The Boston Celtics: After the Celtics had an offensive meltdown in Chicago last Saturday -- on a night in which the Bulls outrebounded them 48-27 -- Paul Pierce said: "They wanted it more truthfully. They got all the loose balls. They attacked it."
That's the Truth. The Bulls did want it more. The same could be said of the Houston Rockets last night. The result was the same, a loss for the Celts, this time a 108-102 setback in Boston that dropped them out of first place in the Eastern Conference.
And, really, that's the biggest things the Celtics miss without Kevin Garnett. It's not the scoring or the rebounding or even the defense. It's the manic desire KG has to win every game. It's contagious. Without him, the Leprechauns have a tendency to coast against lesser teams.
The Rocketeers definitely qualify as a lesser team. They entered the game 16-21 overall and only 6-14 on the road. Meanwhile, Boston was 28-8 and 16-2 at home.
Didn't matter. Didn't matter that Houston was without Yao Ming, Brad Miller and Kevin Martin. Didn't matter that Rajon Rondo had 12 assists, or that Ray Allen was icy-hot (19 points, 8-for-13, 2-for-2 from downtown), or that Marquis Daniels provided a big spark off the bench (19 points, 7-for-8, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist). Didn't matter that the Celtics outscored the Rockets 48-22 in the paint, either.
Houston won the rebounding battle 38-31 and shot nearly 53 percent from the field (including 10-for-20 from beyond the arc) against the league's best FGP defense. (Although, minus Garnett, that stat could be a bit spurious.) They scored 58 points in the second half.
Doc Rivers is justifiably worried about his team starting to coast. After all...it's only January.
Said Doc: "I've got to somehow figure out a way of getting them to see the urgency of the whole season, and not the single game. Playing Game Seven on the road ... and not just in the finals, if you make it there, but in the playoffs, in the East, which is going to be difficult. This year's not like last year, where you can coast. If you don't have home court this year, you could go home."
So if you were wondering whether Rivers has been coaching for the league's best record, the answer is yes.
According to the AP game recap, "Paul Pierce...sat at his locker after the game, still in his game shorts, staring at a stat sheet before crumpling it up and tossing it on the floor."
That's an unhappy Truth.
Said Pierce: "These games mean a lot. We have to put our hard hats on and take advantage of it. It has to come from everybody. They have to look at themselves and ask themselves, 'Are we giving enough as a team?'"
In related news, Pierce went 5-for-12 and finished with more fouls (4) and turnovers (2) than rebounds (3) and assists (2).
By the way, the last time the C's lost at home was to the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder. Another home loss was to the Cavaliers...right after beating the Heat in Miami. So maybe getting fired up for lesser teams in a problem regardless of whether Garnett plays.
Said Rivers: "This game had nothing to do with Kevin Garnett. It's a mental mindset, and it starts with me."
The Memphis Grizzlies: Ah...a classic example of scalpers night off. The official attendance for last night's Care Bears-Bobcraps game was 10,188, but that figure is based on tickets distributed. In reality, there were about 1,000-ish fans in Time Warner Cable Arena.
Matt Carol, who was supposed to throw a free-t-shirt into the crowd, said: "I was looking around and I couldn't find anybody. So I said I was going to throw it up to a zone and see if somebody can get it."
I can think of no better quote to describe Charlotte's current offensive philosophy.
Anyway, as much as I would love to blame the lousy matchup for the lack of warm bodies in the stands, the sparse crowd was actually the result of a "snowstorm" that hit the area. Or, as Basketbawful reader The Other Chris put it:
Also about 12 people showed up to the Charlotte game, it probably snowed two inches in North Carolina and every got a case of giant flapping vaginitis... either that or they remembered how terrible Charlotte is.Said Stephen Jackson: "We knew we had a job to do, that's come out and play and get a win regardless. You can't expect everybody to come out in this weather and drive."
Especially to see the Grizzlies get blown out.
Memphis actually won the rebounding battle 48-40 -- their total included 17 offensive rebounds -- and outscored the Bobcraps 58-28 in the paint. The Care Bears racked up another 17 points off 18 Charlotte turnovers.
Unfortunately, the Griz missed 33 of their first 42 shots, managed only 31 points in the first half, and fell behind by as many as 23 before losing 96-82.
