I tell people ALL THE TIME to never be shocked when the Celtics go down by 18 points and refuse to quit… and then come all the way back to win games.
See the Oklahoma City game. Perfect example where I tell people not to be shocked or surprised, but to just always know that the Celtics will find a way to compete.
Last night, though? Last night I was floored by what I saw from the Celtics. This basketball team is unbelievable.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe the Celtics had the ability to come back and win that game. I understand this team has ZERO quit. But the Celtics had absolutely no business whatsoever winning that basketball game last night.
No Al Horford.
Kyrie Irving endures friendly-fire from a Baynes’ elbow and goes out for the game (Kyrie is being monitored for a concussion, so keep an eye out for that).
The Celtics shoot 35% from the floor and 29% from deep.
The Celtics win 90-87… How?
I WILL TELL YOU HOW
Shane of the House Larkin.
Son of Barry. First of his name.
The handler of basketball, the little spoken of, and Prince of the stepback.
It was Larkin SZN last night, and I loved every second of it. Coming off the bench while the Celtics were getting rag dolled, Larkin was the only Celtics player with a respectable stat line in the first-half — 3-4 shooting 2-2 from deep for 8 points in 6 minutes of playing time.
It carried over to the second half. You could tell his confidence was through the roof and he just let the game come to him. Sure, he threw up a couple of heat checks that probably weren’t the best look at the time, but we can let those pass when you’re cooking like this.
Shane also took a MASSIVE charge late in the game too when the Celtics needed a stop. Performances like that just show what this team is about. Every player feels important to the process even if they’re usually last to come off the bench. Larkin grabbed ahold of the moment and made the most of it. He finished with…
16 points, 1 rebound, +15 player rating
5-8 from the floor, 2-3 from deep, 4-4 from the free throw line.
Larkin’s performance is a big reason the Celtics came back in this game, but it was the Celtics second-half defense being some of the best I’ve seen in the past few years. Look at these second-half stats for the Hornets on offense.
28% shooting (11-39 from the floor)
The fourth quarter????? Look at this Hornets box score for the 4th alone
11 points… The Celtics scored 11 points in the first quarter and it made my eyes bleed. The Hornets go 4-20 from the field in the most crucial time of the game and I can’t imagine how Hornets fans felt watching that. Good for you, Malik Monk getting that 1 point in though!
Kemba Walker tried to do it himself and he was doing an alright job of that. I credit the defense of Marcus Morris on the second-to-last possession where he really squared Kemba up and locked him down. Morris redeemed himself twice after shooting the most ridiculous three-pointer with a loaded shot clock and 40 seconds left.
Then he hits a step-back jumper on the following possession, then locks down Kemba Walker. All is forgiven.
The Celtics came back and won this game because they trusted themselves and their system. They stopped trying to win the game back in one possession, and nobody tried to do it themselves. From the look of this game, the Celtics should have lost this one by 40…
But they just continued to chip away, while Charlotte got complacent. That’s the thing with the Celtics. If you play against them you HAVE to play a full 48 minutes. If you don’t, you’re going to learn real quick why you should have kept your foot on the gas.
This is the best defense in basketball. Every player on the team from top-to-bottom is all in when it comes to commitment to the defensive end of the floor and it shows. You pair that with team-driven offensive possessions and BIG TIME shots down the stretch? Recipe for success every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Still, all is great and the C’s have won 11 in a row… but they are banged up right now. We should know more about Kyrie throughout today and early tomorrow on if he’ll be able to play Sunday afternoon vs Toronto. I’m hoping that he’s going to be able to get back into the lineup.
I’m optimistic about Al Horford playing Sunday. The Celtics upgraded him to questionable before last’s night game, but decided to hold him out. I think the upgrade is cause for optimism that Al is good to go for Sunday.
The C’s are still rolling, and I would argue this is the most fun team in Boston right now. I love this team.
HIT THEM WITH IT!
“Suck it, Lakers*” – Greenie