2003-04 season game 9: Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, Nov 14, 2003  7:30pm
The Celtics Beagle working hard on his next review.
The Celtics came into tonight's game with their ears no doubt blistering from the words Jim O'Brien used to critique their nonexistent running game against Chicago two days earlier.

The Cavs had lost 27 straight road games, plus 10 straight to the Celtics, and Boston wanted no part of being the team to break that particular run.  There was, of course, a lot of hype attendant upon the arrival of LeBron James.  Most NBA players have teeth older than him.

To hear the hype, you'd think he was the second coming of Larry Bird, and indeed, Tommy Heinsohn used the name in comparison, along with that of Magic Johnson.  Bob Cousy, joining the broadcast fun once more, wasn't prepared to go that far.  Cooz hadn't yet seen the kid play, but had read the scouting report indicating that LeBron's outside shot was "suspect".

Going back to the sole reason I bothered watching Cleveland play basketball, the C's needed to redeem themselves after their previous effort.  To say it "wasn't up to contemporary professional standards" was understating it.  Boston needed to show they could defend, run, and score.  Frankly, after last game, I'd have been glad for one out of three.

By the way, in order to differentiate between LeBron James and Mike James, Mike will be "James" and LeBron will be LBJ.  It's to save time and typing.  So no, I'm not poking fun at a former president.

I'm far too busy poking fun at the current one, anyway.  :>)))

First Quarter:

Jim O'Brien tinkered with his lineup, as Jumaine Jones made the starting lineup along with Vin Baker at Forward.  Perhaps he wants people to run more?  Anyway, Mike James and Paul Pierce joined in at Guard, and Tony Battie at Center completed the C's starting lineup against the Cavs.  Brandon Hunter remained on the IL, but in a surprise move--well, it was a surprise to me, anyway--Raef LaFrentz went on the IL, per Danny Ainge on WWZN (Boston Radio), with tendonitis and an infection, having lost 12 pounds.  That leaves a spot open for Kendrick Perkins to eventually make his way onto the court.

For their part, Cleveland sent out Carlos Boozer and Darius Miles at Forward, Ricky Davis and whatshisname at Guard, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas at Center to represent former Celtics legend Paul Silas, now the head Coach of the Cavaliers.  The Cavs were without the services of Michael Stewart and DaJuan Wagner, both on the IL.

As the game began, Cooz wisely cautioned that the C's shouldn't concentrate on LBJ to the extent they forgot about the other four guys on the court.  Meanwhile, 14 seconds into the game, Mike James was called for a defensive three seconds.  That's not inspiring much confidence in the PG position.  Maybe the C's can work a deal with Cooz--broadcast a few games, and come off the bench for a few.  :>))

The good news was that the Cavs missed the free throw.  The bad news was they got the ball back and Ilgauskas scored an open jumper.  At the other end,Baker dropped a pass, but the C's were able to get it back off a Cav miss.  Pierce found his passing groove, feeding an open Tony Battie for a deep two. 

Cousy opined that while the cavs could "fill it up" offensively, that their defense was actually their Achille's heel.  As the game unfolded, he would prove to be quite right about that assessment.  Darius Miles still takes lousy shots.  Cousy didn't say that--I did, after watching him hoist one up.

But Vin Baker takes good shots, notably as the trailer after snagging the rebound to Mike James, and getting it back just behind the free throw line for an open look.  But Ilgauskas got it back on a much too easy play at the other end.  Then Pierce fed Battie once more from the opposite side of the court as his last shot, with the same positive results.  But Ilgauskas once more worked his way under the hoop for two points.

At long last following the "if it works, do it again" style of play, Pierce fed Battie once more--this time from near the top of the arc.  Broadcaster Mike Gorman commented that Battie had knee problems and a kicked calf.  Cooz, after witnessing the offensive results from the Bat-Man, made a deadpan suggestion, "Let's kick him in the calf every night."

At least, I think he was kidding...  :>))

James did make a good run, dropping it to Pierce.  Paul tried to pass it in to Vin under the hoop, but the pass went awry.  LBJ made a nice cut to the hoop for two.  Jumaine Jones replied with a shot clock basket.

Then Battie decided to take the ball and launch a good jumper--his fourth consecutive basket.  Cooz asked Tommy, who had seen the Bat-Man play more than he had, if Tony had ever opened up with four straight baskets.  Tommy replied that he couldn't ever remember them giving Tony the ball four straight times!

