By Fred Jones and Joey Balzotti
Avery Bradley has missed 22 of the celts last 23 games, and man is it nice to see him back on the floor. His impact offensively and defensively for this team is undeniable. But, his restricted minutes forced the Celtics to look elsewhere. Jaylen Brown was having success penetrating and kicking out, and Al Horford, although rusty down low, made a few moves down on the block that led to points.
First half play was a little lackluster in my opinion, turning the ball over, missing wide open shots and shooting just 38% from the field. It also didn’t help that Isaiah’s shot was off, and couldn’t draw many fouls at all. In games like these, when our shots aren’t falling, it’s essential that we find a different way of scoring. I hate to say it, but teams are starting to realize how to guard the Little Guy, which can open up more options. A guy like Andrew Bogut would help immensely on the glass, and would also allow for Al Horford to stretch the floor more.
Emotions flared up in the second half, all starting with Dwight Howard grabbing IT from behind, just before he shoved Al Horford after the whistle within the next minute. Fortunately, the C’s began to shift their view from a perimeter game. Howard was ejected with just over 4 minutes left in the third quarter, for getting his second technical foul for an excessive celebration on the rim. Right as the fans were getting loud, the Celts failed to capitalize while the crowd was in it. More of the first half action happened throughout the game. Starters failed to show up much. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was falling for the C’s. It’s just one of those games where you sort of have to accept the loss.
I’ll tell you what though, Jaylen Brown, the lone star in this game, is going to be so fun to watch. He was the only guy who could put up a shot at the end, and you could think; “Hey, that might actually go in!” I’m not worried yet. Although the Celtic killer himself, DeMar DeRozan, hit a game winner in MSG, the Raptors remain 2.5 games back from us. Mark my words, you won’t see another game like this against any team for the rest of the season. The C’s are mad, and once they get back into their groove, I know they’re going to be hard to beat. I’d like to see a rematch with the Hawks in the playoffs. Although it may seem like they have our number, a healthy, well rested Celtics lineup this year will almost never disappoint.