BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics snapped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday night, besting the Detroit Pistons 109-102 in overtime.
The Celtics gave away another second half lead, blowing an 11-point advantage in the fourth quarter, but got 10 points from Jared Sullinger in OT to secure their first win in two weeks.READ MORE: Gov. Charlie Baker Weighing $4B Spending Bill Sent To Him By Lawmakers
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly call into the show on Thursday, and was excited about getting back in the win column.
“That was a good feeling last night to finally get a win. The guys really worked hard to get it and they played hard,” said Ainge.
As for those blown leads, Ainge says his team simply has to find a way to put opponents away for good in crunch time.
“I guess the good news is we’re getting big leads against good teams in the NBA and we’re just not able to finish the games off. We have to find ways to do that,” he said. “Part of it is our youth, part of it is our inexperience together, and not having that one guy to go to like the great teams have. We have to do it by committee and that’s a hard thing to juggle as a coach. I think Brad [Stevens] is doing a great job experimenting and trying to figure out who should be on the court and where. I don’t think it’ll be the same every night, just based on the roster we have now.”
Ainge doesn’t put any of the blame for those second half collapses on Stevens, now in his second year on the Boston bench, but rather on the players who aren’t making the plays they should on the floor.READ MORE: Wind Gusts Across Eastern Mass. Projected To Be 50 MPH Or Higher On Monday Night
“There isn’t any blame that I would put on Brad, personally, from what I’m seeing and watching our team prepare. I can guarantee that Brad puts some of the blame on himself, but I certainly don’t,” said Ainge. “The players have to make plays, they have to make shots and make stops. Brad has said this over and over again and I can’t agree more, we need to play with more physicality and instigate on both ends of the court.”
The Celtics don’t have a big man who can be physical for them down low, and Ainge was adamant that he is continuing to explore available options. But it sounds like the Celtics won’t be adding any bulk to the roster until the offseason.
“I’m always trying to get quality. We’re trying to get better, more impactful players,” said Ainge. “We do have a hole from the rim-protecting standpoint. You can’t just add rim protection and give up other things that you have that are solid. A quality one is not easy to find; maybe through the draft or free agency. But we will work all the way up to the trade deadline to see if we can fix that hole in the meantime.”
Because of their lack of size, the Celtics have had to rely heavily on the three-point shot. Boston has attempted 23.5 threes per game this season — ranking 11th in the NBA — but are hitting just 32 percent of those shots, 27th in the league. Ainge doesn’t like to see all those shots cling off the iron, but he doesn’t think it’s an issue and is part of the team forming an identity.
“That’s what we want to become. We are building something here,” said Ainge. “Even though Sully hasn’t shot great from the three-point line, last night he won the game for us from the three-point line. It’s not like we’re just trying to jack up threes, we’re trying to get to the rim. Last night, (Detroit) had great size at the rim and it was tough to get into the basket. There was nothing there. We’re trying to get threes and we’re trying to get to the rim, or the free throw line, early in the shot clock. If the game plan is sound, that’s what we should continue to do.”
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