Best of Three…
…and am I changing my mind on Washington four games to two?
I assure you, this is not an overreaction to the C’s getting trounced in Games 3 and 4 in Washington. But those games certainly don’t help.
In reality, the Wizards should be up 3 games to 1 right now. They had 2 great looks to end Game 2 before it went to overtime and missed both. People around New England I think are blinded by Isaiah Thomas’ magical(?) 53 point performance that they actually miss this simple fact.
Isaiah actually only has 32 total points since his Game 2 outburst. Yeah, Game 3 was out of hand early. And Game 4 got out of hand during the 26-0 run in the third quarter. So his playing time was down a smidge.
But you know what else? Washington finally had some answers for him. That has been dissected over and over for some time now. So I’m not bringing anything new to the table here.
The point to stress again is that…Isaiah can’t do it by himself. Again, no secret. Though Al Horford has stepped up his game for the most part in this series…in my eyes…who has been the C’s third best player? Terry Rozier perhaps? Yikes!!
Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart…all nice players. But these guys simply aren’t going to beat the better teams. Of course Rozier isn’t either. So the Wiz double and triple IT and then…it’s over.
Guess what too? Bradley is hurt again. Surprise!!
We can talk about a max contract or not for Isaiah and player moves and all that when the offseason arrives. As for this series though, will it change when the C’s get home tonight for Game 5? I don’t see it. Unless the team hits 19 threes again, including Crowder’s 6 for 8, as they did in Game 1. Which I don’t see either.
Which brings me to coach Brad Stevens. He has done what he’s could with matchups. Trying to “hide” Isaiah on defense. Trying to free up IT on offense. Mixing in the regular bench guys in Smart, Kelly Olynyk and Rozier to try to maximize their time on the floor. Even finding some use for Jonas Jerebko from time to time (but not for Amir Johnson though…oh well, can’t win them all!).
But the threes…oh God…the THREES!! Roughly half the Celtics shots are threes. When they go down, very nice. But when they don’t…ugh. During that 26 point run, the C’s kept firing up threes like they were going to get 10 points each time they would fall. Of course they were kicking the ball all over the place too, but when they did take shots, they were ugly threes.
I know, I know, I KNOW…this is Brad’s system and it works…works a lot actually. But when it doesn’t, someone needs to rein the team in. Especially in the playoffs. Didn’t seem to happen last game.
I think the Wizards bring their game plan in from DC and also their renewed confidence and win a tight one in Game 5. Then once again blow the C’s out Friday night in Washington. Am I happy about it? No. But it is what it is.
IT gets slowed down a bit, the Wiz grossly outrebound the C’s again, no other Celtics step up, the C’s don’t hit 19 threes…etc., etc., etc. It all adds up.
Again, the progress shown by the Celtics this year has been great. There is more work to do, as we have been saying in this space all year. But it’s been a nice ride in the meantime. And especially Isaiah has been fun to watch.
In the end, losing in this round shouldn’t be so depressing when you think about it. The Celtics would get embarrassed and possibly swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. I don’t think that is going out on a limb either.
May as well let the Wizards be that sacrificial lamb though…
Posted on May 10, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged Avery Bradley, blowout, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Game 5, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, John Wall, Kelly Olynyk, NBA, NBA playoffs, Terry Rozier, three pointers, Washington Wizards. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.