BOSTON — Jason Terry asked to be held accountable. He
wanted to be the one held responsible for the Celtics’ bench, good or bad, and
on Friday it was time to stand up and bear the type of punishment he
claimed he would take.
In both of the Celtics’ losses to open this season, Boston’s
bench was outscored by its counterpart on the opposing team. After Terry signed
with the Celtics this summer, he vowed that such a thing would not happen. So
when reporters surrounded Terry’s locker stall after the Celtics’ bench was
outscored 37-31 in Friday’s loss to the Bucks, Terry not only endured the
criticism. He leveled some at himself as well.
“We’re not getting the job done at all, by any
means,” Terry said. “It starts with me because I am the leader of
Terry scored 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting, but he also committed four fouls and three turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench. Jeff
Green overcame another tentative start and ended up with 11 points in 27 minutes, but
neither key reserve player made an impact in the first three quarters, when they could have made a
real impact on the game’s outcome.
It has been eight years since Terry walked into an
unfamiliar locker room with an entirely new set of teammates. Since 2004 he
called Dallas home, and although there was turnover every year, Terry enjoyed
the comfort of a core that featured Dirk Nowitzki and evolved from Michael
Finley, Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse into Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and
After so much time in a familiar setting, a player can
easily forget how difficult it is to generate chemistry with a new group of
teammates. Terry has not forgotten, but the transition for Celtics newcomers like Courtney Lee and himself has still been problematic.
“Of course you want it to just happen, but it’s
not,” Terry said. “It’s a work in progress. It’s literally a work in
progress. You can only do it in practice. You can only do it in games. But we
have to go hard. We have to be aggressive. We have to be assertive. Right now,
we’re neither one of those. [Saturday] is another opportunity. I’m glad it’s
[Saturday] and we don’t have to sit here for two or three days, but we need to
pick it up.”
The Celtics are due to tip off in Washington, D.C., at 7
p.m. on Saturday. Terry presumably will be on the bench, ready to make an
Apart from Jared Sullinger, who hauled in seven rebounds in
18 minutes, nobody on the Celtics did much on the glass. As they did in two
meetings with the Bucks last year, the Celtics just seemed to get outworked by
Ersan Ilyasova is a one-man wrecking crew against the
Celtics. He averaged 12 rebounds per game against Boston last season and
grabbed 11 boards on Friday. Kevin Garnett had only four rebounds, his fewest
since the regular season finale on April 26, when he played only 11 minutes.
BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE THROWS
Normally, Doc Rivers would have been doing flips if his team
attempted almost 10 more foul shots than its opponent. The Celtics indeed
outshot the Bucks 21-12 on Friday, but suffice to say Rivers never went head
The Bucks only took 12 free throws, making 11, because there
was seldom a Celtics defender within reaching distance. By contrast, the Celtics
drew a good deal of contact because Milwaukee swarmed to the ballhandler and
dipped into passing lanes. Good defense occasionally leads to fouls, but the
Celtics’ offensive struggles could not be simply explained away by an outstanding
Bucks defense. The Celtics missed 16 of the 21 shots they took in the second
quarter because most of the shots were heavily contested layups, long jump
shots as the shot clock wore down or some other type or low-percentage shots.
The Celtics will take the free throws, but they would
certainly prefer to have a few decent looks from the field, too.