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Paul Pierce Is Still The Truth: Celtics 103, Cavaliers 91

 
Cleveland Cavaliers 91 Final

Recap | Box Score

103 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett, PF 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +1Pretty run of the mill effort from Mr. Garnett and that by no means is a bad thing. He clearly enjoyed playing beside the defensive minded Collins, but the two of them were beat up badly on the defensive glass, which continues a trend for the past few games for KG. I’ll take good defense any day over subpar defensive rebounding and that’s what KG at the four with Collins gives the C’s. He also bears some responsibility for being on the floor during the massive comeback by the Cavs in the second half.
Paul Pierce, SF 34 MIN | 13-16 FG | 8-8 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 40 PTS | +29Are there any more pluses available for Pierce? He deserved them tonight. The best part about his performance tonight wasn’t the 40 points in my opinion. It’s that he did EVERYTHING well on the floor. The model of efficiency (16 shots, 8 FTA), Pierce facilitated on offense (five assists) helped crash the glass (8 boards), didn’t turn the ball over. It was beauty in motion. I know it was against one of the worst defensive teams in the league without their best center, but still what a sight to behold.
Jason Collins, C 23 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | +23The starting debut for Mr. Defense at the center spot. Loved the shot selection (haha), the rebounding as I discussed in my post Tuesday will also leave something to be desired, but Collins knows how to defend and has for years. The Cavs shot 41 percent as a team and Boston was not a revolving door on defense when the big man was in the game. That’s progress and more than likely will earn him a few more starts here. Hell, nothing else has been working.
Rajon Rondo, PG 37 MIN | 7-11 FG | 6-10 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 20 PTS | +22Still was a bit sloppy with the ball, but I love that the offensive aggression carried over from the Chicago game. 10 trips to the free throw line is a season-high for the point guard and when the bench isn’t showing up on the offensive end, the C’s really benefited from the added offense from their All-Star point guard.
Jason Terry, SG 35 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | +18Welcome back to the starting lineup. Terry gets added back into the starting five to spread the floor more with the non-factor Collins out there, as well as the fact that Collins will help hide his defensive miscues on the other end. Like Pierce, an efficient night from a crafty veteran. Team still needs to figure out how to get him the ball with space to maneuver more consistently.
Jeff Green, PF 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -17All that goodwill that Paul Pierce built up in the third quarter with that 20-point lead in the TD Garden? Green put a stop to that. The fact I feel like I might be going easy on him with the D+ is not a good sign.
Jared Sullinger, PF 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -3The only offensive boards for the night for Boston came from Sullinger. There weren’t many to be had on a night the C’s shot 60 percent but still somewhat concerning. With Bass not shooting particularly well, wouldn’t mind seeing whether the rookie can handle a heavier minutes load alongside Collins/KG.
Brandon Bass, PF 27 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +3Was part of the C’s second unit meltdown in the second half, paired with KG on the floor. Averaging just four points on 32 percent shooting in his past five games. Folks, I think we may have a slump on our hands.
Courtney Lee, SG 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -9Showed some nice bouts of aggressiveness, but the turnovers (3) need to stop.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7Meh.
  • -JP

    Is Jeff Green just a terrible player or is there still some rust and whatnot? I don't get it, seems like he has talent, but refuses to use it when on the floor.

    Otherwise, great night for PP, good for Rondo. Not a bad debut from Collins, although the Cavs are terrible. Lets see how he does when he has to face the Bucks with their good defense and quick guards

    • elroz

      Pietrus squeezed much more out of his limited talent than Green does out of his allegedly large pool of talent. What a horror show for $9 mil a year. Pietrus would have given his all there for 1/2 the money. Pietrus is from the same philosophy and mettle that Perk is…and so Danny goes with Green instead, again.

      Ouuugh…. I'd be so happy for Green to make me put my foot in my mouth…but we are fated to see occasional flashes of 15-19 points between long periods of bad and uninspired basketball for precious cap space. If that guy played on the 2012 playoff team, the Celtics would have been bounced out in the first round.

