DALLAS - Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey went to the free throw line Sunday night 15 times and scored 12 of his 16 points there. The Celtics attempted 15 free throws, and perhaps that was the source of some of Rajon Rondo’s frustration as he was ejected in the third quarter.
The 46-15 disparity is a serious issue for a team that seems to becoming more passive attacking the basket as the season progresses. The Celtics have become primarily a jump-shooting team and when those shots don’t go down, they are limited offensively.
In last night’s 89-73 loss to the Mavericks, the Celtics attempted 11 free throws, seven by Paul Pierce. Of the 11 remaining players who logged minutes, two attempted free throws.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Kevin Garnett’s absence is not helping matters.
“Kevin doesn’t go to the line but he creates fouls by his passing,’’ Rivers said. “And it allows us to drive and he creates fouls by the spacing that he puts on the floor.
“We’d love to get to the line, but how about us just not fouling? I’d rather have that.’’
Strain for Wilcox
Chris Wilcox left the game with 8:45 left in the third quarter with a strained right adductor, an injury he said sustained running down the court. It’s Wilcox’s third injury this season; he’s already missed time with a strained left calf and sore right shoulder.
“My groin stiffened up on me and I couldn’t go,’’ he said.
Wilcox said he is unsure if he will play tomorrow against his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jermaine O’Neal, who left last night with a sprained left wrist, was not available for comment after the game.
Garnett missed his second consecutive game because of a personal family matter but he is expected to rejoin the team for tomorrow’s game. Garnett left the team after arriving in Detroit Saturday night but has talked with Rivers.
“The difficulty for us is not having Kevin and Brandon [Bass],’’ Rivers said. “You could see it [Sunday], with those two [replacements] being non-shooters, they’re trapping Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] all over the floor and there’s not a lot of ways to go.’’
After playing in the first 27 games, Garnett has missed three of the past four games. Garnett, who was not selected to the All-Star Game, will get valuable rest this weekend and will enter the Feb. 28 game against Cleveland having played one game in 11 days.
Dirk Nowitzki collected his 1,000th career block with his first-quarter stuff of Avery Bradley. He then passed Robert Parish for 20th all time on the NBA scoring list with his 3-point play in the first quarter . . . O’Neal finished with four blocks after collecting five against Detroit Sunday. His season high is five . . . Mickael Pietrus drained a first-quarter 3-pointer, snapping an 0-for-11 slump from beyond the arc . . . Dallas guard Jason Kidd had three steals to pass Michael Jordan for second on the all-time list with 2,517.
Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.