Then Vin took a calm fadeaway jumper for two more.  It had become obvious that Cleveland's plan was to double up on Pierce and dare the rest of the team to beat them.  They weren't running a zone, though, so the rest of the team WAS beating them. 

There was one extremely annoying play, when Baker took a rebound down, and took off on the break with Blount and James.  Vin got the ball to James just after halfcourt, and James fired it back to Blount at the free throw line.  Blount's shot fell absurdly short, bouncing off the front of the rim, and directly in the the hands of the lone Cav defender.  When you get three on one and are really running like that, having that kind of shot is like trying to bench press a bus.  It's just plain dumb, because you KNOW it's not going to work.  Meanwhile the Cavs showed us how to ruin a break, getting an easy two off Blount's silly shot.  Timeout was called with 4:42 left in the quarter, and Boston leading it, 15-14.

When time came back in, mention was made of the fact that the Cavs had a 12-zip lead in paint points.  Almost as if he'd heard, Pierce went to the hoop off a pass from Jiri Welsch for two paint points--but missed the free throw after the made hoop!  But on the next trip up, Paul made up for it, as Welsh passed him the ball.  Pierce faked a three and drove uncontested to the hoop form two more.

LBJ came back with a three from the corner, prompting Cooz to quip, "So that's his weakness, huh?"  Tommy replied, "So much for the scouting report!"  Blount made another mental mistake at the hoop, taking a fallaway shot over Ilgauskas that fell out of the basket.  Cooz chided him, saying that at seven feet tall, you take it to the hoop.  I have to agree with him.

Ricky Davis hit a turnaround shot, prompting Cousy to say, "How is this team 2-6?  They're looking pretty good so far!"  Then Pierce made the same move he'd made a few minutes earlier, from nearly the same spot, faking the three and driving in for an easy two.  Unfortunately it was a little TOO much like the previous play--he missed the free throw again.

The C's then blew another fast break opportunity, as Welsch, Waltah! and Pierce broke for the hoop, with only one Cav defender keeping up, and one ahead of them.  Jiri brought the ball up, but held it much too long, only dumping to Pierce at the free throw line, with both defenders set in front.  Waltah! wasn't a factor in the play, and the Cavs were gambling that Jiri was looking for Pierce all the way.  By this time, though the pace had slowed sufficiently that two more defenders got back.  The C's ended up with a bad shot by Eric Williams for their trouble.

Jiri made up for it by taking a charge off LBJ.  Piercesat and Kedrick came in.  Eric Williams' shot bounced off the backboard.  But Blount rejected a Cav shot after they got away with travelling.  Davis eventually turned it over to Boston.  Eric drew the foul at the other end and went to the line for two, making both--his first two points tonight.  Blount tore down a defensive rebound, and the C's played for the last shot of the quarter, but Waltah!'s shot didn't go.  The first quarter ended with the Good Guys ahead, 23-20.  In the opening quarter, Boston had shot 46% to Cleveland's 43%.  But the Cavs held a 12-6 edge in paint points.  The C's had an 8-7 edge in assists.  Boston's shooting was a relief, but the Cav's shooting was worrisome.  There were too many second chance points off offensive rebounds for them, and not nearly enough rebounding by Boston.

Second Quarter:

The C's opened up the second quarter with a flurry of activity on the offensive board, resulting in a Tony tip-in.  Then the next trip up, Tony drew the foul.  In assessing the C's rebounding problem, he believes that the C's spend too much effort tracking the ball instead of the man, and letting the player lead them to the ball--while maintaining good defensive position against the player, of course.  I realized, after reviewing a few defensive stands by the C's, that they were indeed tracking the ball, and letting people like Ilgauskas get good defensive position.  I also noticed that both teams ran faster on defense than offense.  It was a rare occasion for either team to be coming up on offense without several defenders waiting for them.

Eric Williams scored another basket while drawing the foul.  He uses really good ball fakes.  Eric finally made the free throw.  Gorman commented that all Eric did "was live on the low post" in college.

The next Cavs possession proved Tommy's point about defense--Mihm literally walked unobstructed into the lane, and every Celtic player was focused on the man with the ball.  It resulted in an easy inside pass to Migm for two.  Even had it not gone in, Mihm had ideal rebounding position.  I bet if I went back to the other games, I'd see a lot of that.

