast break and get more offensive possessions. Miscommunication and careless passes consecutively on the offense took Boston right out of rhythm, and it was easy to tell that some of the players weren’t on the same page.
As I suggested, it could be due to all the different lineups Doc Rivers is going with. One lineup that should have worked offensively was one that consisted of: Jared Sullinger at center, Brandon Bass at power forward, Jeff Green at small forward, Paul Pierce at shooting guard, and Rondo playing point guard. That lineup didn’t work that well, and maybe their turnover woes have something to do with Kevin Garnett not playing last night.
In preseason games, this is usually the time to experiment, and it’s possible that Rivers is looking at what lineups work best. But last night, it wasn’t just the second unit that turned the ball over, the starters didn’t help either, with Pierce and Rondo combining for eight turnovers.
Lack of defense
Turnovers weren’t the only reason why Boston got blown out. Lack of defense allowed the 76ers to dominate the paint. Just like with careless passes, lack of communication on the defense resulted in wide open shots for Philadelphia. Spencer Hawes found himself open on a number of occasions, which was just one of the instances in which Boston failed to rotate off screens. When leaving big men open, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Philadelphia had 52 points in the paint.
It’s only the preseason, but last night raises a lot of concern heading forward. The preseason is halfway over and by now, some of the issues should be already addressed and almost resolved.
There really wasn’t much to be optimistic about after last night’s game. Hopefully, it was just one of those nights that Boston wasn’t really up for the game. In the first half, Paul Pierce didn’t even look like he cared and when your captain isn’t into it, the rest of the team will usually reflect how the leader carries himself.
Personally, none of the players who are going to get significant playing time during the season played hard, and they could just be coasting through the preseason. Doc Rivers even stated that he doesn’t care about the score or the outcome of the games played, he’s more concerned about opening night when they face the Miami Heat. It’s been expected that the Celtics will rest some of their starters in a few of the remaining four games.
In the next two weeks heading into the regular season, I’d like to see the Celtics operate better both offensively and defensively. Throughout the preseason, Boston has tried pushing the tempo, but maybe going back to a half court offense will limit turnovers, give the Celtics time to set up the offense, and give Rondo time to make better decisions instead of rushing passes. Defense is something that will get better with chemistry. Not playing as a cohesive unit will surely end up with the opponent making wide open shots and uncontested layups.