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Celtics-Thunder Grades

Oklahoma City Thunder 100 Final
| Box Score
108 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett, PF 32 MIN | 5-11 FG | 8-10 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +18
A terrific night for KG, who looked crisp from the opening tip and then got stronger as the night went on. He finished with 18 points on only 11 shot attempts (and 10 FTAs) and hauled in 9 rebounds. He was sharper on defense than in recent games and the team fell in line behind him. As they do.
Brandon Bass, PF 27 MIN | 3-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -9
Shot badly, rebounded competently. One of those nights where I was reminded of his ceiling and wished it was higher.

Paul Pierce, SF
31 MIN | 8-16 FG | 7-7 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS | +1
Like his amped up teammates, he came out strong in the first half on defense, even if his shots weren’t falling. In the second half, they fell. A throwback game for Pierce, who did his damage exactly where you want him to: at the line and from the arc.
Rajon Rondo, PG 37 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 16 AST | 6 PTS | -9
Rondo committed himself to probing OKC’s defense for holes, pushing up the floor in transition and slashing into the paint until he could make a play or he was forced back. Basically, he didn’t fight himself today. The final numbers weren’t quite as big as some of his playoff performances from last spring but this is the prototype game for our weird, beautiful PG.
Jason Terry, SG 30 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | 0
Microwaved his way to 16 points on 8 shots including a couple biggies during that hold-your-breath fourth quarter. A couple of you made the comment in the post-game thread but even if I kinda hate watching Terry run Ray’s old curls, I’m thrilled he’s in Boston. He’s going to cause all sorts of problems for the opposition in the playoffs.
Jeff Green, PF 25 MIN | 6-11 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +3
If this is what you get for $9M a year, I can live with it. He can’t rebound to save his life, but the consistent offensive aggression looks good on him and carries over to his defense, which will be serviceable enough at the 3-spot. Can’t shake the notion that he’s too well-mannered, though.
Jared Sullinger, PF 14 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +15
The refs stuck him with a couple of nonsensical rookie calls but Sullinger was terrific out there, including one sequence where he went to the mat to steal the ball on one end and then raced up the court to grab an offensive rebound and putback on the other. Compare, too, his rebounding numbers to some of the other characters on this roster.
Chris Wilcox, PF 15 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -4
Not a rebound or free throw to be found in 15 minutes. This is why he’s a bench player. It isn’t now, nor has it ever been, an every night thing with Mr. Wilcox in Boston. We got him for bargain money though, so we’ll live with nights like this.
Courtney Lee, SG 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +8
Slowly, slowly finding his way. I can now think of a few recent plays he’s made that leave an impression in mind: particularly when he finishes in transition or sticks to his guy on defense. Doesn’t seem to have the rotations yet and he’s doing precious little on offense but you can envision it all coming together sometime in the new year.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 11 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +17
Do no harm.

A final note on grades: these are higher than I usually give, owing in part to the strength of the efforts and in part to grading on a curve: the Celtics ran up these games against a high level of competition. The Thunder came hard in this game.

  • jp-

    Surprised by the +17 in 11 mins for Barbosa, great win!

    • Phil

      I was surprised it went that high as well. It did seem like everything was flowing offensively while he was in there, but I thought the Thunder were scoring at will too, though the numbers don't really bare that out. One game +/- obviously doesn't tell you a ton, but I think his report card comment is appropriate. He obviously did no harm if he was a +17. With the backup PG performances we've seen lately, I'll gladly take a +17 on a day when his offense isn't there.

  • check12check

    I've learned to live with the idea that this is a more offensively minded team that Celtics teams of the past. I liked that the defense is finally starting to click though. the 100 ;points the thunder scored is a slightly misleading number. the Celtics got after them. I also really like that this win is not on a game where the thunder didn't show up. they played a good game, but just didn't play the best game tonight.

    sidebar. I don't think the thunder were stupid to trade Harden, but this is a (semi)rebuilding year for the thunder. this was a long term move. Martin will make an impact and 1st round draft picks are a good thing.

    • Phil

      The Thunder trade comes down to what your philosophy is as a fan. They got adequate value, especially when you consider their position of weakness. The problem is they took the favorite to come out of the west and made it a contender instead. Just look at the competition in the west, this was the Thunder's conference to lose, and they lost it in September. They could get it back, but it's an uphill climb. If all of the picks work out (and they're really not that high of picks. The Toronto one will be 10+, and the others are likely out of the lottery,) they could get back to western conference favorites.

      They basically gambled a championship, with the payoff being getting back exactly where they were before. There's no upside. That's not Presti's fault though, you can only do so much when your billionaire owners are crying poverty because they're only making 30m a year from the team and don't want to pay an extra 8m for the best chance to win.

      Also, you kind of have to factor in having to watch Kevin Martin every night; gross. Outside of Reggie Evans, he may be my least favorite guy to watch. He gets shot every time he has the ball, and doesn't do anything on the other side of the court.

  • tbunny

    For me it's less about individual grades than the feeling watching the game that the team was collectively committed to winning the game. I hadn't felt that all season, but last night I could see the attitude, "we are going to this game". They'd looked pretty soft all season, but not last night, finally.

  • swissflix

    the best thing about this game was the defense. finally they looked like the team that could strangle opponents on D. So many transition points. i hope it continues to be this way!

  • JR99

    I think when you consider the defense contributed by Bass and Barbosa, you'd probably upgrade them from C territory.

    • Sophomore

      Agreed! Saw Bass make a number of nice plays on the defensive end. He's really made strides there.

  • JCP

    Same thing I noticed. Even more incredible when you see that Rondo finished -9!

    • JCP

      This was supposed to be in reply to the above comment about Barbosa being +17 in 11minutes.

  • nfrench88

    Is there any Hub writer more pessimistic about the Celtics than Ryan DeGama? Haha. Talk about an overreaction to ONE bad game by Bass.

  • Morpheus

    One bad game by Bass? LOL, I assume that was an attempt at sarcasm.

  • NZNICK33

    Was that Jeff Green’s first game against OKC?
    Maybe he just needed some closure…

    • CelticsBIG3

      That was his first game vs. them

  • Kafel

    Good win, great effort. I hope they will bounce with this on right track and dismantle Orlando today.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Wow. Condolences to #32 for the loss of his daughter to Lupus. How awful….