Celtics vs. Miami Heat, Wednesday, Dec 18, 2002, 7:30pm
There's not a whole lot of detail in this game review, for one simple reason.

The Boston Celtics, for the first three-quarters, played a really bad basketball game.  They allowed the Miami Heat to score pretty much whenever they wanted to, and even a team as bad as Miami will score, if you keep giving them chances to.

The Celtics offense was, for the most part, nonexistent.  Nobody could seem to get anything going offensively.  There were open shots that missed; fast breaks that were easily rejected; and lots and lots of turnovers.

There was really no point in specifying any particular play or player.  It was uniformly bad.  They Celtics wasted an opportunity to keep themselves ahead of the rest of the Atlantic division by their uninspired play.  This was especially bad, as prior to the game, Pat Riley had described Antoine Walker has "the best point forward in NBA history".  Walker had been chosen as this week's Eastern Conference player of the week.  He certainly did not play like the player of the week tonight.

Prior to the game, I learned that Pat Riley had been fined $50,000 after his detailed opinion on the lack of quality with NBA officials.  I sincerely hope that's the legal will put the money to good use, preferably by hiring competent officials.

Tony Battie was fighting the flu, and had been sent home by halftime.  At least he had some kind of reasonable excuse for his lassitude.  Nobody else looked sick, just slow and tired.

All night long, Boston's offense was poor.  Their defense was poor.  They did not run.  They did not rebound.  They did not play like they had been sharing the same court for any length of time.  What I don't know, is why.  The Celtics had every reason to come out fighting tonight, after the embarrassing game against Chicago.  Yet, the only time the Celtics showed any energy whatsoever, was late in the fourth-quarter, as they made a last gasp run-that was more like a trot-to try to overcome what had been a 22 point Miami lead.

It was too little, and far too late.  Give the Heat credit, despite their lack of talent, they made the best of the opportunity that the Celtics handed them.  Miami played better than Boston.  Not a much better, just good enough to build a comfortable lead, and maintain it at the end.

Statistics would be pointless.  The field goal percentage was bad.  Free throw shooting was bad.  Rebounding was bad.  Assists, fast breaks, and smart play in general, was pretty much nonexistent.  This was the kind of game that cost Rick Pitino his coaching job with the Celtics.  I thought the Celtics liked Jim O'Brien.

The next game for Boston comes Friday, against the Minnesota Timberwolves.  If the Celtics insist on playing like they have the last two games, it will be a double-digit blowout by halftime.  The Celtics need to get their act together.  Now.  They've been lucky so far, because Philadelphia and New Jersey have not quite been able to capitalize on the poor play of the Boston Celtics.  We cannot reasonably expect that to continue.  It's time for the Boston Celtics to once again start playing as well as we know they can, before they ruin what has been to this point a promising season.

And that's the view from the doghouse.