      • CelticsBIG3

        No doubt. He truly sucks. In the minds of children he is impressive as he once every 5 games or so dunks impressively. Otherwise he is a scrub. Hope your reading all this Jeff.

        • Marko

          I remember reading a post from a Thunder fan after the Perkins trade. He said you will see flashes of good play from JG but then he disappears for long stretches. Sounds like things have not changed at all from his OKC days.

  • elroz

    How can you grade Barbosa? He only had 3 minutes. Not fair.

    Jeff Green – two D- for yesterday and tonight. This guy is just a killer for the team. $9 seem to have been wasted…Danny HAS to face up. I know he hasn't faced up to the Perk trade…so I'll assume that he will not face up to this either; that's a shame…and it smells like Red Sox ownership style…not good.

  • I_Love_Green

    I'm not very optimistic about this team right now. Hopefully things begin to look a little better soon.

    • janos

      just believes nba celtics they are delivers for us have the faith ok thank you

  • Phil

    Agreed that Green's D+ felt high. I was legitimately expecting the first F of the year (Terry's D for his 1-12/terrible defense game is the year low, right?) Everyone does usually get bumped up on a win though, so it's understandable.

    In a vacuum though, his game was pretty terrible. Pierce checked out for Green midway through the third, and the Cavs proceeded to go on a 17-0 run before he sat back down. Add in the line of 3 points/1 rebound and you have what I think was Green's worst night as a Celtic (though I can't say that with confidence.) -17 in 14 minutes in a game where you lead by 20 and won by double digits is sad. That's sad for an end of the bench player making the minimum. 303 to go!

  • Phil

    I don't want to be overly negative though, I was just blinded momentarily by the new low point of the Jeff Green era. What a game for Pierce! I wasn't even sure he still had a game like that in him. I'm aware that he won't be able to bring that constantly, but it makes me feel good to just know it's there. He can still be a very good player if he draws fouls and hits threes.

    I'm liking this new attacking Rondo as well. It goes with his entire mercurial package, but it just looks like he decided three or four nights ago to completely change his mentality on the floor. It will take some fine tuning, but this form has a higher ceiling than 13/13.

    I'm still wary of Collins in the starting lineup, but one game wasn't going to prove anything either way. I assume Doc will stick with it for a couple games, so we'll see what happens against Milwaukee and going forward.

    • check12check

      +1 for mercurial

  • pam

    I’d like to see more of sully (regular season is the time to learn team defense) and not using him with bass makes sense. I feel he could play more with Collins. Collins helps guard the 5 and provides good d. Sully makes up for his rebounding. Also kg really needs to teach these young bigs how to talk on defense.

  • swissflix

    i was cheering for Jeff Green and hoping for him to succeed but he just is not getting it. He cannot defend, he is passive on the offense and in general just looks like he does not know what to do. Right now i would trade him for little or no value just for the sake of salary space.
    We really really need a big body. It's just awful to watch how we cannot defend. Zeller torched us, for awhile it was Pierce and Zeller back and forth.

    • CelticsBIG3

      I equate Green's floor time to that of a student who shows up to class and forgot there was a big exam. He's looking all around the room to try to figure out what is going on, and when the test gets passed out, he just kinda sits there waiting to fail, maybe attempting to answer a question or two.

  • skeeds

    …and yet, even with Varejao out, we let Zeller drop 20 on us. So basically it's not good big men that give us trouble anymore, its big men in general….
    some perfect celtic defense in the 4th quarter was really encouraging though… Here's to hoping this keeps up.

    • Phil

      We do have to be careful as fans to not fall into the whole blinder effect when we look at the team. Not even the best defenses hold every player that goes against them under their season averages. Random big guys will have good days against anyone.

      Tristan Thompson shot 2-10 and Zeller only had 3 rebounds (his 20 points were on 15 shots too,) so it wasn't like the Noah domination the night before. Big man defense wasn't the problem during the only 5 minute stretch the Cs played poorly during last night as much as overall incompetence was.

