POST GAME DETROIT

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POST GAME DETROIT

Post by 112288 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:59 am

Rivers throws down gauntlet on C's

By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

Well, Tuesday night in Cleveland just got a lot more interesting.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers essentially threatened his team after Sunday's 103-88 loss to the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. After winning a season-high six straight while rebuilding its confidence, Boston has lost three in a row to dip to 20-20 overall, and Rivers said a potential shakeup awaits if his team does not start playing with more intensity and consistency.

"I think this team wants everything easy," Rivers said. "They want the easy way out. They want to win easy. And I told them the only way you're going to win easy is you're going to have to play hard. The harder you play, the easier the games become. We're taking the wrong approach. I've got to either find the right combination, the right guys, or we're going to get some guys out of here. It's the bottom line. Because this group right now, they are not playing right. It's in them to play right. But right now they haven't been -- either because I'm not getting to them, or they are not getting to each other. But at the end of the day, either we've got to do that, or we've got to make changes."

So here's Boston's conundrum: When the Celtics play to their potential, they are pretty damn good. But, as Rivers stressed in his postgame outburst, the Celtics really have only strung together three consecutive solid efforts this season while beating playoff-caliber opponents in the Pacers, Hawks and Knicks to start the six-game winning streak earlier this month. Boston endured maddening lulls in play against the Suns and Rockets before topping the gritty-yet-woeful Bobcats to close out that stretch last Monday.

The Celtics promptly regressed amidst the hoopla surrounding Father vs. Son against New Orleans on Wednesday, then improbably coughed up a winnable game while falling to Chicago in overtime on Friday. While Detroit has played better basketball lately than its record might indicate, the Celtics came out flat, digging themselves a double-digit hole 4½ minutes in on Sunday. Boston rallied from an 18-point second-quarter deficit to tie the game before intermission, only to let Detroit race away.

And that left Rivers fuming.

"[The start of game] was awful, we are playing awful," he said. "I'm clearly not doing my job with this team. And I'm serious, I'm not trying to take a bullet for the team. And I told them that. I said, ‘We've got to find something where, every night, all 12 guys play the same way.' We did it for three games in a stretch. I told them that games 4 and 5 in that [six-game] winning streak were garbage; we just won the game. I've got to figure that out. I told the guys that, I've got to figure it out. Because I don't think the guys are honest with each other. I just don't think we have committed to being a good basketball team."

The Celtics seemingly navigated their rockiest waters while closing out the 2012 calendar year. Boston got pummeled in losing three games by at least 18 points against the Clippers, Warriors and Kings as part of a stretch where it lost eight of 10 to slide three games under .500 at 14-17. Rivers and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge preached patience and seemed to be rewarded with inspired play that coincided with the return of Avery Bradley at the start of the month.

And now, essentially one month away from the Feb. 21 trade deadline, the Celtics are forced to once again consider if they have the right pieces to make another postseason run.

Rivers was quick to clarify on Sunday that he wasn't sure "if we need changes." But his rant essentially put it on the players: Start playing a better brand of basketball, or the decision-makers in Boston will have no other choice but to break up the band.

All of sudden a seemingly innocuous Tuesday night visit to Cleveland got a little more intriguing. Boston absolutely must put a better foot forward, particularly with a national TV rematch with the Knicks looming Thursday. That kicks off another pivotal three-game stretch against a trio of playoff-caliber foes with a trip to Atlanta on Friday before a visit from the Heat on Sunday at TD Garden.

No pressure, boys.

Clearly Rivers' preference is to simply get more inspired and consistent play from his team. Bradley's return ratcheted up the defense more than just a few notches. The Celtics got back to playing the sort of defense that had been their calling card during the Kevin Garnett era. Combine that with better bench play and Boston looked like a true contender again.

But Sunday's lackluster effort wasn't exactly the exception for this team. Boston has had a propensity to play down to the level of opponents and sometimes expects to beat those teams by simply showing up. Particularly in Detroit, where The Palace has been an absolute house of horrors in recent years, the Celtics absolutely should have known it wouldn't be that easy.

