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The small things add up

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 3, 2010 12:27 AM

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Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor (Boston 51.8, Houston 50.6) but Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn't as frustrated about the defense as he was about the Celtics shooting themselves in the foot. He praised Michael Finley for making head plays the 14 minutes he was on the floor, but he was critical of his team for breaking down at inopportune times, going as far to say the Cs "looked like a high school team at times" during their 119-114 loss to the Rockets last night.

"I didn’t think we played very smart tonight. There are so many little things that I could point out that I won’t, but throughout the game taking shots, when you should take the final shots at the end of quarters, and then it leads to them getting a three-point play, fouling in penalty when you’re up late in the game; no need to foul. We played like a high school team at times, as far as the way our thought process was

"... But there were so many little plays to me. No matter if you’re playing the Rockets, Cleveland – it didn’t matter who you were playing – that you had to make. And that a veteran team should make. And we didn’t make them. So that was a disappointment.”

DEFENSE DISAPPEARS
The Celtics established the formula for beating the Rockets: Control the 3-point, particularly against Aaron Brooks, but they strayed from it. Consequently, they gave up 100 points for the second straight game.

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In the five games on this homestand they've allowed an average of 101.4 points per night.

"We’re not going to win a lot if we’re giving up 101 a night," Rivers said.

The difference last night, was Brooks, who made tough shots, including a 26-footer to force OT, but Chase Budinger knocked down 6 of 8 threes as well.

"I think for the most part the effort is there, the assignments are there," Garnett said. "Guys just hitting shots. We knew Chase could hit shots but he made a big three tonight. I thought Aaron Brooks' three was a tough shot. Green’s shot was another tough shot. I guess teams are adapting and making plays and making adjustments toward the defense and they’re just making shots.”

RONDO PASSES COUSY
Brooks and Rajon Rondo, two players who made names for themselves in last year's playoffs and have since turned into stars for their respective teams, dueled last night.

rondodoc.JPGSeeing both leave their fingerprints on the game (Brooks 30 points, six assists; Rondo 23 points, 10 assists) showed not only how much they've improved but how different they are as point guards.

The performance gave Rondo 724 assists for the season, putting him ahead of Bob Cousy for the franchise record. He now has the single-season mark for assists and steals, though the loss spoils his latest milestone.

"It's great," said Kendrick Perkins, his best friend on the team. "I'm happy for him, glad he got the record. You can see he's playing with a lot of confidence. He played great tonight."

HOUSTON PLAYS IT OUT
They're officially out of playoff contention, they're missing even more parts than they were at the start of the season, and even after they fell behind b 11 in the first quarter to the Celtics, the Rockets kept playing.

scola.JPGThe common knock on NBA teams is that they pack it in once April comes and playoff hopes are crushed, but the Rockets picked up a win over one of the East's best teams, even if the reward was just staying over .500 (38-37)

“For the last two weeks or so, we finally realized how important it is to win these types of games," said Luis Scola, who scored 27 points, drilling the dagger with 51.8 seconds left. "It’s great and we have to keep going because it is just one game. We have seven more, we have to keep playing with this energy and then again, you know we can miss a couple of shots and lose. It’s not about winning and losing, but playing the way you want to play. Sooner or later your going to win.”

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