      • skeeds

        definitely, it's quite easy to be overly pessimistic even when things are starting to look up. I know I tend to do that a lot myself. I just think it's worth pointing out that this might not be a game to base our hopes on, when our biggest trouble, rebounding and post defense, or in this case, Varejao, was not a factor.
        To begin to talk about a resurgence, I personally want to see a game where we have to deal with a post threat and we manage to do just that. Christmas against the Nets and Brook Lopez would be a great game to prove this.

  • CG12

    Hey, what did everybody think of Jeff Green's game last night?

    • Josh_5

      Hahaha!!

    • janos

      is good jokes

  • janos

    I would give him F but is just me

  • kgainez

    Why does bass get a pass? And Jeff does not? Were they not both equally awful and responsible for the meltdown?

    Jeff’s contract will not make sense until 2013/14 when Jeff has career high averages and it seems like a steal. Please read up on the Rondo contract.

    • Phil

      Bass contract: 6m a year 3 years remaining – Probably a little over his value, but that's about his market value; he likely could've gotten more elsewhere. Anyone that plays the 4 or 5 is inherently worth more money than someone who doesn't. That's important to keep in mind when looking at contracts like his and Asik's. I'd say Bass is a mil or two overpaid though. Bass is struggling, but he has lower expectations than Green (deserved or not,) and he's proven he can be helpful in the past. Green has never done that in the NBA, let alone with the Celtics.

      Green contract: 9m a year 4 years remaining (player option in year 4, facepalm.) – I'm not even gonna guess how much Green is overpaid (6m? 7m?) He's been in the league long enough, this is who he is. People will continue to make excuses for him, because that's who he is, but he sucked after the Perk trade two years ago, the team did just fine without him last year, and he sucks again this year. I really don't get what you're trying to accomplish by comparing him to…

      Rondo contract: 11m a year for 3 years remaining – Considering he would get multiple max offers if his contract was randomly terminated right now, it's actually one of the most valuable in the entire league. You have him locked up for 3 years at millions under his true value. He's a no brainer all star, and will likely finish inside the top 10 in MVP voting. If Green gave you 9/11ths of Rondo's value, the team would be in 3rd in the east.

      • hydrofluoric

        If Green gave us 80% of Rondo's ability, the Celtics would be 1st in the East…

      • http://twitter.com/kgainez @kgainez

        my point is when we first signed Rondo there was all this talk about his contract was bad cuz he was inconsistent, etc etc. that's my point. this contract was about the future.

        I do not disagree that it'd be nice to see things pay off with Jeff right now. But also, look at the entire team. Regardless of how much Bass gets paid, he's in the same slump (I think it's been the same amount of days) as Jeff. I'm not an apologist, I just think people want way too much from him. How do we expect Jeff to be CONSISNTENT on an INCONSISTENT team.

        Also, please notice Jeff has had this wonderful games being fed by RONDO…a true PG. When he's not on the floor with a true PG (one that hogs the ball and passes to him with less than 6 seconds on the clock) he has to create out of thin air. If we can play into KGs strengths, and Rondo's and whomever's…why not Jeff's?

        We need a big, but we also need a 2nd unit PG.

        • Phil

          An honest question, not me being negative: What are Jeff Green's strengths? He can finish well in transition, and…?

          He's shown a very nice corner 3 game this year, which I'd love to see continue, but aside from that, getting the ball and going iso 'is' his entire game. He plays like Pierce, only he can't shoot as well, can't finish as well at the rim, and isn't as good of a playmaker. This is all ignoring defense/rebounding. He's an offense only player who's limited on offense. That's not Rondo's fault. Rondo can set others up for what they do best, but Green has a bunch of mediocre skills, not one good go to one.

          We expect Green to consistently not hurt the team. Given his contract (and it will always come back to that, fair or not.) that's not too much to ask. He hasn't done that, and games like last night are easy to point at.

          Also, no one criticized the Rondo contract as far as I know. He got less money than Mike Conley when Mike Conley still sucked. Everyone knew he took a home town discount, we just didn't know he would be this much underpaid.

          And I know you were originally referring to the grades, not me, but I've been more critical of Bass than Green. The team depends on Bass, they expect little from Green. Bass giving you nothing hurts more.

