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10 takeaways from Celtics 116-105 loss to Houston's Deadly Duo

Mike D'Antoni's "experiment" employing his Deadly Duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden to continually attack Boston's defense worked like a charm, giving the Houston Rockets the 116-105 win over the Celtics. Here are 10 takeaways from last night's contest.

#1) Boston had no answer for Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

The numbers don't tell it all, but here they are. Houston's Deadly Duo combined for 78 points, 18 boards and 12 assists. Westbrook was able to get to the rim repeatedly, either scoring or picking up a foul on most of his drives. The two guards shot a total of 31 free throws and made 27 of them. Westbrook, particularly, benefited from Mike D'Antoni's small-ball experiment. With no Rockets big man clogging the middle, he had his way with with any Boston defender trying to stop him.


#2) Brad Stevens quickly noted Enes Kanter's ineffectiveness against Houston's attack

Kanter played a mere eight minutes in this one, missing his only two shot attempts - creating two turnovers and picking up two fouls. Enes had trouble countering P. J. Tucker's toughness underneath and working Stevens' switching defense against such a small-ball lineup.

#3) Celtics defense was decent, but the offense was stagnant.

Boston simply did not move the ball around, often settling for one or two passes and then letting it fly. Stevens did acknowledge that Houston's physical brand of defense may have played a role.

#4) Celtics 18 turnovers contributed to the loss

Boston ranks 8th in turnovers for the season, losing control of the ball 13.8 times per game. They were clearly frazzled by Mike D'Antoni's offensive and defensive schemes.

#5) Jaylen Brown was clearly hampered by two sore ankles

Jaylen did have a decent game, scoring 19 points on 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-8 on 3-pointers, but he only grabbed three boards and passed off for one assist. He also had a team-high five turnovers.

#6) Jayson Tatum seemed discombobulated

Jayson came away with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals, but he shot only 33% from the field, while missing all seven of his treys. He also picked up a few fouls going for pump fakes.

#7) Gordon Hayward is the stabilizing influence for Boston

Gordon doesn't make many errors, and he usually make the right pass, grabs key rebounds and shoots the ball in the right situations. He came away with 20 points, eight rebounds, six assists and only two turnovers. He seemed to be one of the few Celtics players not frazzled by Houston's "experiment".

#8) Brad Wanamaker making a mark as a solid substitute

Brad had another fine game, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 on field goals and 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. He added three assists and two steals, and came away with team-high plus/minus (players with double-digit minutes) of +7.

#9) Grant Williams has the physique and toughness to match Houston's P. J. Tucker as a small-ball center

Grant grabbed four rebounds in only eight minutes of action. He is a strong, physical wide-body that fights for, and gets, great position under the boards.


#10) Celtics need to find a way to defend Harden and Westbrook without fouling

Houston shot 42 free throw attempts to Boston's 25. The Rockets Deadly Duo accounted for 27 points at the free throw line. Almost everything the Celtics tried failed. They need to find a way.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Fascebook



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