Eric took another shot over Newble, then grabbed the rebound at the defensive end.  James would then leave it for Baker to sink a deeep two, as time was called with 9 minutes left in the half, and Boston with the lead, 32-22.

Following the timeout, Eric put up a shot clock three against a Cav defense that was playing a LOT better than their record would indicate them capable of.  The Cavs, to me have always been hard to define--one minute awful, the next, all-star.  It seemed to come down to catching them at the right time, and this was one of Cleveland's good nights.

Eric took a well-deserved rest as Pierce finally re-entered the game.  The C's run had been largely accomplished with Pierce on the bench!  LBJ mistakenly thought he could guard Pierce one on one, and two points later, found he was wrong.  But Mihm got it back on a dunk.  Pierce drew the defense and gave Kedrick the chance to hit a three, which he did.

It was annoying to see the C's let Mihm take a foolish outside jumper, only to have Cleveland easily rebound the ball for another shot.  This time, Ricky Davis made the C's pay with a drive to the hoop.

Pierce got a nice feed and zoomed to the hoop--but even as fast as he moved, the entire Cav defense dropped in on him and the shot just missed.  It was obvious once more that whenver Pierce was on the floor, he was the only player of consequence for the Cavs defense.  Paul Silas was gambling that the rest of the C's wouldn't be able to compensate if they wore Paul down.  Guess he wasn't paying attention to the run Boston made with Pierce on the bench.

Still, the Cavs were still dominating the boards, especially when they were on offense.  Battie had to hug the ball in close justto finally corral it, and that allowed the Cavs to get back on defense, with no chance for a Celtic fast break.

But the C's were utilizing the trailer on the play well, this time as Pierce fed Blount for two more.  Time was called with 5:24 left and Boston leading, 41-30.  Boston was outshooting the Cavs 53% to 38%, yet barely had a double digit lead.  Blount took the ball up, only to have it stuffed into his face.  Pierce ended up taking the charge off LBJ to stop the break.  This prompted Cooz to recite the old maxim, "You play good defense with the feet, not with the hands."  Cooz may seem pedantic at times, but he's rarely wrong.

Pierce took a fallaway where Tommy observed that Paul fell a bit too far during the shot, leaving it short.  I wonder if Paul is subconciously used to getting contact on that shot and going to the line.  Cousy commented that Pierce was taking himself out of the play with that kind of move.

Cleveland made a nice offensive effort resulting in a Boozer basket.  Cousy remarked that thie was not the play of a 2-6 team.  He seemed truly mystified as to how they could play as well as they were tonight, yet be so wretched in the standings.  I agreed--the Cavs were playing a lot better than their talent--and history--would lead anyone to reasonably expect.

Pierce drew the defense and made a great drop pass to Battie.  Tony got hammered on the way in and went to the line for two.  He made one of two.  Blount stole the ball at the other end, and took it up himself, making a great spin move that most big men would never dream of trying.  It very nearly went in past the defense.

Jumaine Jones made a nice baseline feed to Blount, but Mark got the ball stuffed in his face for his trouble.  Battie snagged the rebound, but got fouled as he went up for the shot.  At the line, he made both.  Tony was having a great quarter offensively.

Blount took down Boozer's shot, and then rebounded Battie's miss with a nice bounce pass to an incoming Jiri Welsch.  Jiri's shot went in and out, unfortunately--it was a really smooth play!  With 2:19 left, time was called as Boston held a 44-36 lead over Cleveland.

Pierce went to the hoop on the next play, and Tommy grumbled about a non call on Pierce--but to be honest, it could have gone either way, Pierce gave as good as he got there.  But Welsch intercepted the outlet pass and Battie made it drop through the net.  Ilgauskas responded almost as fast with a shot.  But the Cavs weren't all the way there on defense, leaving Vin Baker wide open on a trip to the hoop.

Then Kedrick zoomed upcourt to bring the C's lead back up to a dozen.  But Darius Miles got it back after another Cleveland rebound.  Then Welsch made another great pass to Blount, who made it good for two more.  Then Ilgauskas got another basket off a rebound as halftime arrived with the score now 52-42.


The C's offense--while I'd prefer more and faster running--was pretty good so far.  But Cleveland was getting WAY too many offensive rebounds, and generally playing a heck of a lot better than I had any reason to believe.  The C's needed to really put the defensive clamps on the Cavs before disaster happened.

