Boston Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: 'Bad call' costs Celtics in loss to Bulls

Stars, studs and duds: 'Bad call' costs Celtics in loss to Bulls

The Boston Celtics didn’t play their best game on Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls, making the kind of mistakes you expect just before the all-star break.

But their 104-103 loss at Chicago left a truly bitter taste in the Celtics’ mouth and it wasn’t just because of their four-game winning streak being snapped.

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It had more to do with the questionable call against Marcus Smart defending Jimmy Butler, a play in which official Zach Zarba called a foul with 0.9 seconds to play.

“Horrible call,” Isaiah Thomas told reporters after the loss. “Bad call cost us a game, cost us a game. That’s horrible.

Thomas added, “You see him raise his hand up like it was a foul; the Bulls were even shocked. That’s horrible man. It cost you a game you should have won. That’s a bad call.”

Replays showed that the contact Smart was whistled for came with 1.0 to 1.2 seconds to play.

But the call from Zarba came with less than a tenth of a second to play, a call made that wasn't made until Butler’s shot attempt clearly going to come up short.

“When Jimmy shot the ball, I heard him scream, ‘no foul?’” Smart told reporters. “As soon as he said that, the whistle blew and I looked and I saw him (Zarba) raise his hands. I couldn’t believe it. He made the call. You gotta live with it.”

Said Kelly Olynyk: “We thought we won the game. A roller coaster of emotions; it’s tough.”

As disappointed as they are with the loss, the Celtics know there’s nothing they can do about it other than use it as added motivation going forward to play better throughout the course of the game so that the outcome doesn’t come down to possibly being decided in such a questionable manner.

“It’s part of it; you move forward,” Celtics’ Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “I thought we played a pretty good game. All things considered, being six (games) in nine (days) I was proud of the way we competed. I’m not going to let that (questionable call), de-rail that. I feel good about our team and I feel good about the direction we’re headed.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in tonight’s game against Chicago.

 

STARS

Jimmy Butler

Regardless of the questionable call in the final second of play, Butler still had to make the game-winning free throws to get the win. He finished with 29 points and seven assists.

Isaiah Thomas

He finished with 29 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. He also had seven assists with three rebounds.

 

STUDS

Robin Lopez

His activity around the rim was huge for the Bulls, as he finished with 15 points and eight rebounds with two blocked shots.

Kelly Olynyk

He continues to give the Celtics a nice lift off the bench. He had 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting against the Bulls, in addition to seven rebounds and four assists.

Bobby Portis

The Celtics had problems most of the game keeping Portis in check. He finished with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting with eight rebounds.

  

DUDS

Al Horford

Rough, rough night for Horford against the Bulls. He had just seven points while missing seven of his 10 shot attempts which included a potential game-winner as the final horn sounded. Just as bad, he was a non-factor on the boards which is where Boston desperately needed him to step up and help.  

Celtics defensive rebounding

Boston’s inability to keep the Bulls off the offensive glass was a huge factor in the game’s outcome. The Bulls’ control of the offensive boards resulted in a 22-4 advantage on second-chance points.

30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

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30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The New Orleans Pelicans. 

Anthony Davis has waited patiently for the New Orleans Pelicans to assemble a cast around him that could be competitive in the West.
 
Still waiting...
 
The Pelicans have more big-name players on their roster this season, but those players, by and large, are well past their primes. And that will likely result in yet another playoff-less season.

 
New Orleans’ best hopes of bucking the odds and become a competitive, playoff-caliber team will hinge on how a couple of former Celtics perform.
 
Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo, both members of Boston’s 2008 championship team, will be looked upon to provide solid play as well as veteran leadership.
 
Rondo, now 31, a four-time All-Star, was in and out of the Chicago Bulls lineup last season before emerging in the playoffs with a pair of strong performances against the Celtics, which put Boston in a 2-0 series hole despite the first two games being at the TD Garden.
 
However, the point guard broke his right hand in Game 2 and was unable to return, which proved to be a major turning point as Boston went on to win the series in six games.
 
In Allen, the Pelicans add one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. And while he is 35, he doesn’t come with the kind of wear and tear you typically associate with a player his age.
 
That’s because Allen has not ever been a player to log major minutes. This past season in Memphis, Allen averaged a career-high 27.0 minutes per game.
 
Despite playing limited minutes, it still didn’t keep him from being recognized for his defense, which has led to him being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first or second team, six times (first team in 2012, 2013 and 2015; and second team in 2011, 2016 and 2017).
 
Those veterans will be important, but the key to making this work for New Orleans lies in how well Davis and DeMarcus Cousins mesh.
 
Acquired just before the trade deadline in February, the Pelicans were just 7-10 with Cousins in the lineup and 4-4 when he did not play.
 
However, that came on the fly, which is why there’s optimism in New Orleans that Davis and Cousins will work together even better with a training camp under their belts.
 
Ultimately, the Pelicans have to field a team that can be competitive, if for no other reason than to appease Davis.

While Davis has shown no signs of wanting to play elsewhere, you have to wonder just how much patience will he have with a New Orleans team that has made just one playoff appearance in his five NBA seasons.
 
Of the other 13 lottery picks from his draft, only one (Kendall Marshall) has made fewer playoff appearances.
 
Anything short of a playoff appearance will only lead to more questions about Davis being traded.
 
"I understand it's a business, but if I don't hear anything from Dell [Demps, the Pelicans general manager] or my agent, I don't pay attention to it," Davis told reporters this summer, regarding the rumors about being traded to Boston. "Once I first heard [the rumors], then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure. I found out it wasn't [true], and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven't paid attention to it since."
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Tony Allen (Memphis); Rajon Rondo (Chicago); Ian Clark (Golden State).
 
Key losses: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento); Tim Frazier (Washington); Terrence Jones (Qingdao Doublestar of Chinese Basketball Association); Langston Galloway (Detroit);
 
Rookies of note:
 None.
 
Expectations:
31-51 (fifth in the Southwest Division, 14th in the West).