Post-game Reactions

Portland Trail Blazers 78 Final

Recap | Box Score

96 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett, PF 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | +21
Garnett was up for this game, which is hardly surprising given that he’s up for every game. Last night though, his emotion matched his production. Garnett made tough shots and didn’t shy away from post-ups. It’s just too bad that Garnett seemingly wasted a night when his offensive game was really cooking. It’s likely that the Celtics would have won the game with or without Garnett’s effort.
Brandon Bass, PF 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +7
Bass is still trying to find his mid-range game. He started off well last night but didn’t end up getting a lot of touches. That usually mean one of two things: 1) the Celtics’ opponent is playing excellent swarming pick and roll defense that prevents Bass from firing away, or 2) the Celtics’ opponents are playing so terribly that the C’s don’t run as many pick and rolls as they normally have to do.

Bass also didn’t rebound well in a game where there were plenty of rebounds to go around.

Paul Pierce, SF 27 MIN | 3-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | +19
Pierce was aggressive and efficient. The perfect bounce-back game from Wednesday where he was just AWFUL. He shot the ball terribly, got embarrassed by Joe Johnson on an isolation play, and couldn’t rally his team to be competitive post-brawl. Tonight, he shot well and didn’t force too much. He was also active on the glass and took over primary play-making duties. Being a play maker in Rondo’s absence is something Pierce has shown he can do pretty well. I don’t think we could have said that 10 years ago. Pierce is just amazing and will never get his proper due.
Jason Terry, SG 31 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | +8
Terry provided what I think the Celtics had hoped he’d provide on a consistent basis: instant offense, timely three point buckets, and crowd pleasing energy plays. The downside of Terry’s performance is that it was against a bad, out of division, out of conference team. However, you can’t fault a guy for the scheduling.
Courtney Lee, SG 37 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +18
I have decided that Celtics fans have been too hard on Courtney Lee. Not only does Lee have to be prepared to start, defend the opposing team’s best/most athletic players, but Doc has also entrusted him with the not-so-glamorous task of mentoring the young’ns. Lee started at guard and played 37 minutes in a Gino win. That’s not easy to do.

As for his production in those 37 minutes, Kris Joseph put it best in the locker room after the game. With a throng of reporters around Lee, it wasn’t long before he was asked about the job he did defending Damian Lillard. Unbeknownst to any of us, Joseph had crept up and was listening to the exchange.  When Lillard’s name was brought up, Joseph instantly whisper-shouted “lock up” while beating his hands together.  Lee won’t say it, but that’s a good way to describe Lee’s effort on Lillard. The play that stands out is definitely Lee’s chase down strip of Lillard in transition. I didn’t think anyone was going to be able to catch Lillard in the open court but when the ball broke out, Lee was soon step-for-step with Lillard and then kicked it up into another gear to get the strip. It was pretty awesome.

He’s still missing his threes, but again, the effort is there.

Jeff Green, PF 23 MIN | 6-13 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +13
I’m trying hard to not over inflate these grades (trying to go DeGama, if you will) because Portland played so terribly. That said, there were times this season where I questioned if Jeff Green could be an effective player in an empty gym. It’s nice to see him be more aggressive and finish buckets. His ability to finish through contact at the rim last night was one of the main takeaways; that, and what appears to be an uptick in court awareness. There were a few times where the ball found its way into Green’s hands with the shot clock winding down and he actually made a basketball move and put up a “good” shot (one of his corner threes and an attempted bail out of Jared Sullinger come to mind). Earlier in the season, his tentativeness in those situations was palpable. Last night, he was deliberate, confident and aware. Let’s hope this becomes the rule and not the exception.

I thought long and hard about this grade and waffled a lot between A- and B+. B+ for the rebounding, A- for everything else. However, I have distinct memories last night of Green be active on the glass. He was only able to snag three but you can’t blame a guy for trying.

(Side Note: I LOVE that Green attempts to shoot the ball at the end of quarters and halves without worrying about the hit on his shooting percentage. Take the shot before the half and the Sully bail out away and Green had 19 points on 6-11 shooting. Not shabby at all).