Boston was outshooting the Cavs, 41% to 38%.  Cleveland outrebounded boston 31-21 and 12-6 on offensive boards alone--but the Cavs got a lot of that on rebounding their own misses.  what helped Boston was the 9-2 edge Cleveland had in turnovers, and the 20-6 bench lead enjoyed by the C's.  But the Cavs--again, those rebounds--outdid our team 28-16 in paint points.

If the C's could deal with the rebounding issue without lessening the offense, then Boston could take this one home as a win.

Third Quarter:

Vin Baker was trying to set an example by inserting himself amidst the entire Cavs team for an offensive rebound, and got fouled as he took the rebound and put it back up.  His first trip to the line this evening was a successful one, going 2-2.  Baker also worked the defensive end, taking down Boozer's miss and sending the C's back up on offense.  Battie's shot bounced out, and Baker nearly got it back in--perhaps if he'd had a little HELP in there?  Huh, guys?  Maybe someone in there WITH Vin?

Yeah, right.  Like the Celtics are going to see this.  Still, venting helps.

Darius Miles can take as many bad outside jumpers as he likes, he's still a ball hog with a bad shot.  I can't believe he was once going to be the primary PG for the Cavs.  Eep.  Vin Baker hit a nice fallaway, though I'm not sure that's really Vin's best kind of shot.  Still, you don't argue shot selection with a man whose percentage is in the top five of the NBA.

I'm not sure what happened next, as my tv started displaying the view as seen through a heat sensor, a lovely blobby orange with some purple spots along the top and bottom of the screen.  Guess it was the NBA League Pass feed to Mars.  Eleven seconds later, we went back to earth-normal transmission.

The Cavs defense was beginning to extend outward, and slow the C's down.  It wasn't--quite--a zone, but close enough to annoy the Good Guys.  It seemed to work, as the Boston cooled off a bit. Mike James bounced out two straight outside heaves.  Mark Blount took a charge off LBJ, and we got the ball back.  Pierce drew the defense and popped the pumpkin to Blount, whose shot was halfway down before bouncing out--but he got fouled taking that three, and went to the line.  He missed the first, hit the second, and smoothly dropped he third.

But it was clear that Pierce was going to be smothered every time he got the ball near the hoop.  I just wish the people he was passing to would move a little closer to the hoop before shooting.  Can't blame Paul if his only passing options keep launching threes.

It did seem that a lot of things that weren't called in the first half suddenly became problems on the floor, as a number of fouls were whistled with annoying frequency.  Paul made a nice outlet pass, but Janes' three didn't fall, and Vin and Jumaine crossed each other up going for the rebound.  Jumaine made a foul as Boozer went for the monster dunk. But he made both at the line.

Blount made a dangerous--and frankly, dumb--pass to Baker under the hoop, betting that none of the three Cavs players between them would get to it.  Lucky for Mark that super Vin somehow snagged the ball one-handed, stayed inbounds, and managed to pass it off to Jones.  Jumaine fired it up to Pierce, who was, for once, open.  Paul drove to the hoop, but the ball was kicked.  Back inbounds, Pierce took a shot, and got too cute trying to draw the foul, sending up an airball which the Cavs happily retrieved and scored with.  This made it 58-53 with 7 minutes left in the third.

Next time up, Pierce got off a much better shot from the free throw line that rattled in and out.  The C's tried extending their defense the way Cleveland was, but the C's aren't so good at that yet.  Tommy wasn't any happier than I was about the way the C's slowed their offense down to give Pierce scoring chances.  I was of the opinion that you give the shot to whomever's hot.  Some nights, unquestionably, that was Pierce.  Tonight wasn't really one of those nights, not unless the C's could make the Cavs drop the doubleteam.  Mark Blount made an excellent illustration as good ball movement resulted in a good interior shot.

Then Eric Williams showed that the premise of moving the ball--and the feet--worked for him too.  On the next play, James got a break, but never looked to see who was running with him, electing to take it alone into the defense, instead of looking to Vin Baker and Mark Blount, who could have easily run a give and go with him.  James has talent, and a decent shot, but he just doesn't seem to read the court as well as he should.  Cleveland blew it's chance as Davis took a silly jumper, easily rebounded by Pierce.  Paul took it to Darius Miles for an easy two.  Time was called with 4:31 left and the C's leading 64-56.

Following the timeout, Marcus Banks made his first entry to the game as Eric Williams shot the ball over the backboard (it did bounce off the rim first--he shoots better than THAT)  Then Ilgauskas got a way with an elbo into Battie's stomach, knocking him to the floor.  Eric Williams tripped over him trying to block the shot, and Ilgauskas went to the line on the foul that was actually called.

