Patriots

Celtics-Spurs review: Celtics worn down

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Celtics-Spurs review: Celtics worn down

SAN ANTONIO Aside from being on the short end of a 103-88 road loss to San Antonio, Doc Rivers liked a lot about Saturday's game.

But as the game wore on, it appeared as though the Celtics were simply worn down.

"I thought we played hard," Rivers said. "I honestly thought we got fatigued. So that's something ... we have to get in a little better shape because we want to play at that pace."

Rivers added, "it was a good pace; the game was a good pace. It was a fun game to watch. But the difference was I thought San Antonio was used to doing that and continued to do it throughout the game. They were able to sustain their play, and we couldn't. I thought that was the difference in the game."

It is disturbing to say the least that we're just barely past the first quarter mark of the season and the C's are already showing signs of being unable to sustain the necessary energy levels needed in order to play deep into the playoffs.

Even Kevin Garnett acknowledged that fatigue might have been a culprit in Saturday's loss - Boston's second straight in as many nights.

"Second half, you could see the fatigue come tired legs," said Garnett who quickly added that there are, "still no excuses. You step on the floor, you suit up. You have to perform."

Lately, the Celtics' performances haven't been good enough to do the only thing that truly matters to this franchise - win games and lots of them.

Here's how some of the keys identified prior to tonight's game actually played out as the Celtics will have three days to regroup before they return to the floor with the goal being to get another winning streak started on the road at Chicago on Tuesday.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rajon Rondo had a near triple-double of points (15), assists (13) and sadly, turnovers (seven) in the Rockets loss. Look for him to do a much better job in terms of limiting his miscues despite San Antonio's better-than-average defense.

WHAT WE SAW: Sadly, Rondo had another seven-turnover performance which was among the many problems that plagued Boston on Saturday night. It was quite a different story for his counterpart on San Antonio's roster, Tony Parker, who easily won this individual matchup with a game-high 22 points and eight assists; and of course the game as well.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs Tim Duncan. Two of the greatest big men of this generation, every opportunity to see these two champions duel it out in the twilight of their careers should be cherished.

WHAT WE SAW: Saturday's duel won't go down as one of their best, but each did their part to keep their respective teams in the game. Garnett had 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting while Duncan grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Do not be surprised if Paul Pierce has one of those statement-type performances. He had 18 points against Houston, but did so shooting 5-for-18 from the field. Knowing the Houston loss was a step back in the team's develop and growth this season, look for the Captain to try and get the C's back on track.

WHAT WE SAW: The Captain had a solid all-around game (18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals), but it wasn't nearly enough for the C's to get a road win over San Antonio - always a challenge.

STAT TO TRACK: The Spurs have evolved into an offensive power, averaging 104.8 points per game which ranks second in the NBA. Keeping them under 100 points scored is the key to beating them, evident by four of their six losses this season coming when they fail to reach triple digits scoring.
WHAT WE SAW: San Antonio cracked the 100-point plateau with a steady game offensively by scoring 25 or 26 points in every quarter of play that proved to be too much for the Celtics to contend with on Saturday night.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.