If Boston cannot turn things around, there's no shortage of underperformers at the moment. Brandon Bass, who inked a three-year, $19.4 million extension this offseaosn, hasn't been anywhere near as effective as he was last season -- at either end of the floor. Bass picked up two fouls in the first three minutes on Sunday and played a mere 10:20 overall. Missing all three shots he took while finishing with 0 points and 2 rebounds, he was a minus-14 in plus/minus. Boston used its one big offseason chip -- the mid-level exception -- to ink Jason Terry to a three-year, $15.7 million deal this summer and he's struggled to find his shot and settle in as leader of the second unit.

You can't help but wonder how far Rivers and Ainge would be willing to go to overhaul this team if it can't get itself right. With players struggling, Boston doesn't exactly have a lot of desirable assets to bring back superstar-caliber talent, unless the Celtics are willing to move core players.

The guess here is that the team would have to bottom out before that is considered, but Rivers' message shouldn't fall on deaf ears. The decision about where this team goes from here is completely on the players at this point, and Rivers will let their play determine what this team does moving forward.

And it starts Tuesday in Cleveland, turning a ho-hum midweek matchup against a non-playoff team into must-watch basketball and a bit of a must-win game for Boston.

Celtics players must decide if they want the easy way or the hard way. Rivers is hoping that, for a change, they chose the latter.
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Doc's Take: 'We are playing awful'

By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

After the Boston Celtics dropped their third game in a row, falling 103-88 to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills, coach Doc Rivers sounded off on his team and suggested potential changes are needed if Boston can't sustain a higher level of consistency.

Rivers spoke for a mere 90 seconds before ending his postgame press conference. Here's the transcript:

"[The start of game] was awful, we are playing awful. I’m clearly not doing my job with this team. And I’m serious, I’m not trying to take a bullet for the team. And I told them that. I said, ‘We've got to find something where every night, all 12 guys play the same way.’ We did it for three games in a stretch. I told them that games 4 and 5 in that [six-game] winning streak were garbage; we just won the game. I've got to figure that out. I told the guys that, I've got to figure it out. Because I don’t think the guys are honest with each other. I just don’t think we have committed to being a good basketball team.

"I think this team wants everything easy. They want the easy way out. They want to win easy. And I told them the only way you’re going to win easy is you're going to have to play hard. The harder you play, the easier the games become. We’re taking the wrong approach. I've got to either find the right combination, the right guys, or we’re going to get some guys out of here. It’s the bottom line. Because this group right now, they are not playing right. It’s in them to play right. But right now they haven't been -- either because I’m not getting to them, or they are not getting to each other. But at the end of the day, either we've got to do that, or we've got to make changes."

Asked if the six-game winning streak simply masked a need for changes, Rivers added, "I don’t know if we need changes, I’m saying that if we don’t get it right we may. The six-game winning streak was great, three of those six we played tremendous basketball. The other three we won the game. That’s it for me. Thanks."



GAME STATS

Rebounds - Celtics 42 / Det 50 ........ Offensive - Celtics 11/Det 12 ........Defensive - Celtics 31/Det 38
Points In The Paint - Celtics 40/Det 44
Fast Break Points - Celtics 20 / Det 18
FG - Celtics - 33/83 (39.8 %) Det 36/78 ( 46.2%)
3PM - Celtics 4/15 ( 26.7 %) Det 9/19 ( 47.4 %)
FTM - Celtics 18/25 ( 72%) Det 22/31 ( 71%)
TO - Celtics 18 /Det 20
Assists - Celtics 22/ Det 24
STL - Celtics 13 / Det 9
BLK - Celtics 4 / Det 7
PF - Celtics 33 / Det 23
Bench Points - Celtics 48 / Det 40
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers) – Boston 18 (13) /Det 21 (21)

NEXT GAME - TUESDAY - AWAY - CLEVELAND - 7:00PM - CSNE/NBA LEAGUE PASS


POST GAME RECAP


ESPNBOSTON.COM

Rapid Reaction: Pistons 103, Celtics 88

By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

Rapid reaction after the Detroit Pistons defeated the Boston Celtics 103-88 on Sunday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills:

