4.08.2008

C's Lose, Fall to 65-15

Celtics Fall to 65-15 with Loss

Mike Gminski deserved to win. The Celtics deserved not to win. Life can't get simpler than that.

Of course, in the case of the Nets vs. the Celtics , virtue isn't always properly rewarded. Mike Newlin once threw in 52 against the Celtics without winning.

But justice triumphed last night, when Gminski's career highs of 41 points (the first 39 of which were truly meaningful, the last two of which were frosting) and 22 rebounds carried the Nets past the Celtics, 108-98, at Brendan Byrne Arena.

Was K.C. Jones worried about this game? What do you think? He had a backcourt of Sam Vincent and Rick Carlisle out there for a long stretch of the second half, and David Thirdkill even joined them for a spell. Jerry Sichting, who was the only Celtic in double figures at the half (10), played one more minute.

"We got a run," K.C. said. "We got a good sweat. It was a good test of keeping up our conditioning."

In other words, as long as nobody got himself injured or arrested, K.C. was happy.

They had a pretty good shot at winning, anyway. The Celtics led by 14 (51-37) in the second quarter, 12 (64-52) in the third quarter, six (83-77) after three quarters and eight (85-77) early in the fourth period. The effort they put forth, as basic as it was, very well might have earned them victory No. 66 had Gminski not played what had to be the best game of his professional career.

It was Gminski who carried the Nets to the 1-yard line with his sturdy inside play, but it was Otis Birdsong who had the honor of actually taking them into the end zone. With the score 97-95, New Jersey, Birdsong scored the next seven Nets points. The Celtics never scored again from the floor, their last basket being a jump hook by Kevin McHale with 3:13 remaining which created that 97-95 situation.

Be not deceived, however. Birdsong cannot be characterized as a hero, not when it was Gminski who twice brought the Nets back from important deficits (such as when he scored six straight Nets points when they were down, 85-81, earlier in the fourth quarter), and not when Birdsong had so much to do with the Celtics building up some of their previous leads with his ill- advised, off-balance jumpers.

Boston had stretches of embarrassing dominance in the first half, moving ahead, 51-37, at one point, thanks mainly to a jump-shooting spree by Sichting, who hit his first five shots. But at no time were the Celtics especially intense defensively, or on the boards (New Jersey would outrebound them, 57-39), and the Nets were thus allowed to hang around the game and develop the thought that victory was possible.

Through it all, Larry Bird was busy playing one of those Basic Contempt games, wherein he alternates prolonged stretches of not shooting with concentrated bursts of weird shooting. You know he's fooling around when, after hardly shooting at all, he suddenly cranks up three-pointers on successive trips downcourt. He was something of a presence on the boards (10 rebounds) and he passed creatively (7 assists), but he drifted in and out of the offense all night.

Gminski, meanwhile, started off quickly with 12 of the first 23 New Jersey points, and he never let up. Only one other rival -- Dominique Wilkins -- has scored more points against the Celtics this year, and nobody has gotten more rebounds. Any man playing this hard on April 9 clearly deserves to be on the winning side.

McHale established a career high with 8 assists. Asked what it means when McHale leads the team in assists, Bird said, "It probably means that when we get out to our bus, it will have a flat tire."

3 comments:

FLCeltsFan said...

Thanks again for the parallel articles on the 86 C's. They have been some of my favorite reading this season.

Lex said...

My pleasure.

Maybe the two season will coincide to the very end!

Lex said...

My pleasure.

Maybe the two season will coincide to the very end!

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