Good, bad, & ugly: Hack-a-Dwight doesn't work out

Good, bad, & ugly: Hack-a-Dwight doesn't work out
January 13, 2014, 11:30 pm
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BOSTON — When the Boston Celtics went with a Hack-a-Dwight (Howard) strategy in the fourth quarter, he couldn't help but cringe just a little bit inside for doing so.

Howard, a 57.8 percent shooter from the free throw line, was 6-for-14 from the line in the fourth quarter.

But like most Hack-a-player plans, this one didn't quite work out as well as the Celtics would have hoped as the Rockets managed to escape with a 104-92 win.

With the loss, Boston (13-26) has now lost nine in a row.

After the game, Stevens acknowledged that the only reason he went with the strategy was because it is within the rules of the NBA.

"I would probably support a change in that, that wouldn't allow that, would call it intentional or whatever you want to call it. Call it like it would be called in the last two minutes.

Stevens added, "but because it's a rule and usually if a guy's making one out of two it makes you think twice. To his credit, he made one almost ... every time up to the foul line."

And although the Celtics were generating points at the other end via jumpers and lay-ups, Boston couldn't quite make up the necessary ground because of Howard's ability to consistently make at least one free throw.

Often teams will take out a player who struggles like that.

But the Rockets opted to keep him on the floor and it paid off with a victory.

"To their credit, they left him in, and to his credit, he knocked them in," Stevens said.

And with that we have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from yet another Celtics loss.

The Good

Avery Bradley

He continues to be the most consistent scorer on this team, finishing with a team-high 24 points on 11-for-21 shooting to go with five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot.

Jerryd Bayless

TD Garden fans have seen Bayless get hot before, but for a change it was for the Celtics and not against them. He finished with 17 points, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter. Boston will look for him to provide a similar spark going forward this season.

The Bad

Second and third quarters.

If there was a stretch of play in which the Celtics' latest game was lost, it would have to be the two middle quarters. In the first and fourth quarters, Boston was plus-8 and plus-7, respectively. In the second and third quarters, they were minus-17 and minus-10, respectively.

"In the middle we were dominated, really the better part of the second and third quarter," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "The game was won (for Houston) in the second and third."

The Ugly

Green's shooting

The roller coaster that is Jeff Green continues on with yet another poor night shooting the ball. He finished with just four points on 2-for-10 shooting which included him sitting the entire fourth quarter.

After the game, Green said he suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter and believed that was the reason why he didn't play a minute in the fourth quarter.