Another helping of postgame overreaction while daydreaming that Danny Ainge will be coaching this team come Game 5 . . .
1. I'm trying my best to give Paul Pierce the benefit of the doubt for his performance tonight, and I suppose he did do a pretty effective job defending LeBron. But offensively . . . man, he was just a horror show. He took too many ill-advised, contested 3-pointers in a desperate attempt to play the hero, missed a key open layup, had no lift or acceleration going to the hoop, and generally performed like a one-man tribute to Antoine Walker. LeBron's mom made better on-court decisions than Pierce did tonight, and again, I couldn't help but wonder if he's in worse shape physically than anyone has let on. Heck, at this point I almost hope that's the reason.
2. Tonight's Undeniable Proof That Doc Rivers Should Turn In His Barely-Used Clipboard And Return To Broadcasting Immediately: Well, as usual there's plenty to choose from - do they even have any offensive sets for Ray Allen? - but I'm going to go with the most blatant blunder: his brick-skulled decision to play P.J. Brown and Big Baby Davis together for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter while Kevin Garnett rested on the bench. Brown played relatively well - and Doc, a master of self-preservation, made sure to point out as much in his postgame press conference - but Davis has no business being on the court for meaningful minutes in this series, let alone in the fourth quarter of a tight game. Garnett can rest in July.
3. I thought this "They can't win on the road" storyline was a creation of the ill-informed sports radio banshees - after all, the only visiting team to win in the second round so far is Detroit, so it's hardly an issue specific to the Celtics. But I have to admit, after watching the Celtics drop their fifth straight postseason road game, I have to concede that it's at the least a legitimate flaw, and potentially a fatal one. I'm completely stumped as to why a team that frequently displayed a killer instinct while going 31-10 away from home during the regular season now looks passive defensively and disorganized offensively so often when playing in enemy territory. If you have any explanations, I'd love to hear them, right after you clue in Doc.
4. It's probably too late to return Eddie House to his rightful role as Designated Bomber - he seems to have lost confidence in his one outstanding skill, his jumper, which is understandable given that his minutes now belong to the tattered remains of Slingin' Sam Cassell - but I can't help but think he could have been an asset in a game where the Celtics scored 12 points in the final quarter. While he's the epitome of a streak shooter, House buried a lot of big shots for the Celtics during the course of their 66-win regular season. Now that the games really matter, he's buried on the bench. More and more, that's looking like the wrong move.
5. As for today's Completely Random Basketball Card:
(Edit, 3:52 p.m. - Ruland and Mahorn. Of course. Laimbeer was McWhiney, as well as McSuckerPunchedByTheChiefAndHadItComing.)
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.