The Celtics brought the team from Planet Orange back down to Planet Earth Sunday, and while the re-entry was not entirely unexpected, it was anything but smooth.
The Suns defensively were almost as helpless against the defending World Champions as the lowly Clippers (twice) and the equally lowly Thunder had been against the Suns in the first three games of the Coach Alvin era.
With could-a-been Sun Rajon Rondo leading the way with a career-high 32 points, the Celtics scored literally at will, and pretty much any way they chose. In fact, had they not missed 12 of their 40 free throws they might have had a shot at making the Suns the first team ever to scored 140 in three straight games and give up 140 in the next game.
The conclusion to be drawn here is that the Suns are pretty much who we thought they were offensively, even without Amare, which isn’t too shabby. But alas, they are also pretty much who we thought they were defensively, especially against teams with explosive guards.
The fans seemed to place much of the blame on the officials, and became very vocal in their displeasure at times. But when you get blitzed this badly you need to conclude the fault is not with the officials but with yourselves (as Shakespeare would undoubtedly have put in had he been on the sports beat instead of the drama beat).
The good news is that Sunday didn’t really change anything in the Big Picture. We knew going in the Suns had enough firepower to stay in the playoff hunt, and we still know it. And the comforting thought is they only have to pass one of the eight teams ahead of them to make it, and were within two losses of four of them at the start of business Sunday.
The bottom line: This only hurts for a little while, and with Charlotte next up here there’s a good chance to make the pain go away.