|Posted by paul on February 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM|
Kevin Garnett had a big game tonight, with 18 points and 8 rebounds, and his clutch plays down the stretch, including a huge offensive rebound and resulting free throws, won the game for us. Allen came up big too, with 22 points. Bass both provided points and rebounds, though his shot was way off in the second half, and Wilcox's gave us 11 rebounds, to go with several highlight moments in transition. Bradley came off the bench at the end of the third quarter to put defensive clamps on Irving, and to steady the offense.
Basically Garnett, Allen and Bradley won the game for us tonight.
This was a painful game. Our lead was as much as 16 points in the first quarter, and we ended the quarter with a 13 point lead. Then things got bad. Rondo had had a pretty nice first quarter, with six assists, but he began throwing touchdown turnovers. He had five TOs in the second quarter, and lost most of our lead by himself. It didn't help that the rest of the team played sloppy, and also that our bench got outplayed at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second. But wow. Rondo was just terrible in that second quarter. Pierce also had a bad first half.
One hoped both guys would come out strong in the third. Pierce did manage to score some points, and Rondo did manage to avoid turnovers, but this time it was Pierce coughing the ball up (he ended up with six TOs for the game) and Rondo got eaten alive by Irving on the defensive end. Rondo appeared to have lost his composure completely, and thankfully, when Doc pulled Rondo out of the game with almost 5 minutes to go in the third, Bradley came in and settled things down, cutting a Cavs 5 point lead to 2. Bradley played well into the fourth quarter, and, to Rondo's credit, by the time he came back in, with seven minutes to go in the game, he seemed more composed. Rondo managed to keep a little better hold on Irving the rest of the way, with some double team help from KG, and he also managed to make a few assists, ending up with 11 for the night. Pierce chipped in six assists too, and the team ended up with 27 total, which is good, but Rondo and Pierce also combined for 11 of our 17 turnovers, which almost lost the game for us.
What an awful game for Pierce and Rondo. What on earth is wrong with those two guys? Thank goodness the other guys on the team stepped up and, barely, pulled out a win for us. Even with Varajao gone, we got killed inside and we even lost the battle of the boards, especially the offensive glass. Has we lost this game, I would have felt so bad. But barely winning the way we did doesn't really feel that good. Are we really that bad a team? Are Rondo and Pierce really that bad?
Amazingly, Rondo had one of the highest plus/minus numbers on the team tonight, and Bradley was minus 7! Not an accurage reflection of the game, I think.
Most recaps will, I'm sure, blame the turnovers for us losing the big lead and almost losing the game, and that makes pretty good sense, but I think the bigger problem was that once again we did not attack the basket, we settled mostly for Js, and therefor had only 14 FTAs to the Cavs 25. In particular, once again Rondo ended up, as he usually does, fourth in FGA after one quarter, with no FTs. It was great that he had six assists after one quarter, but we NEED Rondo to be aggressive, and we have to establish that early in every game. Instead, game after game, the focus seems to be on getting everyone else involved.