THE NITTY GRITTY
Greg Monroe (15 points, 11 rebounds) produced his fifth consecutive double-double while six Pistons finished with double figures in scoring. Andre Drummond did the most damage, converting 5-of-6 shooting into a team-high 16 points to go along with seven rebounds over 20 minutes. Will Bynum added 15 points and five assists (most of the alley-oop variety) off the bench for the Pistons. Rajon Rondo flirted with a triple-double while finishing with 8 points, 15 assists and 9 rebounds (but missed 12 of his 16 shots and committed a whopping nine turnovers). Courtney Lee (16 points) and Jeff Green (15 points) provided a nice bench spark, but the Celtics just didn't have it on a night they shot 39.8 percent from the floor (33 of 83). Boston never led in the game.

TURNING POINT
Even after rallying out of a monster first-half hole, the Celtics couldn't sustain their energy. Detroit put together a little 9-2 burst midway through the third quarter -- including three buckets at the rim -- to push its lead back to double digits at 68-58 with 5:23 to play in the frame. Boston got its deficit back down to four later in the third, but just couldn't get over the hump again, plagued by poor shooting and ill-timed turnovers.

C'S FIRST-HALF RALLY
The Celtics were down 18 early in the second quarter, but mounted a spirited comeback to tie the game before the intermission. Boston's Big Three returned to aid the turnaround as the Celtics embarked on a 10-0 run (in a span of just 79 seconds) that culminated with back-to-back triples from Lee to trim Detroit's lead to eight. Lee's free throws with 59 seconds to play in the first half tied the game at 48 (though the Pistons scored the final four points of the half to lead at the break).

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have lost three in a row and dip back to .500 at 20-20. Detroit has been a house of horrors and it lived up to its reputation as the Pistons opened the game on a 13-2 run and ran away again the one time Boston caught up. Thankfully for the Green, most fans were so despondent after the Patriots' loss in the AFC Championship Game, they probably never even bothered to flip over to check out the hoop carnage. The Celtics close out this brief two-game road trip on Tuesday in Cleveland before returning home for a visit from the New York Knicks on Thursday.

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CSNE

Celtics lose 3rd in row, fall to Pistons, 103-88

A. SHERROD BLAKLEY

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Having returned from London Friday afternoon, the Detroit Pistons were supposed to be the ones that would be a step or two slow due to jet-lag.

But it was the Celtics spending most of the night playing catch-up as the Pistons continued their dominance over the C's with a 103-88 win.

Although Detroit (15-25) has been among the NBA's worst teams in recent years, they have managed to have their way with Boston, which has now lost four in a row to the Pistons.

And all four losses have been by double-digits, something no team has done to the Celtics since the Miami Heat swept the four games played against the C's in the 1997-1998 season.

In addition, the loss on Sunday was also Boston's (20-20) third straight after having won six in a row.

Well versed in digging its share of ditches this season, Boston trailed 11-2 to start the game and fell behind by as many 18 points (36-18) in the second quarter.

Maybe they were thinking about the Patriots game because the Cs looked like a team that was both slow and seemingly elsewhere.

And then the Patriots went into the half and the Celtics went on a defensive binge of steals and deflections which created addition scoring opportunities.

Within minutes, this Detroit beat-down became a defensive, scrappy battle that saw the C's respond with a 22-4 run and eventually pull even at 48 on a pair of free throws by Courtney Lee.

Lee was part of a Celtics 1-2 punch off the bench - along with Jeff Green - that kept the C's afloat while most of their teammates drifted in and out between being impact players and flat-out irrelevant.

At the half, Lee and Green each had 12 points and finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

But their play could not put the C's ahead as Detroit closed out the half with a pair of jumpers by Brandon Knight to take a 52-48 lead into the half. Knight led all Detroit scorers with 12 points.

Boston's defensive turnaround in the second came for the most part without Avery Bradley, their top on-the-ball defender.

Bradley was not supposed to play on Sunday. The listed starting five handed out on press row had Leandro Barbosa starting. Even the public address announcer introduced Barbosa as the starter instead of Bradley who managed to convince Doc Rivers at the last minute to give him a shot at playing.

