BOSTON - The Boston Celtics knew what to expect from the Memphis Grizzlies before they stepped on to the court on Wednesday night.
The Grizzlies were going to attack the paint -- there was little doubt about that.
Yet the Celtics looked as if they were caught off guard by the Grizzlies' game plan, getting outscored 52-26 in the paint in their 90-87 loss.
I am surprised because the whole emphasis of today was they are one of the best, if not the best, in the league at points in the paint, said Paul Pierce. The emphasis was to pack the paint. They arent a great three-point shooting team, so there is no excuse for all that. We should have done a better job in there, make them kick it out and make them knock down a couple of jumpers.
Doc Rivers doesnt fault his team for holding the Grizzlies to a total of 90 points. If anything, he was frustrated by the Celtics inability to score at the basket.
We could have had a huge points-in-the-paint game if we could make a layup, he said. We had more missed layups, bobbled balls in the paint, which, thats tough, but we did.
Dont expect the Celtics, though, to settle for what ifs. Glen Davis says defending the paint has to start with the bigs. Nenad Krstic says it is up to all five players on the court to communicate on D.
Thats really bad for us, but I know they are the number one team with points in the paint, said Krstic. Coach told us before the game that we need to pay attention and do a good job with that. I think thats the key of the game.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA
Gary Tanguay, Lou Merloni, Michael Felger and Bob Ryan debate if Isaiah Thomas has proven that he deserves a max deal with the Celtics.
CHICAGO – The point guard carousel continues to swirl for the Chicago Bulls who will now give Isaiah Canaan a try as they continue to search for a suitable replacement for Rajon Rondo (right thumb) who is out indefinitely.
Canaan, a seldom-used backup this season, came off the bench and provided a major spark for the Bulls in 34 fairly productive minutes.
He led all Chicago bench players with 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting which included a 3-for-7 showing from 3-point range.
More than anything, Canaan looked like a serviceable playmaker which is a huge, huge upgrade to what Chicago got out of Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams.
Grant, who struggled mightily in Game 3 as well, was not ready for the moment. He couldn’t make shots, slow down Isaiah Thomas or impact the game other than negatively for the Bulls which is why Fred Hoiberg benched him after less than five minutes of court time. The dude had a plus/minus of -10 in less than five minutes (four minutes, 41 seconds to be exact).
The Bulls will need better play than that to have any shot at winning, which is why Hoiberg named Canaan the starter and not Michael Carter-Williams who like Grant, struggled in Games 3 and 4.
“I really thought he (Canaan) did a good job picking up the ball and pressuring the point a full 94 feet," Hoiberg said. "I thought his initial ball pressure was good. We have to get off to a much better start if we want to have any chance of winning another game in this series. That’s two games in a row now we’ve gotten ourselves down 20 points and fought all the way back. Game 3 cut it to 1. Last night we took the lead and then had five empty possessions in a row where they scored on the other end. You spend so much energy digging out of that hole. We need to do a better job of using that energy in a better start."
Playing with energy may become an issue for Canaan who readily admits that not being in the regular rotation while racking up a bunch of DNP-CDs this season made it more challenging for him in Game 4 to get into a good flow.
"The way I play, I was more worried about my wind,” Canaan told reporters. “God helped me out as much as possible. I’m looking forward to that next game and getting that rhythm back."