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Inconsistent Celtics miss Rondo, also miss win in Brooklyn

Nov 16, 2012, 12:53 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

When it was all over none other than political stats guru Nate Silver tweeted that this was the “Biggest win in the history of the Brooklyn Nets.” Of course, statistically it had a 20% chance of that (this is only win five in Brooklyn) and as the others were against Toronto, Cleveland and Orlando twice there wasn’t a lot of competition.

Still, this is a quality win for Brooklyn — this was tied 87-87 with three minutes to and down the stretch it was the Nets that knocked down the shots, made their free throws and came away with a 102-97 win.

What was most evident in this game however is that Boston really needs Rajon Rondo for their offense to be smooth. Out with a sprained ankle suffered Wednesday night — and with no timetable for his return — this was a reminder of how central Rondo is to getting everything flowing for Boston. Especially in the final minutes, when Boston struggled to get good looks without Rondo creating them.

They had their moments — a 20-2 run in the third quarter that gave Boston a lead for one. Paul Pierce was putting up points both working off the ball and creating some shots, he finished with 22 on the night.

But there was no flow without Rondo. It was fits and starts.

Of course, that doesn’t really explain how Brooklyn abused Boston on the boards — the Nets had 15 offensive rebounds in the first half, and with the game in doubt late Brook Lopez came up with an offensive board and putback that kept the Celtics at arms length.

With the game tied 87-87 and three minutes left Avery Johnson pulled out the old Mike Wooodson playbook and seemed to run a lot of iso-Joe for Joe Johnson — but it worked. He created his own shot for a 10-footer, he hit a contested 17 footer over Paul Pierce, and when he missed the 18-foot fadeaway Lopez was there to clean it up.

Boston’s chances faded when down three inside a minute Pierce got Reggie Evans switched on him off a pick, backed up, blew by him and got fouled trying to score. He just missed making it an and-one as it rolled off the rim. Then Pierce missed both free throws.

And that was it, even though Avery Johnson started the end of game fouling routine oddly early and up four. It worked, it was just odd.

Williams and Lopez each finished with 24 for the Nets, Joe Johnson 19, Kris Humphries had 10 points and 13 boards. Leandro Barbosa had 17 points on just 11 shots starting for Rondo, but he had just two assists.

With the win the Nets are 5-2 and on a four-game winning streak, while the Celtics drop to 5-4 in a season where they are clearly still trying to find a rhythm.

And if this game was any indication, they are not going to find it until Rondo gets back.

  1. mrcuret - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    What’s the point of this team signing centers if they’re gonna have them buried on the bench? Doc has fallen in so much love with the small ball this season & it’s killing the Celtics. I’m not saying that Darko & Collins (even though he played a few min) are all stars but they’re big bodies who can at least make opposing players think twice before going to the paint. Lopez had a field day tonight & Doc didn’t put his 7 footers out there so they could at least distract him. I don’t get it!

    • dko83 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:52 AM

      I hear ya man but I tend to trust Doc implicitly. The man has earned my trust. Bass had a bad game too…

  2. pricejustin24 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Fits and starts? You’re Canadian huh Helin. And damn – just when I thought I couldn’t despise you any more than I already do.

  3. mungman69 - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    These east teams better win now because when Andrew Bynam comes on board the Sixers will be real tough. And he will be back….sometime, I guess.

    • andyhr17 - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:14 AM

      You mean when he comes back for about 10 games before injuring his knee or spraining his perm? If the dude is a 7 footer and this injury prone this early in his career, he will not be a dominating force for years to come for the Sixers.

  4. andyhr17 - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    Man, Kurt, if the Celtics haven’t found their rhythm a whole 9 games into the season they probably won’t this entire year. Might as well quit on the season and concentrate on rebuilding for next season.

  5. misterdreamer119 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Pierce missed 2 freethrows man thats how the game was lost. Doc should have put in Darko.

  6. cmehustle - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    People killed me on this site when I said Brook deserved a max deal. I wasnt saying it in the fact that he is a max player, but in todays NBA if your young with some promise and especially a big you get a max. People will see this season what a force Brook Lopez is. He dominated KG, and yea I know hes not the best defensively but no one can hold him.

  7. doublezero74 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Whatever Helin, the celtics where without their all star point guard on the second night of a back to back on the road. And they still could have pulled that game out if pierce didn’t go all Reggie Evans at the line at the end of the game.

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