Jared Sullinger, PF 31 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +11
Sullinger is really coming along. He plays hard, he does what he’s asked to do, and he’s routinely the only guy who really gets into the teeth of a rebounding battle and fights for the ball. There was a moment last night where Sullinger was surrounded by Blazers waiting for a shot to come off the rim. In the midst of four red and black jerseys, Sully expertly timed his calf raise jump and tipped the ball up and in. It was certainly “one of those nights” for the Blazers, but that play doesn’t happen all by itself.

I can’t wait until the refs unburden Sully with the infamous “rookie whistle.” Sullinger gets called for a foul if he’s within five feet of his man.

Chris Wilcox, PF 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +4
I give Wilcox an A+ because he’s sick and came out and played 14 minutes. That is the embodiment of being a Celtic.
Kris Joseph, SF 5 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3
Took three shots in garbage time and missed all three of them. Still, Joseph is tearing up the DLeague and it’s obvious that his performance there is translating to confidence on Varsity. I think he could really be productive given the minutes. I just don’t think he’ll get any.
Jason Collins, C 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7
Jason Collins has 6 fouls. So, that’s pretty cool.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -1
I thought this might have been a game where Barbosa could have really tore it up. Luckily, it wasn’t a killer that he didn’t. He also did what he was supposed to do, just nothing spectacular; ain’t nothing wrong with that!
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  • Phil

    Holy lengthy and detailed grades! I like how you made a note of not wanting to inflate the grades, then gave Wilcox an A+ for trying 🙂

    Just joking around though. Glad to see the grades up, even after a game where it's not really needed to break down how it was won. I can't speak for everyone, but I just like coming here to see some kind of write up on the game. That was the thing I liked the best about the grade format starting up last year. It's a nice, concise way to break down the contributions of everyone who played, and it gives me a window into stuff I may not have noticed. A normal game summary would say something like 'contained Lillard, the Blazers stink, Celtics offense was fine without Rondo'. I watched the game though, so I know all of that. Seeing that Bass had one rebound or Sully and Lee's across the board numbers is stuff I didn't see. Plus, selfishly, I need all the quality Celtics analysis I can get, and there's not many quality sites out there.

  • Phil

    Also, I'm probably verging into fanboy territory with Kris Joseph, but I liked how he was able to get to the rim. He obviously has no idea what to do when he gets there against NBA competition, but it's kind of the same thing that the Austin Rivers apologists are holding onto right now. Not a lot of people can do that at will (and Joseph may not even be able to do it against teams that are trying,) and it leads to good things if he can work on his finishing or a drive and kick game. I'm leery of wings who can't shoot, so hopefully he keeps working on his spot up game, but seeing E'twaun's rise from late second round senior to capable NBA player gives me hope that Joseph isn't necessarily at his ceiling right now.

    Last, is Meyers Leonard already Tommy's favorite visiting player? I don't remember him being that enthusiastic for any visitor since Brad 'Slimy' Miller, and not in a positive way ever.

  • CG12

    Watching Courtney Lee right now reminds a lot of Avery Bradley at the beginning of last year. Everyone was ripping Avery because he wasn't making shots. But the general wisdom was that he was taking his shots, so it wasn't surprising when he got more comfortable and they started going down. Courtney plays balls out defense, really runs the floor, and is a good finisher at the hoop. The 3-point shot will come. Games like last night and tonight will help him get a rhythm. Even if he hasn't been visibly over-whelming, I love the Lee pick-up for this year and for the future. the guy is just a baller, and one of few guards on the C's who doesn't need the ball to impact a game.

    • Rav

      The difference is that Avery Bradley was adjusting to a new job, a new league, a new style of play, a new role and more distant 3-point line, while also coming back from injury. Courtney Lee is a veteran, and as of now he's not playing a drastically different role (fewer minutes, for sure, but not that much different) – he should be able to find his range after preseason.

  • elroz

    Reading the grade A- for Pierce, and that "he showed that he can be a play-maker" makes me wonder if the write actually watched the game – WATCH THE GAME! Pierce made a lot of turnovers, silly ones, bad passes, lost the ball…he had 5 turnovers in limited minutes. It was difficult to watch him handle the ball..it 3was horrid. How can anybody who actually watched the game say that or give him A- ?!

    • GowGow

      Elroz is never satisfied. Just go through all his posts.