There’s a whole lot to like about Doc Rivers as the coach for the Boston Celtics. One of those attributes, for me at least, is his candor. If Doc thinks he made a mistake, he’ll readily admit as much. He tends to correct those mistakes almost as quickly as he makes them too.
Throughout the first three games of the Celtics’ series with the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston pushed Philly with a small line-up the Sixers struggled to defend for large stretches. That line-up gave more minutes to a Ray Allen, in favor of Brandon Bass, who’s currently working his way onto the floor through an ankle injury. Allen is healthy enough to get his Hall of Fame jumpshot off on that end of the floor, but not quite able to keep pace with Andre Igoudala at times on the other.
Igoudala hit critical shots down the stretch to complete the Sixers comeback on Friday, and even the series up at two games apiece as a result. He finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds in the process, but probably should’ve been defended by Brandon Bass in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Prior to sitting those last handful of minutes in Game Four, Bass had finally broken through in the series to score 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds of his own.
Following the game, Doc admitted he made a mistake by not using Bass in that situation. This via RedsArmy.com:
On a night where Brandon Bass shot 6-10, finally getting his groove back, Doc played him 22 minutes, five minutes fewer than the one-armed Avery Bradley. A few minutes ago, Doc admitted it was a mistake.
It was a tough call for Doc because, at that point, the Celtics needed Ray Allen’s offense out there. But Ray’s ankle is making his already suspect defense a bigger liability. He ended up on Andre Iguodala in key spots and Iggy made the C’s pay.
The Celtics need Ray Allen, but they also need to be smarter about how and where they use him.
It’s difficult to be too hard on Doc for going with a strategy that worked three straight games. He definitely deserve the blame for not making the in-game adjustment, but I would imagine he’d be more flexible moving forward.
Ray Allen scored 5 points on 2 of 6 shooting in 31 minutes during Friday’s loss for the Celtics. He was a game worst plus/minus of -24 as well, which has to be one of the worst plus/minus totals he’s ever produced in the playoffs. Chances are he’ll trend differently in Game Five however, because at the end of the day he is still Ray Freaking Allen.
Hobbled by that ankle injury however, the 14.2 points per game that Ray averaged during the regular season has dipped to just 10.5 through these first two rounds of the playoffs. The Celtics will need at least that many from Ray tonight when Game 5 gets underway at 7pm ET. If not, they definitely will need more Bass.