Rivers: Celts out of sync offensively

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Rivers: Celts out of sync offensively

BOSTON If you're Doc Rivers, you love seeing Rajon Rondo aggressive and attacking the rim. But at the same time, you like to see good ball movement, too.

There's a certain balancing act to it all, and on Wednesday night the Celtics were, without question, out of sync.

Rondo went off for a career-high 35 points, but shoddy defense and poor ball movement proved too big an obstacle to overcome as the Celtics suffered a 98-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

"Offensively, I didn't like the way we played all night," Rivers said. "Wasn't a lot of movement. I'd like Rondo being aggressive but . . . we didn't get a lot of ball movement."

Part of that had to do with Rondo doing a lot of his scoring either in the post against the Detroit guards, or pulling up for jumpers in transition or with the shot clock winding down.

Paul Pierce, maybe more than any Celtic player, seemed unable to get into any kind of flow or rhythm all game. He had 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting.

When your best scorer can't get going, winning becomes a much more daunting task.

"Rondo got the hot hand and took the shots that were there when they sagged off of him," Pierce said. "When the shots were there, he took them. We went to the post a lot to Rondo and it caused a lot of isolation. That was the game plan."

Far too often, isolation plays result in very little movement without the ball, which leads to a lack of ball movement.

Still, it's hard to be too hard on Rondo after a career-night scoring, and doing it in such an unorthodox manner.

The idea of 6-foot-1 Rondo going to work in the post - and it working - is a sight seldom seen.

And while Rivers liked what he saw from Rondo in terms of his overall aggressive nature, he would have liked to have seen more of it in transition and less in the half court sets.

"That's when you get the ball to the other guys," said Rivers, who repeatedly said that the team's defense an even bigger issue against Detroit. "The way to really stay aggressive in transition is off defensive stops. And in the first half that's how we did it; in the second half we were not getting stops. I thought that affected how effective he was, as well."

At the half: Sixers applying pressure early and often against the Celtics

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At the half: Sixers applying pressure early and often against the Celtics

The Celtics are getting more than they bargained for against the Philadelphia 76ers who are once again, record-wise, among the worst teams in the NBA.

They didn’t look like it in the first half which ended with the Celtics trailing the Sixers 53-45.

Boston came into the game having won its last four road games. And they did so by playing solid defense, something that has been noticeably absent in the first half.

Philadelphia came into the game as one of the NBA’s better 3-point shooting teams and has lived up to the lofty ranking.

In the first half Philadelphia made nine of its 18 three-point attempts while the Celtics are way, way, way at the other end of the 3-point shooting spectrum while missing eight of their 11 3s with Isaiah Thomas making a pair with the lone other made 3-pointer coming from Marcus Smart.

The defense struggled, the offense never had any kind of flow and not surprisingly, the Celtics found themselves playing from behind most of the first half.

Here are the first half stars from Saturday’s game.

STARS

Sergio Rodriguez: His playmaking was solid as usual, but it was Rodriguez getting it going with his jumper that really produced surprisingly strong results for the Sixers. He had 11 points, four assists and a steal in the first half.

Isaiah Thomas: Playing his game which is shooting and attacking the rim, Thomas was Boston’s lone double-digit scorer in the first half with 15 points which is tops among all players.

STUDS

Dario Saric: It was a solid first half as Saric contributed both on the boards and the scoreboard. He had 10 points in the first half along with five rebounds.

Gerald Henderson: Henderson had one of those high efficiency-type games with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

DUDS

Celtics 3-point shooting: It was a miserable first half for a team that has been among the NBA’s leaders in 3-pointers made and taken this season. At the half, Boston has shot 2-for-10 on 3's.

Celtics defense: Boston has shown little to no signs of providing the kind of push-back they’ll need in order to leave Philly with a win. In addition to allowing Philadelphia to shoot 47.4 percent from the field, Boston also allowed the Sixers to knock down nine 3's.

Red Sox outfield "Win, Dance, Repeat" celebration finds its way on MLB the Show 17

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Red Sox outfield "Win, Dance, Repeat" celebration finds its way on MLB the Show 17

Mooke Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a mix of Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Chris Young brought postgame celebrations to a new level last season.

Most Sox fans are familiar with the outfield victory "Win, Dance, Repeat" where the trio would dance and pretend to photograph the game's best player between them. The celebration ended with a pose at first, but as seen the MLB the Show 17's freshly released trailer, a few more wrinkes were added in.

In fact, here's a taste of the celebrations and what else to expect from Playstation's 2017 MLB game: