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Another game, another loss for the Celtics. The Celtics dug themselves into another hole that they couldn’t get out of as they dropped their third game out of their last four, this one to the Magic by the score of 83-78.
This was their first game between the two teams since last year’s playoff matchup. Unfortunately for Boston, it was much of the same as the loss dropped the Celtics’ record to 9-4 while the Magic improved to 10-3.
Boston came out sluggish as the Magic jumped to an early 22-8 lead. The Celtics’ defense woke up in the second quarter as they forced six Magic turnovers and held them to just 14 points on 24 percent shooting. This defensive play allowed the team to crawl back and head into half-time down three, 43-40.
The second-half saw both teams play pretty evenly, but the Magic got a couple of big fourth quarter basket’s from their off-season acquisition, Vince Carter, to put away the men in green. Carter had a game-high 26 points while Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 21 points.
Now the question is, what has happened to the Celtics? After beating LeBron on opening day and holding the Bobcats to under 60 points in a 33-point blowout, the Celtics raced out to an 8-1 start. However, they have lost three of their last four, and while two of the losses came against very good teams, those are the teams good teams are supposed to beat.
Here’s a look at what has been plaguing the Celtics lately:
Maybe the Celtics should stop scheduling games on Friday nights. Since they beat the Bulls, 118-90, on their first Friday game, the Celtics have lost three straight Friday games. Overall, Boston is 1-3 and has allowed 95 points per game while shooting just 24.4 percent from three-point range on Fridays. Compare that to the rest of their games: an 8-1 record with 85.4 points per game while shooting 40 percent from three-point range.
For those of us watching on TV we have heard this phrase over and over…and over. Wallace is currently on pace to attempt 492 three pointers this season and while that would be great if he were making them, he simply isn’t. After starting the season on a hot streak (15-of-33, 45.5%), Wallace has shot just 15.6 percent (7-of-45) from three-point range since then. Most of them have been open looks so we can’t blame him for taking them, but maybe he would be better off playing down low more until he gets his stroke from beyond the arc back.
It was evident that Jason “White Chocolate” Williams was playing off Rondo in the second half because his lack of a jump shot does not make him a scoring threat from 18 feet. By playing off Rondo, Williams was able to neutralize Rondo’s quickness and create more traffic in the paint defensively. He was daring him to shoot all game and Rondo responded with a 27.2 percent (3-of-11) performance. Look for more teams to employ this strategy, at least until Rondo fixes this problem. By the way, he is only shooting 25 percent (4-of-16) from the free throw line. Yikes.