|Paul Pierce, SF 34 MIN | 8-17 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 23 PTS | +28
Pierce was aggressive on offense, regularly driving the paint rather than just settling for longer jumpers. Like Rondo, when he forces the defense to react to his penetration, good things happen for this team. Also helped neutralize James, who put up decent scoring numbers but had minimal impact (0 assists) on the outcome.
|Brandon Bass, PF 35 MIN | 3-5 FG | 10-10 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +24
One of Bass’ best games of the season. He competes hard, which is one reason he fits in so well with the rest of the starters, who have a high bar for their running mates. He only made three shots but that was good enough for 16 points, which is a credit to his willingness to attack the rim and absorb contact.
|Kevin Garnett, PF 30 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +10
A less dominating performance offensively, and you’d like those shot totals to be higher but do yourself a favor and look at Chris Bosh’s line today (2-11 shooting for 4 points). And then Miami’s point total (a season low). Garnett gets more individual credit for those two things than anyone else on the roster.
|Rajon Rondo, PG 37 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-3 FT | 11 REB | 14 AST | 16 PTS | +28
He comes armed with an incredible mind for the game and an ability to creatively deconstruct defenses. When that’s matched with aggression and energy, he rivals any player in the game for overall impact. Miami slowed him briefly in the second quarter, but beyond that, Rondo controlled this game, creating for his teammates and breaking the confidence of the Heat. If anything, the numbers underrate his performance today.
|Avery Bradley, SG 36 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +13
It’s really hard to keep expectations in check considering how well Bradley’s played lately. His timing and basketball IQ seem really advanced for the minimal court time he’s gotten. Also, we’ve talked about the man defense and we’ve raved about the cutting. Now, how about some appreciation for his ability to explode to the hoop?
|Keyon Dooling, PG 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -3
Making a Bradley-esque transformation from useless bench filler to regular contributor over the last week. That’s much more in line with the original projections so it’s reasonable to believe Dooling can be a difference maker on the defensive end and add something to the offense.
|Sasha Pavlovic, SF 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -9
Five rebounds in 14 minutes? Exactly what this team needs.
|Greg Stiemsma, C 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +6
Still doesn’t play with enough force or attitude given his size but he’s making diverse contributions lately. Bonus points for one of the worst individual fast breaks we’ve seen all season.