Three things we learned on Sunday as the Celtics fell hard to the Lakers:
The NBA is a game of runs, so when the Celtics went down by 16 points early on in the game, you had to hope the trend wouldn’t continue. Paul Pierce couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn to start, and the C’s were caught up in “hero ball,” trying to do it all themselves. Doc Rivers said it numerous times that in order to come back, they needed to play together. Sure enough, they finally did. The C’s trailed by just two points at halftime, and it was back and forth from there.
Say what you will about Danny Ainge, but he absolutely won the Glen Davis for Brandon Bass deal with the Magic. Bass had probably the best game of his season, finishing with 15 points, eight rebounds (four offensive), three assists, two steals, and two blocks. He was all over the place in the fourth quarter, and played a huge part in the C’s staying with the Lakers. He missed a big shot in the last minute that would have put the C’s ahead by one, but you certainly can’t pin the loss on him. Bass has a $4 million player option for next season, which he will most likely opt out of.
What’s left in the tank?
Here are the minutes for Sunday’s Celtics starters: Paul Pierce 39, Brandon Bass 43, Kevin Garnett 35, Ray Allen 39, Rajon Rondo 40. Sunday was the first game of an eight-game road trip, and also the first game of a back-to-back, as the C’s play the Clippers tonight on the same floor. The Clippers are a young, athletic team that will certainly exploit the C’s tired bodies.
It’s also the always highly anticipated matchup between Rondo and Chris Paul, so it will (hopefully) be interesting.
Rondo has been able to raise his level of play against top-flight competition this season. Despite playing 40 minutes Sunday, he does have youth on his side.
The Celtics lost to the Lakers for the second time in as many games this season. A look at the first encounter:
The C’s fell in OT on Feb. 9 as Paul Pierce’s last second shot rimmed out. Pau Gasol dominated the C’s as he had 25 points, 14 rebounds and a block of Ray Allen’s put-back.
March 15 The trade deadline is this Thursday at 3 p.m.