The Boston Celtics have now lost five straight games, a stretch that has seen them fall behind by as much as 30 points in the third quarter. They have also been outscored by an average of 20 points during their five-game losing streak, something that has been a problem for them all season.
Kevin Love tossed up his standard double double
For the most part, Love has been a great player. He has won two NBA championships, has been an All-NBA First or Second Team member five times, and was named NBA Most Improved Player in 2014. But he also has faced a lot of criticism.
There’s a reason he’s had so few playoff appearances. The last five years, the NBA has changed a lot, especially on the scoring end.
One of the most dramatic changes is 3-point shooting. In the playoffs, Love averages just a 14.8 points per game. That’s a lot lower than his average during the regular season. And it’s not just because Love’s shot is not as good.
He’s been forced to play defense. Love has a history of knee and hand injuries. So his ability to defend is not as high as it should be. Those weaknesses make his defense incredibly vulnerable.
When Love was in Minnesota, he was a multidimensional threat. He was a good passer, a big rebounder, and a mid-range threat. His low post catches were very successful moves.
With the Cavs, however, Love has been a spot-up shooter. He shoots over 45 percent on 3s. However, he’s only had one season in which he’s taken more than 50 percent of his shots in the playoffs.
During his time with the Heat, he shot 34.9% on 3-pointers when he was off screens. Only a few bigs have been able to do that.
It seems like the defense has taken away his best options. As a result, he has a low true shooting percentage in the playoffs.
While he’s been an All-Star for six years, his postseason regression is a bit of a surprise. No All-Star with that much experience has had that kind of regression in the past 30 years.
Paul Pierce had his best game yet against his former team
When Paul Pierce joined the Boston Celtics in the 2008-09 season, he was a force. His performance earned him an All-NBA Second-Team designation. He was the top scorer on the team, and he led the Celtics to their first playoff series victory in seven years.
In the second round of the playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Cavaliers, who were favored to win the series. The Celtics went on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals.
As the season progressed, Pierce suffered some shooting slumps. Nonetheless, he averaged 19.8 points per game, and was named an NBA All-Star.
In the postseason, Paul Pierce’s play helped the Celtics win three games in a row. Their best games came in Game 3 and Game 4. He scored 40 points, including five in the final quarter, while averaging nine rebounds, 5.3 assists, and two steals.
Pierce is a former basketball star who played for the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and the Dallas Mavericks. His career spanned 19 seasons.
Paul Pierce was a superstar at his high school, Inglewood High School. He was a member of the US National Team for the 2002 FIBA World Championship.
While he was a great player, he never won an NBA title. Younger fans have little appreciation for past players. However, he did have his share of memorable moments.
During his time with the Boston Celtics, he was the leading scorer in the East. He also led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals, where they beat the Philadelphia 76ers. That win was the first step towards their first championship.
After a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce became a popular television sports commentator and worked as an NBA analyst.
Impact Smart is off the injury report
If you’re a Boston Celtics fan, you’re probably wondering if Impact Smart is off the injury report. While Marcus Smart is still questionable, the team isn’t ruling him out for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The sprained ankle that Marcus Smart sprained was not as severe as the one that caused him to miss the entire 2014 season. And he was able to play through it.
However, it seems like Smart has been taking a lot of hits this season. He’s already missed three games, and he could be out until the start of the NBA Finals.
Smart is not only a huge part of the Boston Celtics’ defense, but he also plays a vital role on the offensive side of the ball. For example, he averages 3.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game.
In addition to his offensive performance, he also provides excellent leadership. So if you’re a bettor, you should take note of his absence. That’s a big deal for the Celtics. Considering how much they’re missing Smart, they’ll need to improve their offense.
But he’s also a candidate to get some extra minutes. He’s averaging 11.2 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.0 steals in his last five games. Assuming that he can stay on the court, Smart will likely be the starting point guard.
But before he gets his chance, he’s not the only player to come off the injury report. Jayson Tatum is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday.
The Celtics’ backcourt will likely benefit from the absence of Smart. Payton Pritchard and Malcolm Brogdon are also possible candidates for some additional minutes.
