The Celtics dressed only nine players and were playing without three starters in Rajon Rondo (rest), Avery Bradley (Achilles), and Kris Humphries (knee). Losing to the Pistons 115-111, would have been hard to swallow if Rondo played, or both Hump and Bradley played. The third quarter collapse wasn't shocking to say the least. It's this team's pattern all season long.
The Celtics started the third quarter by making five 3-pointers over the first 4 minutes or so, and twice pushed their lead as high as 19. The Pistons would soon pick Boston apart, and as the 4th quarter started the Pistons cut Boston's lead below double digits. A Jonas Jerebko 3-pointer with 7:12 to play in the game had the Pistons ahead 100-99 and capped a 21-5 run by the home team. The game was back and forth from there.
Stevens spoke about the momentum swing in the third quarter.
"We made a boatload of shots in a row. I thought we let off the gas defensively a couple of times and now all of a sudden instead of a 19-point game it is a 13- or 12-point game. The momentum is swinging and our shots get tougher and theirs get freer. We have seen that time and again in this league that those leads go quick."
The Celtics were simply tired from playing the night before in Boston, and the fact that they dressed just 9 guys. The effort was there, and Stevens seemed okay with this loss in some ways, especially with the captain sitting out. Still a tough loss.
"We had nine guys out there and they were playing. They all played pretty hard and I thought (Chris) Babb came up with every loose ball. I wish he would have knocked down a couple of those shots as does he. He is a great shooter. We saw that in the pre-season. He shot it well."
Brad Stevens didn't use the bench often, because he frankly didn't have much of one. Olynyk was the only player to score off the bench. Kelly scored 11 points off the bench, and I thought it would have been nice to see him starting, but maybe next time. As for the starting unit, they really gelled offensively. Bayless has been lights out, he scored 25 points, off of 10-of-19 shooting, and nailing 5 three's.
Green had 23 and Sully scored 22 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds. This was Green's first 20 plus point game in his past 9 games. He last scored over 20 points, when he scored 39 points. Once the Celtics stopped hitting just about every shot they attempted, things went down in the 4th when the Pistons outscored the Celtics 30-16. The Celtics are down to 5 games, with Rondo playing 4 of them. It's possible the Celtics won't win another game this season, and that's sad.