Last week the Celtics had put a nice little run of wins together — they were back, baby! Fear them come the playoffs.
Today, they are bums. They can’t beat the Thunder at home.
That’s the fan roller coaster ride for contending teams with questions — you can also take this ride in Los Angeles and Orlando as well right now.
Well stop the ride, Doc Rivers wants to get off. From the Boston Herald:
“You don’t have to be (optimistic) because I am,” he said. “I look at our team, and we played one bad night. We were playing great up until two games ago. Were you optimists three games ago?
“Either you’re on the bandwagon or you’re off,” Rivers continued. “I tell guys that all the time. That’s the way I think, and that’s how our team should think. I’m not going to spend time trying to convince you to dislike us or like us. Our team just has to keep working.
“Should I worry about a team where you guys don’t think we can win anymore?”
Rivers is right about this — it’s the body of work over the course of a season that tells you about a team, not just one game. Fans do tend to overreact to one regular season loss.
But the body of work for the Celtics is troubling. Have they really looked good all season? The inability of Kevin Garnett to show out on the pick then recover and protect the rim anymore is brutal when a guy like Durant comes to town, and the Hawks have guys like that. The fact that Rajon Rondo has to take over games late — and if you can force him into jumpers you are in good shape — is troubling. The list keeps on going, but do I really need to go into it all?
Fans shouldn’t stop rooting for their team to win. But they are allowed to be realistic, Doc.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.
Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.
So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.
Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.
Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.
Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.
I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.