Game notes from an ugly Friday the 13th
BOSTON -- A handful of leftovers after Atlanta's 97-86 win over Boston on Friday night at the TD Garden:
FREAKY FRIDAYS: Forget that it was Friday the 13th; the Celtics haven't had much luck on any Friday in November thus far.
For the second straight week, the Celtics lost a Friday night home game. One week ago, a tired Celtics squad watched Phoenix race to a
110-103 victory over their dead-legged squad, which struggled from 3-point land and the free-throw line.
It was more of the same this week as the Celtics were a gruesome 1-of-15 (6.7 percent) from behind the arc and connected on just 13 of 19 free throws (68.4 percent).
"I think all losses, to me, feel the same," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Whether we're tired or not. We were fresh and well-practiced, they just beat us.
Phoenix beat us, and Atlanta beat us.
And [Atlanta] beat us with their play. They came in with a game plan and they ran it to perfection. We came in with a game plan and we didn't do it well. In both games, really."
The Celtics' Friday schedule this month doesn't get much easier, with visits from Orlando and Toronto on tap.
BOOS FOR BIBBY: A year and a half after his comments about "bandwagon fans" in Boston, Hawks point guard Mike Bibby still got showered with boos each time he touched the ball at the start of Friday's game.
At the beginning of the Celtics-Hawks playoff series in April 2008, Bibby said: "[The Celtics fans] were kind of loud at the beginning.
But a lot of these fans are bandwagon jumpers trying to get on this now. I played here last year, too [with Sacramento], and I didn't see three-fourths of them. They're for the team now and they might get a little rowdy, but that's about it."
Bibby, brother-in-law to Celtics reserve guard Eddie House, finished with 13 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds in 36:34 on Friday. After Atlanta didn't register a single 3-pointer in the first half, Bibby hit a pair early in the third frame to help push the Hawks ahead.
NOT CELTICS DEFENSE: The Celtics noted earlier this week that they have two main goals on defense: to keep opponents under 50 percent from the field and under 100 points. They accomplished both Friday night, so what gives?
"Our defense? I thought we scrambled for the most part," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "I just thought we really got hurt on the offensive rebounds. I thought we did a good job initially on the first shots, but like Kevin [Garnett] said, it's the second shots that really killed us. Obviously, the turnovers really hurt, but I thought initially on the first possession we stopped a lot of their plays and it was just all about controlling their one-on-one game.
"I think for the most part we didn't do that. You know Jamal Crawford really got going, Joe Johnson got going there at the start of the second half. We've got to do a better job of just staying in front of our man."
RASHEED'S BREAKDOWN: Asked about the discrepancy in rebounding (47-29 overall in favor of the Hawks), Rasheed Wallace provided this sharp
"Help side. They knew we were a good defensive team and they had a lot of isolation guys, you know, going one-on-one. And any time you have a team like that, it forces the other defensive guys to step up, and that's leaving our man behind us for the offensive rebound or a tip, or just to keep the ball alive. They did a good job. They did what they were supposed to do. They came in here, they shot good, rebounded good, and got the win."
MONKEY OFF THE BACK: The Hawks snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Celtics, including back-to-back regular-season sweeps.
"It feels good, either home or away, to be able to beat a team like the Boston Celtics," said Josh Smith. "But to do it on their court, we had so many questions like, 'Are we a good road team?' And this was a good test for us. We were able to climb the mountain and defeat the giant tonight."
Added coach Mike Woodson: "I thought tonight we were committed. We came in here this time last year, boy, we played 47 strong minutes and a great player [Pierce] made a great shot to win it. You know it's not easy winning in this building. And for our guys to step up tonight, and come in here, because I think this is the best team in the East, I really do."
LOOSE BALLS: Shelden Williams finished with 2 points (1-of-4
shooting) and 2 rebounds in 11:05 against the team that drafted him fifth overall in the 2006 NBA draft. The Celtics deactivated Bill Walker and Tony Allen (along with Glen Davis) as they recover from injuries. J.R. Giddens, Lester Hudson, and Brian Scalabrine played only the final 38 seconds as coach Doc Rivers went with a nine-man rotation. Rajon Rondo had one of his quietest outings of the season, despite finishing with 9 assists to go along with 4 points and 4 rebounds. Kendrick Perkins drew a technical foul in the fourth quarter.