Clippers advance to the #ATTWinterShowcase Championship
The Los Angeles Clippers have had a difficult time launching their season. Their lack of size up front could prove to be a problem in the playoffs. They will have to figure out how to slow down centers like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
There are a few things they can do to improve their chances. Firstly, they should find a way to get healthy. Secondly, they need to put together a solid start to their Western Conference campaign. And lastly, they need to find a way to win some games.
The Clippers have three preseason games to play, and they will close out their short slate with a game against the Denver Nuggets in Ontario, Calif. They also have a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, and a road game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Hopefully, these games will help the Clippers win some games this season.
On the topic of the aforementioned, the Clippers have a large and impressive perimeter. For a team that won 56 games in the 2012-13 season, they should be able to improve on that number. As of right now, they are sixth in the Western Conference.
In fact, the Clippers made the playoffs last year. But that wasn’t a lock, and they lost to the Phoenix Suns in a seven-game series. It’s not easy to win a championship in this league. Luckily, the Clippers have a plethora of talent that should help them advance to the Western Conference finals.
Aside from a couple of rookies, they have two All-Stars in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. If the aforementioned two can stay healthy, the Clippers should be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
Boston Celtics lose fifth straight game
The Boston Celtics had a three-game winning streak and looked like they were going to beat the Golden State Warriors. But they lost Game 5.
After a sloppy first half, the Celtics regrouped in the second. Tatum and Horford hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the middle of the second quarter to give the Celtics a lead.
They led 58-55 with 6:28 left in the third quarter. However, Boston went cold. Their next six shots were all missed. And Boston had only four from the free-throw line.
Jaylen Brown and Derrick White each scored four points, but they were not enough to overcome the turnovers. Boston turned the ball over on 22 of their 30 possessions.
Boston’s offense was not a big part of the problem, but they failed to shoot the ball well. They were only 9 of 22 from the 3-point line in the first half.
They started the second half with increased aggression. However, they still were not consistent. Despite going on a 10-0 run, the Celtics were only two of five teams to make a 3-pointer in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics were plagued by seven straight turnovers. Several of them were unforced. Smart picked up a technical foul for an off-ball offensive foul.
Boston’s lead was reduced to 61-38 in the second half. Until Brown made a finger roll with 8:21 left in the game, Boston hadn’t scored.
On the final possession, the Celtics appeared to hold off Golden State. However, Robert Williams was fouled with 0.5 seconds remaining. Wiggins made the first of two free throws.
Boston will be playing Game 5 in Boston. The Warriors are 3.5-point favorites.
- Hold your applause for the Celtics’ second-half rally, and consider shelving your rage at the officials. Sure, the Celtics played significantly better in the final 24 minutes, and the referees themselves admitted they missed a potential flagrant foul committed by Jalen Smith against Tatum (which turned into two Pacer free throws on the other end).
- The Pacers ended the first quarter on a game-breaking 37-11 run, spurred by their long-range shooting.
- Tatum absolutely annihilated his old teammate Nesmith with a dunk in transition as the Celtics tried to rally in the second half.
- Jaylen Brown scored just 19 points on 8-for-23 shooting, and he had several key misses down the stretch. The worst ones may have been a wide open corner three with 7:24 remaining that barely grazed iron and would have cut the lead to five, as well as a layup with 2:25 remaining which would have cut the lead to six.
- The Celtics wasted an excellent performance from Tatum, who finished shooting 13-for-25 from the field and 11-for-13 from the free-throw line. After taking a night off, Tatum appeared re-invigorated.
- Robert Williams was crucial to the comeback as well, pulling down seven offensive rebounds, including three in the fourth quarter as the comeback attempt reached a fever pitch.
- The Celtics have now lost three straight games and five of their last six as the Eastern Conference surges around them. The Cavaliers, Nets, Knicks and 76ers have all been red-hot recently, and the Bucks have taken over first place in the conference. Meanwhile, the C’s no longer have the league’s best net rating (behind the Cavaliers), according to the NBA’s stats.