Celtics' streak snapped after 90-78 loss to Hornets

974721.jpg

Celtics' streak snapped after 90-78 loss to Hornets

BOSTON Austin Rivers did not have a particularly good game against his father and the Boston Celtics.
But like his dad, the younger Rivers was more concerned about his team getting the victory.
And that they did, as the New Orleans Hornets pulled ahead in the second quarter and pulled away in the third for a 90-78 win.
Boston (20-18) had its moments in the third and fourth quarters to put the pressure on New Orleans, but those moments often resulted in turnovers and missed shots which ultimately added up to a missed opportunity for victory as the C's season-long winning streak is snapped at six games.
For New Orleans, it was the yet another solid performance for a team that's showing they can win with and without their best players.
Hornets coach Monty Williams announced before the game that top-scorer Eric Gordon would not play because Wednesday's game.
Gordon had offseason knee surgery and the Hornets have not allowed him to play in back-to-back games.
His absence had little impact on the game other than create a great chance for Austin Rivers to see action.
Rivers averages about 25 minutes per game this season, but came into Wednesday's game having played a total of 14 minutes in the previous three games.
Against the C's, he played 14 minutes in the first half and finished with eight points while playing 22 minutes.
New Orleans continued to pull away in the third quarter by doing one thing and one thing only - playing harder.
They were more aggressive going to the basket, which was evident in the Hornets having a 24-12 advantage in points in the paint. They collapsed on C's shooters with greater force which resulted in the C's shooting less than 40 percent in the second half after connecting on 51 percent of their shots in the first half.
New Orleans dictated the game's tempo and pushed it to a level that the Celtics were never able to match.
In the end, the C's spent far too much time looking to score from the perimeter instead of attacking the rim. And that made an already improved defensive effort by the Hornets, even better.

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

BOSTON – There’s certainly some disappointment among Celtics Nation that Isaiah Thomas just missed out on being an All-Star starter in the East.

But one thing we can certainly see with the new voting system … it works way better than the old way of choosing starters.

This was the first year that the NBA decided to allow current NBA players as well as a select panel of media choose who the starting five in the Eastern and Western Conferences would be.

The fan vote would count for 50 percent while media and players would each represent 25 percent of the final tally.

From there, the players would receive a fan ranking, a media ranking and a player ranking.

Because of the aforementioned breakdown – fans count for 50 percent while media and players represent 25 percent of the vote – the fan ranking would be counted twice while the media and player rankings would be counted once.

Let’s look at Isaiah Thomas’ situation which ultimately came down to him and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan for the final starting spot in the backcourt.

Thomas was fourth in the fan voting, second in the player voting and first among guards in the media voting. So when you add the fan voting (4 *2) + player voting (2 *1) + media voting (1*1), you get a total of 11 which is then divided by 4 to arrive at a score of 2.75.

Now let’s look at DeRozan.

He was third in the fan voting, third in the player ranking and second in the media voting among guards. So his score when you add the fan voting (3*2) + player voting (3*1) + media voting (2*1), you get a total of 11 which when divided by 4 brings you to a score of 2.75 – same as Thomas.

The tiebreaker was the fan vote which meant DeRozan and not Thomas, would get the starting nod in next month’s All-Star game.

As much as it may suck that Thomas lost out because of this system, he would not have had a shot at being a starter under the old system in which the fans were the ones to pick starters.

In fact, it would have been Chicago’s Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup under the old system.

No disrespect to D-Wade, but he has not had an All-Star worthy season. And had the old system been in place, he would be an all-star and thus take up a roster spot of another player who frankly, is more deserving.

And if you take a glance out West, they too would have had a starter who has not had an All-Star caliber season.

Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia finished second in the voting among Western Conference forwards, fueled in large part to his home country, Georgia, voting early and often for him. Because of the media and player voting, Pachulia wound up sixth among Western Conference big men which is still too high when you consider some of the players behind him – Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan – who are all having better seasons.

While no one would say this new system is perfect, considering how this year’s voting would have panned out under the old rules, this change by the league is a good one that should stick around.

NOTE: I was among the media panelists selected by the NBA to vote for this year’s All-Star starters. My selections in the East were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Kevin Love and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. My Western Conference selections were Kevin Durant of Golden State, Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio in the frontcourt, with Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in the backcourt.