Kevin Garnett, PF6-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +15 Whenever KG can produce like this in only 26 minutes, it’s an A. An A for Garnett, his bulky knee, and the Celtics.
Paul Pierce, SF8-14 FG | 5-7 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 24 PTS | +16 Pierce was huge in the third quarter when the Celtics were able to stretch the lead. He looked like himself 5 years ago when he was the team and offense. Pierce stepped up huge in Ray Allen’s absence and is showing no ill-effects from his injured foot.
Jermaine O’Neal, C1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -5 Not exactly the performance Celtics’ fans were hoping to see considering he’s had a two-game break. The last time JO was at the Garden he had his best game in two years. Tonight, he was just lucky to only have to play 18 minutes.
Keyon Dooling, PG2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +18 Dooling showed up late to party, scoring his lone three point field goal in the third quarter. Dooling was supposed to be the perfect spot starter in the event Allen couldn’t go and he underwhelmed mightily in his first opportunity. He also let MarShon Brooks look like Kobe Bryant in the first half. It’s obvious Brooks can score, but the offseason hope was that Dooling could be a reliable defender off the bench and he was anything but tonight.
Rajon Rondo, PG4-8 FG | 0-3 FT | 0 REB | 12 AST | 8 PTS | +14 I’m being a little harsh but as I in-game tweeted Rondo really played down to his point guard competition letting Sundiata Gaines pretty much outplay him. It’s hard not to be a Gaines’ fan as everyone likes a rags-to-riches story but you can be sure that if Deron Williams played tonight you would have seen a much different Rondo. Still, 12 assists without Ray Allen lighting it up sure is a nice stat line.
Chris Wilcox, PF1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +12 Hard to ask for anything more from your fourth big man off the bench.
Marquis Daniels, SG0-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +3 Daniels had what we would affectionately call an “O-for” tonight. He looked like he was having his way with nearly every defender he matched up with and yet he could not put the ball in the bucket. Seriously, not one. He missed all seven shots.
Avery Bradley, SG4-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +8 Paul Flannery of WEEI.com tweeted earlier that Bradley most-likely had the best game of his career. Hard to argue with @PFlanns’ assessment. His stats don’t leap out at you (other than maybe the double digit scoring) but tonight, AB looked like an NBA player. Moments like that for him have been basically non-existent.
Five Things We Saw
MarShon Brooks can flat out score, but he can also blow a tire. It’s sad when a young player gets hurt in the middle of a game where he’s playing well. In Brooks’ case, he’s been playing well for a stretch of games and luckily his injury didn’t seem that bad. His absence for the rest of the bloodbath was almost definitely precautionary.
The Nets are terrible on defense, which is really surprising for an Avery Johnson coached team. My mother always told me, “you make do with what you have” but when you have “nothing”, and in tonight’s case, not even your starting “nothing” (save for Deron Williams) you end up with nothing. Nothing is almost always a 19 point loss.
Despite getting injured, the MarShon Brooks vs. JuJuan Johnson in the “Wuddah Cuddah Shuddah Battle” had a clear winner tonight. Johnson seemed frustrated in the 5 minutes of garbage time and doesn’t look like he’s used to not playing. Meanwhile, E’Twaun Moore looks excited and ready to score whenever he gets in the game.
Garnett, as usual, was loving Gino tonight. Lovin’ it so much, he was desperately trying to give a play-by-play to a seemingly unwilling Chris Wilcox. Some people love Gino, others can’t handle the second-hand embarrassment. If it was anything but a victory lap, I would probably “go Wilcox” every time I saw it.
Low minutes for everyone. Every starter played less minutes than they are accustomed which means two things: 1) the players who play a lot got some extra rest; and 2) the players that don’t play a lot got some extra experience. Everybody wins…except the Nets.