What, you forgot the ref's rule, "No favoring the Celtics"?  They must have had a chuckle over Jermaine's O'Neal's comments the other night...

Eric then drew more contact and went back to the line, making both.  If Eric is going to go to the line this often, he'd better be making both.  At the other end, after repeated Cav rebounds, Eric and Kedrick finally took down a rebound.  Banks hit an open three at the other end.  Time was called with 2:50 left in the third quarter and the C's lead now at 69-59.

Eric Williams made a good drop to Blout, but the shot bounced out.  Good shot attempt, though.  Kedrick tore down a rebound and the C's zipped upcourt.  Battie missed, but retrieved his own rebound and the C's reset the offense.  Eric made it drop this time, with Blount there for the cleanup rebound if needed.  I have to say, the C's are very slowly getting the hang of dealing with the zone defenses, though they still need to work on simply outrunning them.  In the Cav's case, the defense is predicated on doubling Pierce--who was, at this moment, on the bench. 

Banks committed a traveling violation, but made up for it, staying in the play on defense and blocking a shot.  But the Cavs were still pounding the offensive boards at every opportunity.  I wish the C's would learn from that.  Quickly.

Banks went to the line, making both.  The C's finally started playing the pass, but Battie was called for a foul.  Justice prevailed as Newble missed the first, but made the second.  Boston played for the last shot of the quarter, and Eric was fouled off a cool fake before the shot, going to the line.  He made the first, and you could hear Coach O'Brien holler "SOMEBODY ON THE BALL!", in case Eric missed the second.

He did, they didn't, and the Cavs heaved the ball toward the hoop.  They didn't get it to go, and the third quarter came to an end with the Celtics leading it, 74-64.  WHY can't they listen to Obie???

So far, so good--the C's were still outshooting the Cavs, 44%-38%, and the bench was 34-11 favoring the Good Guys.  Even the turnovers were good, with the Cavs leading that, 11-4.  It was the rebounding at both ends that looked like it would make the difference, along with the offensive effectiveness of both teams in the final twelve minutes.

Fourth Quarter:

Kedrick rebounded a miss from former Celtics player JR Bremer.  This led to a nice running jumper from Waltah! off the baseline.  Fouls were now being quickly called against the C's.  The Cavs were 20-28--going 12-20 in the third quarter alone--whilst the C's were 15-20.  A bit lopsided, but not as bad overall as I had thought in the previous quarter.

LBJ then hit for a three, and I was getting a bit nervous.  The C's kept slowing the ball down, and only the fact that Vin drew a foul made it at all bearable.  Baker hit one of two.  Aaugh.  But Vin rebounded one of those bad Ricky Davis shots.  Love it when he just launches from way out there.

There was an odd ofensive sequence, where Pierce's shot didn't hit anything.  Kedrick had the rebound and somple lost it over the baseline.  Weird stuff, there.  Maybe "Lucky" doesn't like white sneaks. :>)

Next play, Pierce got the rebound and quickly passed to James, but he slowed it down and all the C's got was a bad shot clock heave.  Bleah.  On the other end, only a Blount foul kept Miles from an easy hoop.  Justice prevailed as Miles missed the first.  Sadly, he made the second.

Pierce made a nice move to get to the hoop, but the shot got rejected.  LBJ and DAvis made the C's pat quickly at the other end.  Mark Blount was suprised to be double teamed, but Diop was called for the reach in.  Pierce got a reasonably open look, but it didn't go.  blount and Baker went up for the rebound, but lost control to the Cavs. 

But Eric Williams stole the ball at the other end and he and James zoomed toward the other end.  Normally, Eric should have run a give and go with James, but he was sandwiched between two defenders, practically a guaranteed steal if Eric tried the pass.  He faked the pass, hoping the lead defender would bite, but no such luck.  LBJ made a great defensive play to stop a gimme basket by Williams.  Cooz thought Eric should have made the pass to James, but I think it would have been too risky.  Then again, Cooz probably could have made the pass in his sleep.

The Cavs threw it away at the other end, then ran full defense against the C's.  Pierce finally drew a foul, but the Cavs weren't yet in the penalty.  Blount then got called setting a screen, but it looked to me like his man slipped and fell.