He played just over seven minutes and had two points in the first half, but it was clear that the rib injury he was playing with had an impact on his ability to defend at the level he's accustomed to.

Still, to be down by just four points at the half considering how horrific they began the game was certainly promising for the C's ... or so we thought.

After a Bradley score cut Detroit's lead to 55-54, the Pistons hit back-to-back 3s from almost the same spot on the floor - both with Paul Pierce defending.

It was that kind of game for the Celtics, similar to their 100-99 overtime loss to Chicago on Friday, in which the C's spent a good chunk of the game playing close, but can't get-over-the-hump basketball as the Pistons pushed their one-point lead to nine (67-58) following a put-back dunk by Greg Monroe with about six minutes to play.

Boston cut into the deficit only to once again be turned away as Detroit went into the fourth quarter with an 81-71 lead as the C's never presented any kind of legit threat for the rest of the game.

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Re: POST GAME DETROIT

Post by 112288 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:31 am

This is the first time in a long time that Doc fired a shot across the bow of the Good Ship Celtic Team. I applaud Doc...enough is enough!

Either you get your butt in gear or you are out of here faster then shxt though a goose!

While I am at it...where has the Captain been...he's been silent as a church mouse! I think Pierce should step down as captain, he has not lead like a true captain since we lost to the Lakers in the finals in 2010! He seems preoccupied with other things and has lost the fire day - in - and - day- out!


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Re: POST GAME DETROIT

Post by sam on Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:05 pm

112288,

It's interesting to read all the "fixes" suggested on the board and elsewhere. There's one thing that has been mentioned a number of time (at least by me) and can stand being mentioned yet again.

Proposals to turn the Celtics into a running team (e.g. by switching the roles of Green and Pierce). However, a team can run only so much while rebounding poorly. So I happen to think that getting another big and gang-banging the boards are prerequisites to more of an up-tempo game.

Moreover, regardless of how good the up-tempo game might get, make no mistake about the fact that the half-court game will realistically comprise more than half of the Celtics' possessions. (And even more than that come playoff time.)

And no matter who gets the most playing time or how player combinations are delineated, the offensive system needs considerable revamping.

• The ball is pushed far too seldom.

• The spacing is absolutely horrendous, with Celtics just standing side-by-side in some cases.

• I do see picks being set, but they seem sort of random and without purpose.

•I'm surprised the players haven't been pelted with pigeon poop because they're like statues out there.

• The passing has been lackadaisical, and the recipients of passes haven't been coming to the ball.

• As I've said elsewhere, there's vastly too much freelance ball, which impinges not only on offensive rhythm but also on the shot clock.

• There are very few recognizable set plays, and the plays that do exist take too long to develop, especially since everything they do starts from the perimeter. Can anyone think of one set play that is designed to slash to the hoop? Heck, the old "1" play, with the two guards simultaneously slicing around the pivot man, would work beautifully with KG having the option to shoot or pass to either cutter.

I hope people won't delude themselves into thinking that role changes or different players will solve the problems this team is having. The moribund offensive system, which also generates inspiration for defensive stops, needs serious overhauling because even the greatest NBA team of all-time, the Russell Celtics, would very likely have floundered in this system.

Go Celtics! And soon!

Sam

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Re: POST GAME DETROIT

Post by 112288 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:05 pm

Sam,


Again you nailed it....spot on! I am sure Doc has been saying this all along and I am sure Danny and the Celtic brain trust also feel the same way.

I think Doc and the Brain Trust are at the end of being nice guys and keeping the laundry "In The Locker Room". This was the first time .....as far as I can remember that Doc came out in the open and nailed his team and threatened trades out in the open.

I think the one good thing is the lingering ghost of Celtic past ...The Bad Old Days ......before KG & the Big 3 Era ....that is still fresh and in the back of the Brain Trust' minds......They don't want to go back to that era again. So I think some moves are going to take place.

For me....keep all the good young kids......do some minor trades like Bass. Collins, Barbosa, Terry ........for roll players..........and be active next year in free agent signings. Then you will have a great young team to compete while holding on to the Bradley's, the Sully's, the Greens etc.

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