I personally attended “Avery Bradley Night” last night. Ironically, both teams played ZERO defense which was Bradley’s bread and butter. Instead, it was the Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris show. I learned last night that the Pistons are for real and gave the Celtics numerous problems that Brad Stevens and company just couldn’t solve in time.
I was informed by my friends from Connecticut that Drummond played at UCONN for a year and was TERRIBLE. Now he’s nothing short of a beast. Andre was unstoppable last night. In the first half, he made Al Horford look like a child on multiple occasions. I really didn’t understand Brad Steven’s gameplan. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Horford-Marcus Morris combinations, but when you have a 7 ft monster in Drummond absolutely murking your squad wouldn’t you think it’d probably be a good idea to have your biggest guy have a go against him? Aron Baynes only played 13 minutes last night. WHY??? Drummond had 12 points 14 rebounds and 5 assists…..IN THE FIRST HALF! It’s probably a good idea to get your 6ft 10 guy out on the floor to try and stop that. What’s ridiculous is when Baynes was on the floor he did very well. He had 6 rebounds in 13 minutes and was 3-3 shooting. Instead, Andre Drummond bullied Horford and Morris around all night and finished with 26pts and 22 rebounds.
Tobias Harris worked Jayson Tatum ALL. NIGHT. LONG. The guy could not miss. Whenever the Celtics got it close, Harris was the one to get the Pistons back to a comfortable lead. He shot 11-16 for 31 Points. If you asked me before I looked up the stats I would have told you he shot 100% from the field last night.
That was the first time we saw Tatum play like a rookie. It took 22 games, but it finally happened. He had no answer defensively for Harris and you could see that frustration seep into his offensive game. Tatum is a stud though and will learn and bounce back quickly from this minor mishap.
FREE THROWS OMG THE FREE THROWS
If you asked me before I looked up the stats what the Celtics shot from the free throw line I would have told you 0-100. Surprisingly to me, they made 12. They shot 12-21 from the FT line. For the math geeks, that’s a DREADFUL 57% The Garden was DONE with the missed free throws by the 4th quarter. The collective groans were LOUD. Even Andre Drummond who is a notoriously awful free throw shooter shot 6-8 from the line. I gained respect for him last night, not only for the dominant performance, but he was out of the locker room 10 minutes before everyone else at halftime working on his free throws. He knows if he can hit them he will score 40 points every night and the “Hack a Drummond” strategy will lose opposing teams a ton of games in the future.
ZERO….AND I MEAN…ZERO DEFENSE.
The Pistons shot over 50% from the field and out rebounded the Celtics 40-36. Being there it felt like the Pistons shot better than 50%, but the Celtics just could not stop anything last night. They also shot themselves in the foot 17 times. It’s very hard to win in the NBA when you have 17 turnovers. Defensively, the Celtics need to regroup because they have allowed over 100 points in their last 5 games. It’s no coincidence they’ve lost 2 of them. I forgot how much I missed Avery Bradley solely for the 1st team defense he can provide.
The problems were too much to overcome. Now I don’t question Brad Stevens often, but he had a rough night last night. It was weird how he kept ruining the vibe of the game. It felt like he was using this game to figure out different player combinations. There was a time late in the 4th quarter where the Celtics had Irving, Rozier, Smart, Theis, Morris on the floor. I was just confused. It wasn’t 100% his fault. Kyrie did not play well last night. In the first few seconds of the game, he got nailed in the face and I feel he was thinking about it a lot last night. HE HATES THAT MASK. Any chance he had to take it off last night he did. Kyrie ruined a lot of runs too. The beginning of the second quarter the Celtics started on a 12-2 run and when Kyrie returned to the lineup Reggie Jackson would work him and the Pistons would go back up by 6-10 points. This will not be a recurring theme of course, but last night Kyrie was better off on the bench at times. Our favorite 19-year-old Tatum finally played like a rookie last night and Jaylen I feel was still getting over attending the funeral of his best friend (understandably). I think Brad was trying to figure out lineups based on all of those factors but for whatever reason, none of them included Aron Baynes. I love Brad, just feel like he would love to have last night back.
I will end on a positive note. CELTICS BENCH MOB!!!!!!
Every bench player had a positive plus/minus. Rozier, Baynes, Semi, Theis, and the best player on the floor last night for the Celtics MARCUS SMART. They were all phenomenal last night, but Marcus Smart had the biggest impact. He could not miss.
Yes, you read that correctly. There was a point last night where I lost track of how many 3 point shots Marcus was hitting. I looked at a complete stranger sitting behind me last night with my hands over my hand after the fourth or fifth one and said “What the hell is going on?” His response was very similar to this:
I truly think the Garden crowd pissed Marcus off. Early in the game there was a sequence where Marcus had the ball essentially wide open and collectively everyone in the Garden groaned thinking he was going to shoot. It was loud enough that I KNOW he heard it. Then after that moment, the man could not miss. My favorite part was they were actually good, unforced shots. He ended up with 23 points and shot 6-9 from Hurricane O’Reillys.
What I learned last night is that Andre Drummond is the real deal and the Boston Celtics are still trying to figure out what lineups work best for certain situations. We really need to stop going down by double digits EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. That would help. The season is young however, and we are 18-4 while this team tries to find itself. There’s nothing to complain about.
I am excited to see what Stevens decides to do against Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid is very similar to Andre Drummond except Embiid can shoot the ball quite well. I would love to see Aron Baynes play more than 13 minutes on Thursday night, but we shall see. I still am a firm believer in: