Good, bad, & ugly: Celtics sloppy in loss

Good, bad, & ugly: Celtics sloppy in loss
November 3, 2013, 9:45 pm
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Another fourth-quarter meltdown, this time in Detroit, produced an all-too familiar result for the Boston Celtics who lost 87-77 to the Pistons.

Like their first two games this season, both losses, there are a positives that the Celtics can take from their latest defeat.

So here's a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly as the Celtics try to brush aside this latest setback and look ahead to Monday night's game at Memphis.


THE GOOD

KELLY OLYNYK

It was his best game as a pro, scoring 15 points to go with eight rebounds. Olynyk's success had a lot to do with him being the aggressor at both ends of the floor. It'll be interesting to see if Olynyk can catapult his strong showing against the Pistons on Monday night at Memphis where the Celtics will once again have to deal with a talented frontline led by Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.

JORDAN CRAWFORD

He has the reputation of being a bad shot-taker/maker, but Crawford is the Celtics' best bet at having a point guard that can run this team effectively and force teams to make an early adjustment or two.

On Sunday, he had 13 points but more important, had a plus-minus ratio of plus-3 which was tops among players who played more than 20 minutes.

Yes, Crawford's defense leaves a lot to be desired. But he is the best shot they have at fielding a playmaker who can do just that - make plays.

Because as we have seen thus far this season, Bradley (we'll get to him later) is not getting it done as the Celtics' point guard.



THE BAD

DEFENSIVE ROTATIONS

Boston's big men weren't great on Sunday, but the way Detroit's frontline dominated the action wasn't their fault. Boston's perimeter defenders allowed far too much dribble penetration which exposed the Celtics' weakside defense to a slew of easy lay-ups and dunks for Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond who each had 15 points on Sunday.

The Celtics did a better job of handling them and the Pistons as a whole in the fourth quarter. But it was like most of Boston's successful stretches on Sunday: too little, too late.

TURNOVERS

Not only did the alarmingly-high 23 turnovers on Sunday hurt the Celtics, but they continue to seem to be at their turnover-prone worst when the game truly matters. Three straight turnovers in the final couple minutes took the Celtics from having a chance to take the lead, to trailing by six points with 1:01 to play.

Rajon Rondo cannot come back soon enough for the Celtics, a team that without him has shown no ability to execute effectively down the stretch which has been a major factor in Boston's 0-for-the-season start.

AVERY BRADLEY

He was downright brutal shooting the ball (1-for-6, mostly open shots) in the first half, but seemed to find his range in the second. It was great to see him knock down a few shots, but that can't mask the problems that Bradley playing the point guard position presented on Sunday and for that matter, this season.

Bradley finished with 13 points on 6-for-14 along with eight rebounds and three steals, but he turned the ball over six times while tallying just three assists.

No one expects him to be Rondo, obviously. But the more you watch him play, the clearer it becomes that he needs to be moved to his more natural shooting guard spot and occasionally slide over to playing the point.

Bradley has a lot of value to this Celtics team. But as long as he's being asked to play a position that plays to his weaknesses and not his strengths, both he and the Celtics will continue to fall short of reaching their potential.

THE UGLY

0-3 RECORD

The record speaks for itself.

But when you look at the fact that the losses have come against teams considered by many as being in the bottom-third of the Eastern Conference, it's not a good omen for what lies ahead in what all would agree is a brutal month schedule-wise, in November.

The problems for Boston are plentiful.

They don't rebound the ball well.

They turn it over too much.

And they don't shoot enough 3s despite having a roster that's loaded with guards.

There will be the constant reminder that this is part of the rebuilding process, and that progress can be seen in each game.

But at some point, progress without wins will mean little to a Boston Celtics team that's on the fast track to the NBA lottery.