The Celtics won the rubber match in their miniseries with Atlanta on a freezing Friday night. Every game feels like a must-win right now, so it’s good to appreciate them as much as possible.
We’ll start with a not-so-positive Thought and then delve into more Thoughts on the good stuff that powered our heroes to victory:
1. Bad habits on display
This victory was functionally a blowout. Even if the final margin (122-109) wasn’t quite in that territory, the Cs were in total control for the vast majority of this game. Let’s say…32 minutes out of 48. The Cs fanbase, myself included, tends to get deep into counterproductive doomerism when bad stretches come along, so I want to establish this game as an unequivocal win. (Then when we’re positive about things, the Felger/Mazz/Merloni schmuck crowd shouts “GREEN TEAMERS!” before returning to their Brady memorabilia and Red Sox depth charts, but that’s another matter.)
Now the bad part: When the Cs let the defense lapse in this game, it was the same mistakes that have cost them whole contests: Standing around in the low post while opposing bigs (Clint Capela, in thise case) get second-chance points. Sloppy passes that sail right into defenders’ hands (the Hawks got 14 total, with Cam Reddish grabbing 5). Boston came very close to surrendering this game to Atlanta in Q4, and only didn’t because the lead they’d established was so big and they ripped off a last-minute run to solidify the outcome.