Boston Celtics: 2014game81

C's can't turn over a new leaf

April, 15, 2014
4/15/14
12:05
AM ET
One of the areas where Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens yearned to see progress over the final games of the 2013-14 season was execution in late-game situations. Boston has really struggled to make plays, particularly on the offensive end, at the end of close games.

Despite winning consecutive games entering Monday's tilt in Philadelphia, Boston failed to show progress in that regard while dropping a 113-108 decision at Wells Fargo Center. Stevens might want to avoid the final 88 seconds of the game film: Boston committed four turnovers -- each one more head-shaking than the last -- to help Philadelphia post its third win of the season over the Celtics.

A glance at the miscues:

• With 1:28 to go in a one-possession game, rookie Kelly Olynyk, who has been one of the primary bright spots of this late-season stretch, threw a poor bounce pass to Jeff Green on the blocks, and it was picked by Michael Carter-Williams. Making matters worse, Olynyk got whistled for a blocking foul at the other end trying to take a charge from Tony Wroten in transition (and the call stood even after a lengthy video review).

• With Boston now down five, Rajon Rondo tried to attack the basket early on the ensuing possession, but left his feet to shoot, then decided otherwise with Carter-Williams contesting. Rondo tried to pass to the right wing, but there wasn't a green jersey within 20 feet of the ball and it bounced once before hitting a fan sitting next to the scorer's table.

• Still down five with 25 seconds to go, the Celtics called a timeout to draw up a play. The 76ers smothered Boston's players and Jeff Green had nowhere to inbound the ball, leading to a five-second violation.

• Despite all the miscues, Boston somehow got back within three and the 76ers threw the ball away on an inbounds play with 15 seconds to go, giving the Celtics one last gasp. The Celtics struggled to generate a quality 3-point look and, with about two seconds to go and desperate to get a shot off, Rondo handed off to Chris Johnson beyond the 3-point arc. Johnson elevated and actually made the 3-pointer, but not before a referee nearby whistled the play dead with 0.9 seconds to go because Johnson stepped on the sideline before his shot.

Boston had its chances, but execution hurt the team in crunch time. Stevens pointed out after the game that the Celtics probably let things get away in the first half when they gave back an early 10-point lead and watched the 76ers open a 17-point halftime advantage.

A couple more postgame thoughts from Monday's loss:

ANOTHER CAREER NIGHT FOR OLYNYK: Two nights after matching his career high for scoring, Olynyk bested his mark by scoring a team-high 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting with nine rebounds and three assists over 35 minutes. Olynyk continues to show a developing touch around the basket, finding opportunities while rolling off pick-and-rolls or attacking the basket in transition. Olynyk hasn't been bashful about drawing contact lately and finished with either hand early against Philadelphia. Of his 10 makes on Monday, six came at the rim, while he also got to the charity stripe for a team-high seven attempts. Olynyk's progress remains maybe the most encouraging aspect of Boston's late-season exploits.

LOOSE BALLS: GOOD GREEN: Jeff Green quietly put up 27 points in one of his better outings. Green produced eight of his 10 makes near the basket and took only 16 shots overall. Add in three steals and two blocks and only one turnover, and this is exactly the sort of efficiency the team needs from Green. ... Avery Bradley scored 23 points, but he needed 22 shots to get there. Bradley missed nine triples (2-of-11 beyond the 3-point arc). ... Rondo scored his eighth point less than three minutes into the second half, but didn't score again, preventing him from a triple-double (14 assists, 11 rebounds). Rondo took only eight shots but was 1-for-5 after the intermission. Hard to complain with his impact when he handed out seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds and was plus-18 in the final two quarters.
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Rapid Reaction: 76ers 113, C's 108

April, 14, 2014
4/14/14
9:45
PM ET
The Boston Celtics reverted to familiar ways on Monday, making things interesting late in the game but unable to produce the necessary plays to keep their winning streak going while falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 113-108 at the Wells Fargo Center:

THE NITTY GRITTY
Rookie Kelly Olynyk scored a career-high 28 points, while Jeff Green (27 points) and Avery Bradley (23) joined him in the 20+ club. Rajon Rondo flirted with a triple-double while putting up 8 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds over 42:25. Michael Carter-Williams scored 21 points, while Tony Wroten added 20 points to pace the 76ers. The Sixers shot 54.4 percent from the field while fending off Boston's second-half rally.

TURNING POINT
The Celtics led by 10 early, then fell behind by as much as 19 early in the second half. Boston surged within two heading to the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump despite sticking close much of the final frame. The Celtics got a last gasp after a head-shaking turnover by the 76ers with 15.8 seconds to play. But in a microcosm of Boston's season, rookie Chris Johnson stepped on the sideline before launching what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining, The call was upheld on one of roughly 3,472 video reviews over the final two minutes of the game.

LOOSE BALLS
Even with just one game left in the season, Celtics fans held their breath when Rondo got hit with a stray elbow in the first quarter and dropped to the ground. He returned later in the frame. ... The Celtics were playing with nine available bodies as Jared Sullinger (ankle), Jerryd Bayless (knee) and Kris Humphries (knee) sat out. All three remain uncertain for the season finale. ... The Celtics turned the ball over 19 times, including three times in the final 88 seconds. ... Philly won the season series, 3-1.

WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (25-56) had a two-game winning streak snapped. Boston, at least for the moment, owns the fifth-worst record in basketball, but that hinges on the Lakers-Jazz game out west (a loss by the Lakers would force a three-way tie for the fourth-worst record). The Celtics wrap up the 2013-14 season on Wednesday night with a visit from the Washington Wizards.

W2W4: Celts vs. 76ers (Game 81 of 82)

April, 14, 2014
4/14/14
10:00
AM ET
The Boston Celtics (25-55, 9-31 away) visit the Philadelphia 76ers (17-63, 9-31 home) on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

  • GOING STREAKING: The Celtics snapped a nine-game losing streak on Friday against Charlotte, busted a 13-game road losing streak on Saturday in Cleveland, and now visit Philadelphia looking to win three straight games for the first time in more than two months (Feb. 2-7). Meanwhile, the 76ers have lost four straight (and 32 of their last 34 overall).

  • PLAYING THE LOTTERY: A win by the 76ers or -- a loss by the Bucks in Toronto -- will cement Philadelphia in finishing with the second worst record in basketball this season. The 76ers would then have a 19.9 percent chance at the top pick and a 55.8 percent chance at a top 3 selection. The Celtics enter tied with the rival Los Angles Lakers for the fifth worst record in basketball. Boston can still finish anywhere from third to sixth in the final lottery standings and Celtics fans will have their eyes on the scoreboard when the Lakers visit the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

  • LOOSE BALLS: This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The 76ers lead the series, 2-1, but Boston won in Philadelphia back in February. Philadelphia's last win came in Boston earlier this month. ... As STATS LLC notes: Boston is averaging 105.4 points in its last five games, 9.4 points more than its season mark. ... The Celtics played Saturday with only eight available bodies. Rajon Rondo (left shin bruise), Jared Sullinger (sprained left ankle), and Kris Humphries (sore right knee) all have a chance to rejoin the lineup in Philly. ... This is Boston's final road game of the season as the Celtics wrap up the 2013-14 campaign on Wednesday night with a visit from the Washington Wizards.

(Read full game preview)
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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Isaiah Thomas
PTS AST STL MIN
21.8 5.8 0.8 28.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsI. Thomas 5.8
StealsM. Smart 1.3
BlocksT. Zeller 0.7