January 29, 2012 Game 19: Boston Celtics (9-10) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-11)
The Boston Celtics were handed a truly disappointing loss by the substandard Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night, allowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead to slip from their grasp like love untended over the game’s agonizing final four minutes. The Celtics held the lead for a 19:41 span that covered most of the third and fourth quarters. This carried them up to the game’s final two seconds, when rookie sensation Kyrie Irving scored on a beautiful one-handed scoop shot in traffic to put the Cavs ahead by what would be the game’s final score, 88-87.
With 5:30 left in the fourth, a graphic appeared on the screen, telling us that the Celtics had been on a 10-2 run that had covered the last 2:50 of game time. Shortly thereafter, Cleveland’s Antawn Jamison was fouled by Brandon Bass on a three-point attempt. Jamison sank all three, signaling the beginning of the end.
January 27, 2012 Game 18: Boston Celtics (9-9) vs. Indiana Pacers (12-6)
The Boston Celtics are officially on a roll, having followed up two stirring wins against the Orlando Magic with their third consecutive defensive gem, a 94-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers. This was the Celtics’ fourth win in a row, and the sixth consecutive game in which they’ve held their opponent below the league scoring average (94.4 points per game).
At present, the Celtics boast the league’s third-lowest points allowed per game (87.9), the fourth-lowest field goal percentage allowed (.420) and the second-lowest three-point field goal percentage allowed (.288). The last number is significant. The Magic and Pacers are the third- (.387) and eighth-best (.370) three-point shooting teams in the league. On Friday, the Pacers hit a “yikes”-inducing one of 19 three-pointers (.053). Over their two games against the Celtics, the Magic connected on only nine of their 33 attempts (.273).
January 26, 2012 Game 17: Boston Celtics (8-9) at Orlando Magic (12-6)
The Boston Celtics followed up Monday night’s merciless thrashing of the Orlando Magic with an encore for the ages, coming back from a 27-point deficit to capture a 91-83 victory. If Monday’s win represented the raising of the battleflag, Thursday’s was the charge into the breach.
We at the Kuts have become increasingly reliant on violent descriptors when relating game outcomes: so far this year, the Celtics have punched the Raptors in the nose and smashed the Magic in the teeth with a brick. Kevin Garnett did the honors for us Thursday night, describing the game as “a goddamn bar fight, a goddamn bar fight, man, it’s a bar fight, Craig, it’s a bar fight, tonight was a bar fight, man…you ever been in a bar fight?” Indeed, Garnett radiated the bruised, exhausted giddiness of a man who’d been pitched through a plate glass window, only to charge back through and crack someone in the skull with a pool cue. We have never been in a bar fight ourselves, but last week we watched a tall fellow with a mustache disarm a potential troublemaker by kissing him on the mouth, then dragging his stunned, freaked-out ass through a crowded concert hall, dropping him off with the bouncers, and coming back to his very impressed girlfriend just in time for the final verse of “We’ve Been Had”.
January 23, 2012 Game 16: Boston Celtics (7-9) vs. Orlando Magic (11-5)
The Boston Celtics welcomed Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Von “The Dutch Cookie” Wafer (who is eating some serious dust in his Wikipedia photo) back to the Garden by smashing their new team in the teeth with a brick, dealing the Orlando Magic a humiliating 87-56 loss. You may have read that the Magic set ineptitude records with franchise lows in points and field goal percentage (.246), and a league-history low in field goals made (16). You may not have read that, since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came to town in 2007, there have been eight NBA games where a team has scored 60 or fewer points. The C’s clamped down with the stranglehold in four of those games. Since the dawn of the Garnett-era, they are the only team to have held more than one opponent to that low a point total. The most recent of these games was played less than a year ago, when the Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 87-56: the exact same scoreas Monday night.
January 20, 2012 Game 14: Boston Celtics (5-9) vs. Phoenix Suns (6-9)
The Boston Celtics were dealt yet another demoralizing loss last night, this time at the hands of the Great Steve Nash, the multi-talented Grant Hill, and the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat. With transcendent point guard Rajon Rondo out with a sore wrist, the Celtics struggled to generate offense, scoring a season-low 71 points. This was particularly unfortunate, as they managed to hold Phoenix to 79 points, the third-fewest they’ve allowed this season.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Boston’s offense is Rondo’s ability to penetrate and finish at the rim. Amongst point guards with a minimum of ten games played and an average of 20 minutes or more per game, Rondo is averaging a fifth-most 5.7 attempts within three feet of the hoop . He’s converting them at a 66.2% clip, good for second-best amongst qualifying point guards with a minimum of 2.0 attempts per game.
January 18, 2012 Game 13: Boston Celtics (5-8) vs. Toronto Raptors (4-11)
The Boston Celtics got up off the mat and punched someone in the nose last night, doing a good job of bloodying up the Toronto Raptors with a 96-73 victory. It should be noted that the Raptors are 4-11, and their 85.1 points per game is good (?) for second to last in the league. Also, Andrea Bargnani, their best scorer and most dapper player, was on the bench with a calf injury. Even so, wins are wins, including the ones that make us imagine what it might feel like to beat on a one-legged homeless man with a cinder block because we had a rough week at work.
Welcome to the Krucial Kuts Quarterly Mix Tape Review! Every few months, we at the Kuts will select 15 to 18 hot jams that we’ve been spinning and talk about why we like them so much. This is Side B of Volume 6. Click here for Side A. To listen to the mix tape on Grooveshark, click here.
Editor’s Note: Due to “technical difficulties,” we missed the Celtics’ January 14 tilt with the Indiana Pacers, a game that the C’s dropped 97-83 in front of Celtic legend and current Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. Playing basketball in a Celtics uniform with Larry Bird watching is probably like trying to win a speed painting competition with Paul Gauguin standing behind your easel eating a hot dog with everything on it.
Welcome to the Krucial Kuts Quarterly Mix Tape Review! Every few months, we at the Kuts will select 15 to 18 hot jams that we’ve been spinning and talk about why we like them so much. This is Side A of Volume 6. Click here for Side B. To listen to the mix tape on Grooveshark, click here.
January 13, 2012 Game 10: Boston Celtics (4-6) vs. Chicago Bulls (11-2)
Brian Scalabrine was back in Boston last night, making his third return to the Garden in a Bulls uniform in the past two years. Acquired by the Celtics in 2005, Scal endeared himself to the Celtics’ faithful with his curly red hair, doughy build, chantable last name and ceaseless hustle. After the 2007 offseason saw the Celtics flip their 24-win roster of miscreants and ne’er-do-wells into a 66-win army of blood-thirsty, bucket-hungry madmen, Scal saw his minutes drop from 19.0 per game in the previous season to 10.7 over his final three in Boston.