April 19, 2007
The Celtics fittingly ended the
season with a league minimum eight players in uniform, including just
six healthy bodies, and yet again not enough left to survive a
The C's, with late-scratch Delonte
West resting an injured hand and a flu-ridden Gerald Green attempting to
get up to speed, suffered a 91-89 loss last night to the Detroit
Pistons, courtesy of a Flip Murray jumper with one tenth of a second
left in regulation.
In what has become
a familiar pattern during this healing-up period in the NBA, the
Pistons gave their most tender regulars a rest, with Chauncey Billups,
Richard Hamilton and Chris Webber in street clothes, and Rasheed Wallace
and Tayshaun Prince making only cameo appearances in the first half.
The 24-58 Celtics, against a lineup of Pistons scrubs in the second half, took the lead four times in the fourth quarter.
the Pistons regained the lead, Ryan Gomes cut the margin to a basket
with a scoop and then rebounded a Murray miss down the other end. Gomes
missed a 20-footer, Leon Powe grabbed the rebound and Rajon Rondo called
a timeout with 18.5 seconds left. Rondo attempted to drive on Lindsey
Hunter, drew the foul instead and hit both free throws for the 89-89 tie
with 3.9 seconds left.
Detroit inbounded with 3.9 seconds left and Murray drained an off-balance 10-footer under tight coverage from Rondo.
Gomes and Rondo finished with 19 points apiece. Allan Ray added 18 for the C's and Al Jefferson had 17.
Jefferson the new standard of how these young Celtics can improve,
coach Doc Rivers pondered who might become next season's Big Al.
``It would have to be Gerald Green,'' Rivers said. ``But if he wants to get the minutes next year, he has to defend.''
It sounds like Green has already been given his summer school assignment.
in the NBA is more about know-how, a sense of urgency and knowing who
you're guarding,'' Rivers said. ``With Gerald, they beat him half the
time with their minds. So next year he has to be a better defender on
Rivers mentioned another possibility for next year's most improved Celtic.
``Me,'' he said. ``We'll be healthy, we'll have a high draft pick, and as a result I'll be a better coach.''
More of the same
It wouldn't be the 2006-07 season without a game-night injury surprise, and last night was hardly an exception.
strained two ligaments in his left (shooting) hand in the process of
scoring 28 points during Monday night's victory in Miami. Brian
Scalabrine, who had missed the previous 13 games with a strained left
hamstring, was home recovering from hand surgery that was performed
yesterday at New England Baptist Hospital.
The Celtics missed 312 player games to injuries. . . .
Red Sox have rescheduled last week's rained-out pregame tribute to
Celtics legend Red Auerbach to tomorrow night. With Bill Russell having
returned home, Bob Cousy will throw out the first pitch before the Sox
open up a series against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.