|Paul Pierce, SF 35 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +4
Hard to fault Pierce for the last shot attempt. The Spurs did an excellent job denying the inbounds pass and by the time he got the ball he had to shoot an ill-advised step back. A shade the other way and we’re talking about how clutch Pierce is.
Overall, it was great to see Pierce’s jumper falling and his decision to continue attacking the basket despite not getting any calls from the officials. To make matters worse, he was in foul trouble for most of the night. I know Pierce has been in the game a long time, but it still must be frustrating to get fouls called on you and not go to the free throw line once.
|Brandon Bass, PF 29 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +3
Bass wasn’t his usual self on the offensive end. He didn’t get nearly as many touches on pick-and-pop plays as he’s used to and his point total suffered because of it. That said, he was unbelievable on defense tonight. He stayed on the floor when he needed to, he anticipated really well, and he played excellent pick-and-roll defense in the second half. His team defense has been a long time coming but at least it appears to be here.
|Kevin Garnett, PF 33 MIN | 7-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -7
Garnett missed a lot of open jumpers tonight and even struggled in a switch on Danny Green in the post. On the flip side, he played with his usual intensity which is always welcome.
|Ray Allen, SG 35 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | +3
Ray Allen was the beneficiary of some grade inflation. He played terribly for much of the game and was almost entirely ineffective on offense. Despite his less-than-stellar return, Allen was active on the glass and hit a three in the fourth quarter to keep the game competitive.
|Rajon Rondo, PG 44 MIN | 8-15 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 11 AST | 17 PTS | 0
Rondo played his heart out until about three minutes to go in the game. It’s hard to fault him for letting up considering how many minutes he spent running his team up and down the floor. He consistently pushed the ball up the floor which could have been the sole offensive-related reason the Celtics came back in the third quarter.
|Keyon Dooling, PG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0
This grade was more of an incomplete. His most memorable moment was taking a funny runner on a fast break that rimmed out. Dooling felt contact and thought he would get the call, didn’t, and missed a tough shot. Ray Allen played 35 minutes and Dooling played 10. I really wish they met somewhere in the middle.
|Sasha Pavlovic, SF 13 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -5
Pavlovic really made the most of his minutes tonight. He still continues to move about the court as if he can’t bend his back but any positive minutes he can give while Pietrus is out is gravy.
|Greg Stiemsma, C 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -5
Stiemsma was a victim of both the Celtics decision to play small ball and his complete inability to adequately defend the pick-and-roll.
|Avery Bradley, SG 34 MIN | 9-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +2
Bradley continues to completely wow on both ends of the floor. It was really hard to find anything negative about his performance tonight.
Three Things We Saw
- Doc Rivers made a critical mistake taking Brandon Bass out in favor to Kevin Garnett with under three to go. I don’t mind a tired Garnett coming back in the game but he should have replaced Allen. The Spurs had Duncan and Bonner in the game and Garnett and Bass could have easily held their own on defense. I know Allen made a crucial three pointer, but the Spurs snagged four offensive rebounds in the last three minutes. I’m pretty sure preventing those were worth more than three points.
- On a positive note, the Celtics can hang with the second best team in the West. I know the Spurs played last night and were on the road but their marquee players got plenty of rest after blowing Cleveland out. It’s hard to take any moral victories from any loss but if you were going to, tonight would be the night. The C’s battled back, they played extremely hard, and they were a play away from winning.
- The Celtics may have squandered two things by losing tonight. Toronto gave the C’s a huge gift by destroying the Sixers. To make matters worse, the Celtics have to travel to Chicago tomorrow to play the Bulls and word on the street is that Derrick Rose plans to play. The Celtics may be looking at a quick two game losing streak before they even know what hit them.
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