Comeback falls short (Again), as Celtics lose 88-79

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The Celtics fell behind early again only to give the fans some false hope as they lose to the Chicago Bulls,  88-79. What was once a 20 point deficit was erased to a one point. Boston failed to pull off the comeback win for the second straight game after showing no signs of life in the first half.

This game started with drama prior to tip off. Everyone was in anticipation on the status of Derrick Rose as he is day to day with a nagging toe injury. We found out about 30 minutes before the game that he is going to start for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Boston has still not been able to field any consistency. Doc Rivers was not happy with the shape Paul Pierce came to camp with.

The Celtics fell below .500 again in this short season in a very painful game to watch. Boston continues to get beat early in most games putting them in large deficits. Doc Rivers has been thrilled with the play of Rajon Rondo but unfortunately no one else has caught on. We got to see Mickael Peitrus for the first time against Dallas. Pietrus offers excellent defense, runs the floor well and hits the open threes in the corner. Don’t be surprised to see one of the big three on the bench to end the game. Maybe Doc should take a page from his opponent, and former assistant, Tom Thibodeau, who has sat Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah in the fourth quarter to close games.

The way Tom Thibodeau designs a defense is something of beauty. Being responsible for the Celtics defense and over the past two seasons, Chicago’s stellar scheme. The Bulls will always focus on tough defense first, which is why you will find some starters on the bench in the fourth quarter. Tom will play whoever is playing the best that game. You have to admire the style, almost Bill Belichickian.

Early on we have seen the stifling defense with the Bulls jumping out to an eight point lead. We talked about the Celtics inability, or so it seems, to start off games well, often playing from behind. Rebounds early on have been another issue that Boston can’t afford to continue. The Celtics just appear to be one step slower then their opponent these days.

The Celtics showcase another pathetic quarter as they score only 13 points and trail by 13 points. The Bulls were allowed to go anywhere on the court they wanted usually ending in an easy two points. Watching this game so far, you see one team that makes offense appear too easy (Chicago) and one team that has shown no ball movement (Boston). Chicago has done a fantastic job of team rebounding with 17 first quarter rebounds, no player had more than 5 rebounds and none less than one rebound.

ESPN analysts have pointed out that the Celtics have trailed by 15 points in five games so far, last year they only did it in 9 games. Boston has not made a field goal in the past seven game minutes. Game minutes are actual clock minutes, not real time. Every player on the Bulls has outplayed every player on the Celtics. The Bulls lead 34-17 with under six minutes to go until half time.

Luol Deng has been phenomenal for the Chicago Bulls. When they have a healthy Deng, they usually have good success. Luol tonight is one rebound shy of accomplishing a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds in only 17 minutes. His defense on Paul Pierce is something that should be studied by other players. Deng has always given Paul Pierce trouble with his long arms, quickness and his ability to box out.

The Celtics have a little sign of life but all momentum is gone after Rondo is called for a charge on Derrick Rose that clearly was a block. This play prompts Jeff Van Gundy to go into his technical theory that if you are right and complain, you shouldn’t get a technical too. Unfortunately, Rajon got a technical for arguing what clearly was a bad call.

Chicago continues their stifling defense as Paul Pierce has now had three shots blocked in the first half, including his signature elbow jump shot. The Celtics trail by 19 points as they only have four free throw attempts in this game so far. Doc Rivers is very upset and stayed a few extra minutes at half to yell at the officiating. Boston attempted zero free throw attempts compared to Chicago’s 12 attempts. Calls were clearly going on way in this game as evident from the charging/blocking dilemma. Having said that, Boston won’t win many games where they are being outrebounded (by 13) and shoot 21% worse.

Luol Deng is single handedly out rebounding Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox with 12 rebounds to 9 rebounds. Chicago has stretched their lead to twenty points mid way through the third quarter. Boston appears to be all but physically dead, as they have not scored 50 points yet.

Second chance points are another aspect that has doomed the Celtics. Last game they were outscored on second chance points 17-0. So far this game, the Celtics are being outscored 17-2 on second chance points. Watching Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce struggle has been hard to watch because of how great they both were. Clearly their best days have past them, however they seem to be the slowest and most ineffective players on the court. Both of these players have been a shell of themselves this season. Boston makes a late quarter push to bring the lead to within 8 points as they head into the fourth quarter.

Boston made a run lead by Rajon Rondo who has 14 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals through three quarters. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have woken up as they each are in double digits. The Celtics focused on the defensive end, which attributed to fast break chances, giving the Celtics the chance to not allow Chicago to set up defensively. Making shots also allows your team to get back on the defensive end. Avery Bradley is giving Rondo a rest to start the fourth quarter. His ability to slow Derrick Rose will determine how effective this line up will be.

Mickael Pietrus nails a three pointer as the Boston Celtics have went off on a 25-6 run in the last six minutes of the game bringing Chicago’s 20 point lead at one point all the way down to one point. The Boston crowd finally has something to cheer about as this game has just begun. This hope is quickly squashed with a run from the Bulls to increase the lead to eight points with a little under six minutes to go.

Chicago’s MVP Derrick Rose took over the game in the fourth quarter with 2 points in the quarter. His ability to attack the basket was phenomenal as Boston had no answer changing some zone to man every other possession to stop Rose. Top that off with Pierce and Ray Allen failing to convert baskets and the Celtics lose again.