After laboring to no avail throughout the first few games of the season to try and put up solid first quarter numbers the Celtics finally throw down 29 in the openning period against Denver only to post a putrid 13 in the second and go into the lockerrooms down by 6.
Although the Denver lead ballooned to 15 at one point in the third, when the Celts started to turn it on with clutch shooting from Allen, House, and Pierce, and took the lead going into the fourth, you thought for sure this was going to be just like Atlanta where the Cs stormed back from an early 16 point deficit or the game before against Toronto where the green and white were stymied in a 14 point hole for a good portion of the second and third periods before taking over down the stretch.
But it was not to be so.
There are two main factors which contributed to the Celtics' downfall in that fourth quarter and the first was Boston's inability to put the ball in the hands of Paul Pierce. The man who has been the hero in the fourth for the Celts every game during the young season (dropping 22 on the Raptors two nights before to give the C's a divisional win) scored 0, yes that is ZERO, points in the fourth. In the final period Pierce only attempted 2 shots, the first a transition three ten seconds in, and the second a mid-range jumper that clanged of the rim for a long rebound to Allen with 7:12 left of the clock. Why wasn't the ball in the hot hands of Paul Pierce when the game was on the line? That brings us to the second fourth quarter issue:
When the game is close in the fourth, your starting point guard shouldn't be on the bench.
You have to know your personel. House is a shooter. Rondo is a disher and a defender. After Ray Allen hit the three from the corner to put the Celts up 83-81 with 4 minutes to play Rivers should have had Rondo on the court to not only shut down the Denver offense, but to put the ball in the hands of the Celtics playmakers on the other end of the floor. There is a time and a place for Eddie House, and that is when the Celtics are struggling to score and need a spark. House provided that spark tonight in the form of 13 points in 19 minutes...but it is those last 5 minutes of playing time that killed the Celts; House was 0-3 from the floor and was burned on the defensive side of floor by the less than stellar Anthony Carter. Put Rondo on the floor for those minutes and those are three more shots in the hands of the big three with a chance to do some damage.
I love House, but at the end of the game I want to see Rajon Rando with his goofy, upside-down headband carrying the ball down the court in his monster hands, dishing it to Paul Pierce so he can give the opposing team a good dose of The Truth and send us all home happy.