|Kevin Garnett, PF 32 MIN | 5-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | +4
Like J.O., KG was out-energied and outrebounded by a certain floppy-haired Cavalier tonight. Bizarrely, he was also outscored. His intensity picked up in the fourth and he got on the block and hit what might have been a game-saving shot. He can still do it. Just not as often.
|Paul Pierce, SF 34 MIN | 7-14 FG | 6-9 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | -1
A good game from Pierce who was let down by some breakdowns by players bigger and smaller than him. This is seven games in a row where he’s shifted his game to accommodate the Celtics’ lack of a competent backup PG (E’Twaun is working to change that).
|Jermaine O’Neal, C 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +4
He put up the kind of rebounding numbers you might see from a point guard while his opposite put up the kind you might have seen from Bill Russell. A rather efficient 12 points though and shared guilt on the boards.
|Ray Allen, SG 38 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 12 PTS | +6
Weak shooting, good passing. Go figure.
|Avery Bradley, SG 37 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +2
Irving lost Bradley more than a few times and his teammates simply missed shots or Bradley’s line would be worse. One classic botched catch in the first half we’ll revisit in the Highlight Gallery later on. Some encouraging attacks on the basket. But not encouraging enough.
|Chris Wilcox, PF 11 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +5
Dead legs perhaps? The Celtics could have used more from him tonight.
|Sasha Pavlovic, SF 6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | 0
Hit both of his shots and then nodded knowingly at an unused Quis on the bench. “That’s how you get six minutes of playing time, dude.” (Sasha may or may not be the kind of guy to call others dude, but let’s just assume he is for the purposes of this paragraph).
|Mickael Pietrus, SF 18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -2
Save when he’s gunning, he tends to recede into the background on offense. Of course, he jacked up six three-balls in 18 minutes, so you tend to notice that.
|Brandon Bass, PF 29 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -4
Everything you think is true of Bass remained true tonight. But he can make something out of nothing even when you’re screaming for him to pass the ball out of a double team. Or triple.
|E’Twaun Moore, G 11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +1
Empty but for the points.
Four Things We Saw
- The C’s lost Sunday, they won today. But both games had much in common in terms of a lack of overall defensive intensity and a late game collapse. Only difference is tonight those didn’t prove fatal, in part because of 50.7% Boston shooting and Cleveland’s inconsistent defense. Late January basketball at its best.
- Anderson Varejao put up a 20-20 line, partly as a result of penetration shifting Boston’s defense (just like LeBron James used to do) and partly because Boston’s bigs were either unwilling to body him up or incapable. Jermaine O’Neal was a particular offender but he was hardly the only guilty party (JO played only 23 minutes to AV’s 41).
- Marquis Daniels and Greg Stiemsma spent the game on the bench as Doc has again shortened his rotation. Who knows for how long?
- Six assists for Pierce and eight for Allen. That indicates good ball movement from the C’s, which leads to good shots, which leads to wins. Even when they’re ugly.