It’s not really a fair fight as the Boston Celtics, now losing six games in a row and making offense look like a root canal operation at the dentist, play against the Indiana Pacers. Best team in the league? Their 11-1 record serves as some proof, as Paul George continues to play like a superstar, leading his team to a 97-82 victory.
The Celtics did shoot 50.1% from the field, but they also turned the ball over 21 times. Great teams don’t play great 48 minutes. They let their pray think its safe, and then have their way with them for one quarter that settles everything. For the Pacers, it was the third, limiting the Celtics to only 8 points, and shutting down Jordan Crawford who had his way with 8-of-8 from the field, scoring 19 points in the first half.
Coaches don’t talk about tactics and gameplans. They love talking about intensity and effort. No one likes revealing his cards and tricks, although sometimes it sounds like anyone without any knowledge in basketball, who only knows about motivating people, can do the job. The Pacers didn’t look sluggish or sleepy in the first half, but they did need a good kick in the behind to play like the title-contenders they are.
Paul George finished with 27 points and David West added 17 as the best Forward duo in the league continued to play wonderfully on both ends of the floor. West is actually the better decision maker than George, and the attention he and Roy Hibbert force upon themselves makes it so much easier for Geroge, who is a much smarter and more patient player than he was two years ago, to play like one of the best in the NBA.
Lance Stephenson not becoming a sixth man thanks to Danny Granger once again picking up an injury is working for the best. He had his second triple double of the season (the only player with more than one so far) with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, adding 4 steals as well. A player who feeds so much on energy and intensity, Stephenson is playing a lot calmer this year after having too many ups & downs during the playoffs, especially on the road.
In his 6 seasons with Butler University, Brad Stevens only recorded 49 total losses, including postseason. Right now, after a 4-10 start, he’s on pace to lose 58 times this season. Playing smart basketball doesn’t really matter when the talent and on-court intelligence isn’t there. If Stevens is actually the man the Celtics believe will succeed with them in the future, they have to let him plow through this terrible squad assembled for him, hopefully turning things around by the end of the next offseason.
Frank Vogel – Our starters, as a unit, have a gear defensively that they can reach that’s pretty special. They hit that in the third and took control of the game. We need to come out and destroy teams early. We can’t rely on the second half to win the game.