|Kevin Garnett, PF 34 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -15
KG is hard to grade right now as the tyranny of diminishing expectations renders a 7 rebound night ostensibly passable. It’s not, of course, and his offensive assertiveness… doesn’t exist, even when he’s got a clear matchup advantage. But he’s still a great team defender, and one of the last vestiges of the arrogant, sneering Celtics that did so much damage to the NBA as recently as last year. The move to center is sabotage but you’ll never hear Garnett complain.
|Paul Pierce, SF 36 MIN | 3-12 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | -18
Another godawful night for Pierce, who was humiliated by Luol Deng (21 points, 16 rebounds). In case that grade seems too harsh, he had 1 rebound in 36 minutes and his fourth quarter takeover of the offense effectively killed the C’s comeback. He’s not ready to play right now and it shows.
|Brandon Bass, PF 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -17
If there’s a defensive rotation to be missed or a pick and roll coverage to misplay, Bass is your guy. But his offense remains sharp and aggressive and right now he’s the only guy on the team besides Rondo who can create something out of nothing in the half-court.
|Ray Allen, SG 41 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -5
Chicago did a great job denying Ray good looks tonight, but he still managed to find 16 points and create a couple of looks for others over 41 long minutes (which he’s probably going to feel tomorrow night at Indiana). He’s playing well consistently, unlike the other two guys in the Formerly Big Three.
|Rajon Rondo, PG 40 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 11 AST | 14 PTS | -10
In the end he was outplayed by Derrick Rose, but unlike Rose, Rondo is working with a roster of broken-down parts. And nobody achieves in a vacuum. Without Rondo, the Celtics lose this game by 35 points. His energy, defense, and shot creation kept the Celtics alive in the first half and brought them back in the second — until the offense suddenly became all about Paul Pierce and bad shot selection.
|Jermaine O’Neal, C 22 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +6
His jumpshot is wearing out the fronts of rims, but he showed a little life in the second half tonight. Again though – 3 rebounds in 22 minutes. I fear it’s very close to over for JO.
|Chris Wilcox, PF 5 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | 0
It’s alive! Wilcox emerged from hibernation to throw down a couple of dunks in transition. He’s still standing around in halfcourt sets but the mere indication of a pulse is good news. Lingering question – how out of shape is he? Doesn’t look good to me.
|Mickael Pietrus, SF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -3
He’s still figuring it all out in Boston but his energy and shooting and defense were enough to bury ‘Quis on the bench (possibly for good) after a single game. The more of Pietrus we see, the better. There’s an argument to be made that he should start for Pierce right now.
|Avery Bradley, SG 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +1
Still gives you nothing at all on offense but he gave Rondo a decent break at the start of the fourth quarter. Would have preferred Moore out there, in part because he outscored Bradley in a single minute of action.