Pierce got an opening, and drove to the hoop, drawing a foul.  He made one, as Welsch came in for James.  Then his second rattled in.  Jiri immediately instituted some fullcourt defense on the Cavs, giving them a taste of their own nasty medicine.  But for an errant bounce, Battie would have had the steal.  James took a shot clock three that bounced off, but the Cavs kept getting rebounds and more chances at the hoop until finally, the ball settled through the hoop.  Aaugh!

Pierce drew the defense some more and they left Battie open,  Pierce's pass got to him and Battie made it good for two.  The C's defense was getting tougher on the passes, forcing the Cavs to take outside shots.  Pierce grabbed the rebounded miss and the C's went back on the offensive, and pushed the pace a bit.  The shot from Eric didn't go, and Baker just missed the offensive rebound.

LBJ tried a fast break, only to find Pierce and Welsch blocking his way, and forcing him to back it out.  Then Vin teamed with Jiri to increase pressure.  diop was forced to an outside jumper, but he made it.  Pierce tried to create something along the baseline, only to fly sideways past the baseline, along the width of the lane, and plow into the row of cameramen as he got fouled.   There's got to be an easier way to create offense.  Time was called with 5:05 left in the game and the C's leading it, 81-76.

After a minute to make sure Pierce was still in one piece, he came back and hit both free throws.  Maybe now he'll try letting his teammates pass him the ball as he cuts to the hoop.  The C's played tough defense at the other end and drove it up.  Somehow, the ball was kicked while Eric Williams was holding onto it.  Eric sent it back in, and Pierce got a clean look at a move to the hoop, drawing a much gentler foul and another trip to the line, making both.

Davis threw it away again, and Baker made a nice pass to Eric.  Williams' shot didn't go, but he  did scramble for his own rebound, and was fouled the second time up to the hoop.  He made the first, but Ilgauskas grabbed the ball as the second missed it's mark.

The Bat-Man took down an LBJ miss, and the C's made good ball movement to give Vin a decent shot.  It bounced out and Vin got it out to James to reset the offense.  Pierce was left open long enough to knock in a three.  Vin rebounded a Cav miss and fired the ball to Pierce.  Eric Williams was called for an offensive foul and time was called with 2:20 left and the Good Guys still ahead, 89-76.

When time came back in, the crowd was finally making that loud sound that filled the place during the playoffs as LBJ missed a three.  Unfortunately, Pierce and Baker both tried to rebound and lost the ball out of bounds.  In all that noise, you couldn't have heard anyone yelling, "I got it!"  Still, good effort.

Tommy was put out when Battie was called trying to help stop Ilgauskas, but Tony was still moving, so the call--however annoying--was good.  The problem was that Ilgauskas was carrying the ball as he went to the hoop.  I'm guessing the refs felt that Tony's foul caused the travel.  I'm not so sure about that.  In addition, they ended up putting the foul on Vin, even though he was in good position!

Two free throws later, James took a deep two for his first points of the evening.  LBJ missed again, and Battie's shot was short at the other end.  The Cavs scored once more, and Baker's shot went over the backboard.  Vin was called for another foul, and two free throws later, the C's brought it up once more.  James rebounded Eric's miss, and dribbled out the clock as the Celtics won the game, 91-82.

This was a good win, even if the C's needed to improve their offensive speed and rebounding.  Cleveland gave them a much better game than expected and the C's did respond well.

Cookies and Crumbs:

Cookies go to:

Vin Baker: 13 points on 5-9 shooting, 3-4 at the line, 11 rebounds and a steal.

Eric Williams: 17 points on 5-12 shooting, 7-9 at the line, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.

Paul Pierce: 19 points on 6-16 shooting, 6-8 at the line, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks.

Tony Battie: 15 points on 6-13 shooting, 3-4 at the line, and 7 rebounds.

Crumbs left for:

Mike James: If you're the point guard, don't go 1-7 shooting.

Marcus Banks:  If you're the point guard, you don't have 0 assists.

The C's co-dependence with Pierce.  When he's on the bench, the offense flows.  When he's in the game, everyone on both teams pays way too much attention to him.  Let the game go with the flow.  Pierce is passing well, don't keep forcing the ball to him when he can't do anything with it.  Pierce, on the other paw, needs to realize that some nights, it's better to just keep passing the ball, shooting only often enough to keep the defense honest.

Next up, the C's go to New York City and the Knicks.

And that's the view from the doghouse.