Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Get used to the No. 2 or 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, the top spot isn't happening this season
Each game gets stranger for the Boston Celtics as they find new and different ways to lose (to bad and average teams) and piss down their legs at the same time.
Rajon Rondo was going to sit for a second straight game last night as they visited the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse. However, at the last second Rondo decided to play and wouldn't you know he put up 22 points and eight assists.
For the first time in weeks, Boston's defense stayed on their team bus while their offense actually carried their weight. It wasn't enough as the Pacers (33-42) beat the Celts (51-22) 107-100.
Nenad Krstic's foul trouble (5) enabled Indiana's center Roy Hibbert (26 points) to go off for a season-high point total. Danny Granger added 18 points, Darren Collison had 17 points and A.J. Price scored 15 points off the bench.
It was great to see Rondo look like himself again, with a quick first step but nice performances from Paul Pierce (23 points) and Glen Davis (20 points off the bench) were overshadowed by a lack of touches for Ray Allen (11 points, 4 for 8) and Kevin Garnett (6 points, 2 for 4 shooting).
The loss was even rougher since Chicago lost to Philadelphia last night, meaning a Boston win would have pulled them to within one game of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics led 33-27 after the first quarter but a horrid second quarter (30-16 for the Pacers) gave Indiana a 57-49 lead. The up and down Cs were great in the third (36-24) but as usual, the wheels came off in the fourth (26-15 Pacers).
Boston shot 54.8% to Indiana's 54.5%. The Pacers made two more 3-pointers (6-4) but the Celtics were rewarded for going to the basket aggressively with 11 more made free throws (28-17). Indiana had seven more rebounds (36-29).
The road trip continues for Boston as they visit the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli all sat out last night so it's doubtful that they'll all return for Thursday night's game. The two teams had a regular season classic the only other time they met, a Celtics win at home in January but it's looking unrealistic that these two older teams have another one of those in the bag during the regular season.