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News » C's effort enough on this night


C's effort enough on this night


C's effort enough on this night BOSTON -- Unfortunately, no fast-forward button exists for the NBA season. We can't skip ahead to the playoffs. We can't even fast-forward to the games against the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers. Until that button is developed, we'll have to settle for using the Milwaukee Bucks as a measuring stick.

The Boston Celtics proved again last night that they don't need to play a full game to win. Forty-eight minutes of intensity isn't necessary to accumulate victories during the regular season. Not for the Celtics , and probably not for a handful of other teams.

Oh, the Celtics were on the court for 48 minutes, but they played more like 10-12 minutes in a 98-89 win against the Milwaukee Bucks at the TD Garden last night.

An eight-minute stretch to start the third quarter put the Celtics ahead by nine before they went napping and let that lead slip away. Another five-minute run at the end allowed Boston to turn a tie into a nine-point victory.

"Our defense goes another notch in the last three minutes," Celtics captain Paul Pierce said.

They sure did dial up something in that late stretch. Milwaukee scored a lackluster three points in the final 4:51.

However, the Bucks still ended up on the cusp of breaking the 90-point plateau despite shooting just 43 percent from the field and committing 20 turnovers. They beat the Celtics on the glass (44-35), and managed to get up more field goal attempts.

While it may be accurate to state the defense turned it up a notch late, it may also be accurate to state the defense performed spotty throughout the rest of the night.

"They got every loose ball," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "They got every long rebound, and they scored more off the secondary action than off the offense. That's just awareness, quickness, and again that's a physicality that we need to get to."

Speaking of physicality, Celtics defensive stalwart and beast in the paint Kendrick Perkins took it on the chin from fifth-year center Andrew Bogut, a former first overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Perkins stands up against centers such as Dwight Howard, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Al Horford, and Brook Lopez on a regular basis. And he holds them in check.

Last night was a different case. Bogut, who came in averaging 14 points, scored 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting to go with a game-high 14 rebounds.

Rivers said, "He was throwing left-hand hooks, right-hand hooks, he's good. He's a solid low-post player that has had trouble staying healthy. When he's healthy, he's a bear to guard."

Rivers also acknowledged that the Celtics allowed Bogut to get the ball in too good of position. The Celtics didn't harass him enough before he caught the ball, settling for defending him after he'd already set up shop on the block. That's another sign the defense was picking its spots.

Sure, it may seem unfair to expect every game to be a blowout. No team can win by 20 on a nightly basis and force its opponent into the worst offensive night in franchise history. As Kevin Garnett cautioned, "Some nights, we're going to look bad, and some nights we're not going to win."

Perhaps it's unreasonable to expect things to be "damn near perfect."

But the Celtics were the ones who floated out the notion of winning 72 games. Pierce himself came into camp talking about the Celtics being set up to win a championship. Not to mention the recent memories we have of Celtics teams the past two seasons. They ran over and through the likes of Milwaukee.

They set the bar high, and that's where it should stay. After all, why can't the Celtics dominate now and dominate later? Celtics teams of the past did it. Isn't that how all those banners got up in the rafters?

Lynn Worthy's e-mail address is lworthy@lowellsun.com


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 10, 2009

 

 
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