A lot of fans watching the NBA Semi Finals game two between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers are giving deserved heat to the worst officials in pro sports by a margin as wide as the Mariana trench is deep. People are blaming the refs for the Celtics loss. I do blame them for Boston missing out on a chance to tie the game, but to say they were why the Celtics lost would be complete garbage. There were many factors in that game that cost Boston a win. The largest in my opinion was the fact Avery Bradley missed significant time during the game due to his shoulder injury. During the time Bradley was out, Philly made their move and that cost Boston the game.
People really do not understand the effect that Bradley has on the team’s defense and the rotations. Bradley is a unique weapon that can completely shut down and frustrate his man. Bradley can do this without needing a lot of help. He is just so smart and athletic that he can beat his man to the spot or keep his man in front of him. The fact that he can do this allows the Celtics big men like Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma to stay with their man or help out elsewhere. This is huge in shutting down a team’s ability to get in to the paint and get great scoring opportunities. When KG was not in the game,Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins looked terrible without Bradley on the floor to make their jobs easier. Bradley was an amazing plus 18. That number is even better than defensive specialist Kevin Garnett’s plus 16.
When Bradley left, the 76ers were able to penetrate a little easier and that meant the struggling 76ers found a way to get open shots by either getting into the paint and scoring or getting the extra pass for an open jump shot due to the Celtics defense being forced to rotate one too many times. The result was Boston’s lead vanished and then they were forced to play catchup.
The Paul Pierce injury argument does not wash with me for a couple reasons. Pierce could not buy a basket and the team still held the lead and control of the game until eh Bradley injury. The offense the Celtics had even with a struggling Pierce was more than enough due to the fact the 76ers were struggling more. When the defense was not as good, the Celtics weak offense was noticed. This means the defense after Bradley left was the real culprit in the loss.
The bottom line is Avery Bradley may not be the same player on offense that he was pre injury (the three ball in the corner during the fourth was nice, but with a busted shoulder do not expect that kind of shot to fall all the time), but the man can flat out still shut down his man. I just hope Bradley’s shoulder can hold up for the rest of the playoffs to give Boston the stopper that they need. If it does, than Boston will handle Philly in this series. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!!!