Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston lost to the Indiana Pacers, 87-74, on Friday night in Boston, MA.
It had been an awfully long time since the Boston Celtics had played a half as poorly as they did during the first 24 minutes of their 87-74 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday. In fact, it had been 6,176 days -- that's 16 years, 10 months and 29 days -- since the C's had a half as bad as Friday's, in which Boston managed just 25 points. And yes, it was that bad.
The Celtics and Pacers were tied 14-14 after one quarter and were outscored 19-11 in the second quarter as Indiana took a 33-25 advantage at halftime. In that dreadful half, the C's shot 26.2 percent. Boston looked much better in the third quarter, with both teams scoring 30 points. In the fourth, the Celtics were again outscored, this time by five points, 24-19.
Ray Allen was a bright spot for the Celtics in the loss, but that was about it for the C's.
RAY ALLEN KEEPS CELTICS AFLOAT ALL BY HIMSELF
If anyone is doubting Ray Allen's abilities, they really have nothing to stand on. Allen is purely ageless -- it seems he is getting better with every year. Allen is the Celtics' leading scorer, averaging an even 20 points, and led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 38 minutes. Allen couldn't save the Celtics, though, as poor team play ruled the night.
"I look at a couple things," Allen said about what went wrong in the loss. "Starting the game, in the first quarter we only scored 14 points. I'm trying to figure out offensively what we could have done better. I don't know if we just missed shots. It's hard to put a finger on it. Down the stretch, defensively, we didn't get stops. I think consistent to our game, we had looks we didn't make, but offensively it seems like when the ball movement doesn't happen, then we end up putting ourselves in bad situations on defense."
Allen missed the Celtics' last game (a win over New Jersey) with the flu, which Allen was also dealing with on Monday against the Washington Wizards. In that game, Allen scored 27 points. There's no doubting Allen any more. Period.
PAUL PIERCE A NO-SHOW FOR CELTICS, STILL RECOVERING
While Ray Allen flourished for the Celtics, Paul Pierce didn't. Far from it, really. Pierce made just 3-of-17 field goals and finished with 10 points in 37 minutes for Boston. There are excuses for Pierce's lackluster performance, namely the fact that he is still working his way back from a bruised right heel that kept him out of camp and the team's first three games.
"I felt good," Pierce said. "I felt I took a lot of good shots, they just didn't fall tonight. I can live with it."
Had Pierce made even three more baskets, he could have reached 19 points and everything would seem normal. But he didn't, and as he said, he'll have to live with it. That's just how it goes sometimes. Nothing to be worried about in the long run, but let's call a spade a spade. Pierce just didn't get the job done for Boston on Friday night.
BRANDON BASS, CELTICS BENCH STRUGGLE IN LOSS
Brandon Bass' strong start to the 2011-12 season had created rumblings of his possible candidacy for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Coming into Friday's game, Bass was averaging 14.0 points and 6.6 rebounds and even had his name on the All-Star ballot. Bass did nothing to help his cause in either department, though, scoring five points on 2-of-7 shooting and collecting four rebounds in 27 minutes.
Bass wasn't the only member of the bench who was a virtual non factor. The C's bench only scored a measly 14 points in the game on 6-of-15 shooting, with Bass scoring five, Avery Bradley and Keyon Dooling scoring four and Chris Wilcox adding one point while Marquis Daniels, Greg Stiemsma, Sasha Pavlovic, and JaJuan Johnson were all scoreless.
"It bothers you whenever you lose, no matter who it is," Bass said. "I think that the bench has to be the group that brings consistent energy, and we've got to do all the little things. I think that we fell short of that tonight, but next game we'll pick it up."
With the Celtics' older core of starters, it's critical that Bass and the bench can produce consistently on a nightly basis if Boston plans on going anywhere in the postseason. Performances like this just won't cut it.
BOTTOM LINE: This was an ugly, embarrassing performance. There's really no way around that fact. The only thing to do now is to take whatever positives that Doc Rivers and the Celtics can find from this game -- if there are any at all -- and to move forward and focus on their next game.
NEXT UP: That next game will be a tough one, though. Boston hosts the defending champion Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at TD Garden. While the game will certainly have plenty of storylines, including the return of ex-Celtics point guard Delonte West, there is plenty of work to be done before hand. Boston returns to practice at noon Monday.