Mike Conley shot 6-for-17. Rudy Gay was 5-for-16. O.J. Mayo went 1-for-8. Memphis shot 39 percent as a team. Yep. I'd call that an offensive fail.
By the way, I think it's fucking adorable as hell how excited people are getting over Charlotte's 5-2 record under Paul Silas. Let's see, they've beaten the Pistons (12-25), Cavaliers (8-29, Timberwolves (9-29), Wizards (9-26) and Grizzlies (17-21). And their only road outing in the last seven games was in Minnesota.
As always...just sayin'.
Rudy Gay, quote machine: "We took bad shots, missed them. They took good shots, made them. That was the game."
Stephen Jackson, quote machine: Did they give up on Larry Brown? Um, yes.
"It's kind of like losing a team. Nobody wanted to play no more," Jackson said. "Everybody wanted to play a different style than we were playing. We didn't agree with what was going on. Obviously, it wasn't working, so we needed a change. We had to figure something out..."The phrase "inmates running the asylum" comes to mind. You know, it wasn't too many years ago when LeBron James, er, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Silas with 18 games to go in the regular season. The Cavs were the fifth seed at the time.
"We're younger and we have to play a little faster," Jackson said. "The makeup of the team is different and I think now with Paul (Silas) as coach the young guys have more confidence to go out there and play basketball and not worry about coming out of the game."
"You can't blame Coach Brown because we have to play the games," Jackson said. "But at the end of the day, when you make a change like that it has the domino effect of getting everybody up and loving the game. It's definitely worked so far."
At the time, LeBron said: "You could kind of tell the way the air was, how things were going around here, there was going to have to be a change." Translation: I wasn't happy.
Then-GM Jim Paxson said: "We're 64 games into the season and we still don't have a consistent rotation, substitution pattern, those type of things. We didn't see that changing." Translation: LeBron wasn't happy.
I'm just sayin'...the Bobcraps are all happy now. But just wait until they start losing again. We'll see how happy they are then.
The Detroit Pistons: Despite being one of the league's worst offensive teams -- they rank 25th in PPG (95.2) and 23rd in Offensive Rating (104.6) -- the Pistons scored 55 first half points against the Bulls. That feat is more impressive than it may sound. After all, Chicago has been holding opponents to about 91 PPG in the United Center this season. And they had been giving up only 82.5 PPG over their last six home games, which included three games in which their opponents scored fewer than 80 points.
What's more, despite being one of the league's worst defensive teams -- Detroit ranks 25th in Defensive Rating (110.2) -- the Pistons held four Bulls players scoreless. That's four out of 10. And starter Keith Bogans managed only three points on one measly field goal.
At the end of the first half, Detroit had a 12-point lead.
Unfortunately, the Pistons are the Pistons. Destination: Doom, right? Sure enough, Detroit was outscored 33-15 in the third quarter and then scored only 12 points in the fourth. The result: a 95-82 loss that dropped them to 12-25 overall and a depressing 3-17 on the road.
So...did the trade rumors affect the Pistons? Remember, Richard Hamilton is part of that hot trade rumor involving Carmelo Anthony.
Said Rip: "That's part of the game. You hear stuff like that all the time. It's not the first time I've heard it in my career since I've been here. It's part of the game. You just come out and try to play basketball. It's out there. It's nothing that I think about."
Really, Rip? Well, okay then. In totally unrelated news, Hamilton finished with 2 points on 0-for-5 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench.
Bonus stats: The Bulls ran out for 18 fast break points and the Pistons gave up 23 points off 16 turnovers.
Ben Wallace: He got injured on the opening tip and missed the rest of the game. So...old...
Derrick Rose, quote machine: Derrick Rose dropped THE HAMMER on the Piston last night:
Nooooo. Not that hammer. This hammer.
After the game, Rose sounded awfully humble for a guy who's dunk created a parallel universe full of tiny, dunking Derrick Roses.
"A dunk, to me, is a dunk."For the record, Rose is 22 years old.
"I just jump high."
"I'm getting pretty old in this league. I just try to save my legs as much as possible."
Chris's Lacktion Report: Omer Asik mooed one foul in 4:37 for a +1 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl, while fellow heifer CJ Watson garnered two bricks and a foul for a +3 in 4:39. Kyle Korver also joined the lackfest with two bricks (once from Wacker Drive) for a +2 in 4:28.