One Shining Moment: The Second Quarter


One Shining Moment: The Second Quarter

If you'd like to find a bright spot in Boston's Game 1 loss, there's only place to look:

The second quarter.

The Celtics won the second by 10 point last night, and lost by a combined 24 in the other three. They scored 35 points in the second quarter and averaged 14.6 in the other three. In the second quarter, they played like a team that just might shock the world they played like sad pretenders in the other three.

And while it was only one quarter, that quarter was real. It did happen. Over that one 12-minute span the Celtics proved that they have what it takes to combat the Heat attack. That they can play with the Heat.

Certainly that only goes so far. After all, the Hawks proved they could play with the Celtics. The Sixers certainly proved they could play with the Celtics. And that's not doing either of them one damn bit good right now.

But in a game like last night's, you'll take the bright spots when you find them, and Game 1 was all about the second quarter. So, how did the Celtics succeed in that frame?

Not to oversimplify things, but they made their shots. The C's went 4-4 from three in the second, while going 0-10 in the other three quarters. They also got to the rim, making seven lay-ups. They also moved the ball, registering assists on eight of their 12 made field goals. And while it's impossible to expect the Celtics to play at the level all the time they probably have to miss a three pointer once in a while last night's second quarter is still a very realistic glimpse of what the Celtics can do when they can make a few shots, and a legitimate reason to stay relatively optimistic heading into tomorrow.

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Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”