Well, here we are. The Celtics pissed away another home game in grand fashion last night and now sit at a deficit as insurmountable as they come. While the 3-1 deficit is no 3-0 deficit, it might as well be. Only 11 teams in NBA history of overcome this type of deficit and only 5 have done it since the turn of the millennium. To be frank, it’s a bleak situation to be in and once again we’ve been reminded that our 2018-19 Boston Celtics specialize in making you manically pull your hair out. Nothing has been easy, and just when it feels like they’ve turned a corner, they throw up all over themselves. These playoffs have been no different from anything we’ve seen since October. The Pacers series felt like a turning point and then it was enforced even more by the thrashing given out by the Celtics in Game 1 of this series. What is now apparent after the last 3 games, there was no corner turned, and they’re still that same underachieving, frustrating bunch that we’ve seen all season long.
Last night was the tipping point as all of our worst nightmares were wrapped up into one game. Kyrie couldn’t lead, Gordon disappeared, the defense looked lazy, nobody was aggressive, and the only one who showed a pulse late was Marcus Morris. It’s like they took all of the issues from throughout the season, tossed them into a blender, and then dumped it all out onto the court in Games 3 and 4. For the record, they played like garbage in Game 2 as well but I’ll let that slide since they took care of business and got the split. These last two home games though? Absolutely unacceptable, ugly, and embarrassing to a point. How ugly may you ask? This ugly:
(Also, Celtics fans, what the hell is this? I get booing them but to go out of your way to run to the tunnel to get your two cents in? Come on now, you’re all listening to too much Felger and Mazz and feeding into the media’s agenda.)
I could use the time now to dive into Kyrie Irving quotes, but that’s what I’ve hated most this season and something I think has been far too scrutinized. It’s about basketball, not drama with the media. He deserves blame, you can’t go out there in 2 home games and go a combined 15-44 and expect a win, but he’s getting too much of it. Sure, he’s the guy on the podium declaring he’s a “basketball genius” and all, but his poor shooting doesn’t excuse the rest of the offense. They’ve played like they’re in panic mode and try to get back into games by simply peppering the rim with threes. I’ve beaten a dead horse all season preaching that they’re at their best when the balls moving, players are moving, and they take what the defense gives them. They did such a great job of this in Game 1 as they got downhill and were patient in letting plays develop. Now it’s back to iso-ball, hero-shots, and forced takes to the basket.
Speaking of poor offense, has anyone even mentioned Gordon Hayward yet? He was silent last night with a measly 2 points on 5 total shots as he continues to be outplayed by Pat Connaughton (smh man). THIS Gordon Hayward was somebody that looked to be left in the past and it was disheartening to see how timid he looked all night long.
Piggybacking off of Hayward’s struggles, the bench that was supposed to be the Celtics strength in this series has gotten nailed by the Bucks bench. It’s turned into this team’s achilles heel and has been a main storyline in this series.
If the bench is going to give the Celtics close to nothing then they’ll be heading home on Wednesday night, that is for certain. It’s been such a huge issue for them due to the fact that whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the bench, it isn’t even an advantage. If the Celtics are going to win another game in this series they have to capitalize when the Greek Freak isn’t out there. Out of the Bucks five most frequently used lineups in the last two games, 2 do not include Giannis. These two lineups hold offensive ratings of 136.4 and 170 respectively. Long story short, Lineups consisting of mainly bench players should not be putting up these kind of numbers, that’s elementary.
It has put the starters in an even tougher spot and it hasn’t gone well in the slightest. I never thought I’d be writing about how crucial it is to lockdown George Hill and Connaughton, but it is. Hats off to the both of those guys as they’ve been nails but somebody on this bench has to have some accountability and put a stop to it. Foul someone hard, dig deep on the defensive end, crowd air space, and make these guy’s lives torturous out there. They’re far too comfortable and if they don’t get a rude awakening it will only continue.
At this point in the season I’m at peace with whatever happens. This was never the championship or bust year for this team (as much as we wanted it to be). The team was coming off of an improbable run without it’s star players, Hayward had to be integrated on the fly, Kyrie/Terry/Morris were all impending free agents, The East was a joke last year in comparison to this year, and maybe this team just wasn’t as good as everybody thought (yet). No matter what happens in Game 5, they will be back, they will develop, and they will be a power of the Eastern Conference for years to come. For now though, @celtics please give us all something to cheer about and make the Bucks sweat a little bit at least, you owe us all that much.