Good, bad, & ugly: Late-game execution fails C's

Good, bad, & ugly: Late-game execution fails C's
March 16, 2014, 10:00 pm
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For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics came up short in the closing moments.

But on Sunday, the Celtics extended their late-game struggles to an extra session before losing 121-120 in overtime to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Making this defeat even more disappointing was that the one area that has been a glaring weakness for the Celtics this season, late-game execution, was actually pivotal to them extending the game into an extra period of play and being within striking distant in the overtime session's final seconds of play.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” said coach Brad Stevens.

And they did so with some clutch plays in the closing moments of both regulation and overtime.
 
It was a long, baseline jumper by Kris Humphries with no time to play in regulation that forced overtime. He finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
 
And in the overtime session, it was a 3-pointer by Jared Sullinger that made it a two-point game with about a minute to play.
 
However, Sullinger missed a wide open 3-pointer with a few ticks on the clock that would have given the Celtics a one-point lead.
 
After a 3-point play by Jeff Green with five seconds to play cut New Orleans’ lead to just one point, Boston was unable to foul any of the Pelican players before time expired.
 
“We miscommunicated on a switch,” Stevens told reporters after the loss, adding that the players were instructed to commit a foul at that point in the game.
 
And with that, here’s the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the Celtics’ 19th straight road loss to a Western Conference foe.
 
The Good
 
Anthony Davis
 
All the talk about Davis being a top-10 caliber player in the NBA is legit. The Boston Celtics had no answer for the 6-foot-11 big man. He controlled the game in every phase that matters. He scored. He rebounded. He defended. He blocked shots. The final damage: 40 points, 21 rebounds (both career highs) and 3 blocked shots.
 
Avery Bradley
 
Despite the long layoff, Bradley has actually looked pretty good at both ends of the floor. His defense has been solid and his shot looked a lot better on Sunday as he finished with 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting. But he’s probably kicking himself for his turnover with 13.3 seconds to play in regulation when in transition, he dribbled the ball off his knee and out of bounds when the Celtics were trailing by just a single point at the time.
 
The Bad
 
Turnovers
 
The Celtics turned the ball over 16 times, but those miscues led to 28 points for the Pelicans.
 
The Ugly
 
Points in the paint
 
You had to anticipate that Davis’ presence would put the Celtics in a bit of bind when it comes to points in the paint. But New Orleans was extremely dominant, finishing with a whopping 70-46 advantage in points in the paint.