    • CG12

      While his potential for the future couldn't possibly make up for his incredibly uneven and uninspiring performance thus far this year, it is important to remember that the contract Green received had as much, if not more, to do with planning for the future than with this year. There is no doubt in my mind that Green would be much improved if he were playing 30-35 minutes a night, as opposed to 20.

      • Phil

        Is it okay if that's my problem with the contract? If you knew he was going to underperform the contract the next two years (or however long Pierce is here,) why not give him a 2 year deal worth 20m or something? Then you can sign him even cheaper in 2013-14. There's no defense for the contract no matter how you slice it.

        And for the record, there's a lot of doubt that he'd play better with more minutes. He'd put up more numbers, but he played 37 minutes a game for OKC and actually scored and rebounded worse than he has at points this year.

        …I'm gonna have to go back to completely ignoring Green, aren't I?

        • http://twitter.com/kgainez @kgainez

          so that in 2013-14, he can be this great player that wants to demand 15 mil a year? No thanks.

          If Jeff plays well, we get a steal if he stays.
          If Jeff plays ok (more consistently), we can package him and another guy and create an asset.

          He's going to get it. We saw glimpses and I think his teammates can bringit out of him. I think we need to be more patient.

          • Phil

            It's a player option in year 4! Not only was it a horrible contract in every way, but if he does somehow blossom into some kind of amazing star player, he can just opt out for a better contract!

            That player option is the most laughable thing about the whole thing for me. I would bet just about anything that no team was matching 4years/36m with no player option. It was ex-player sympathy from Ainge.

            The thing a lot of people miss, Green is not an asset right now. I mentioned the Ben Gordon trade yesterday; the Pistons 'gave up' a 1st rounder to get Charlotte to take the final 2 years/24m on Gordon's contract. That's what we're looking at with Green. If he plays well enough, the Celtics will keep him. Otherwise, he's on this team unless you give something up.

            Patience is fine, but you also have to acknowledge at least a little that this is year 6.

          • Phil

            Edit: The premise of the original poster was that Green was always going to struggle with Pierce on the team. I personally disagree, I think Ainge thought that Green could play the 4 alongside Pierce.

            If you expected Green to be a backup to Pierce and nothing more (which he basically is,) that's when you give him the two year deal that they always should have offered. Then you get to look at him for two years and see if he should be a part of your rebuilding plan or not. Now he's locked into the rebuilding plan, even if you find out he sucks. I don't know what potential ceiling you think Green has, but he's never gonna be worth more than 10m a year. He doesn't play defense or rebound!

      • http://twitter.com/kgainez @kgainez

        agreed. he had 10 and 15 in his last 2 nights…he also didn't play alongside Rondo.
        I think Jeff should be the first off the bench instead of Bass. Get some Rondo playing time. That's where he's best.
        Jet and Courtney can create their shots better than Jeff. As can Barbosa. This is obvious.

  • The Cardinal

    Doc made a step in the right direction last night by starting a true center – even if that center is somewhat limited (hell, so was Perk when he was here) – and moving KG to the 4 for much of the game. I still see KG at the 5 during the closing minutes of a close game but other than that, I really believe he's more productive and less exhausted when chasing 4's around the court as opposed to banging with big body 5's.

    After watching lesser-talented and rookie big men game after game having career nights against our front line, I would go one step further by recalling Fab Melo and easing him into a backup role. There are rookies just as raw playing decent minutes and contributing for some of the perennial non-contenders, and as of this moment (and if "contender" means a legitimate shot at a championship), we are are a non-contender. I'd be willing to live with his rookie mistakes as a backup 5 since it's obvious that: 1) the C's may not even make the playoffs if Bass, Wilcox and/or Sullinger continue to consistently fill that role with the 2nd unit, and 2) a true center, experienced or not (remember Erden?), who is willing to clog the lane, bang, and lay down the hard fouls will slow down the layup drills other teams have been running against us. Just sayin'…

  • drake
  • check12check

    The thing with green is that his value gets inflated because of his athleticism. Really, it's pretty much the only thing he has going for him. If his athleticism was being used well on D and just showing up in spurts on the offense it would be ok. Instead we get an awesome highlight dunk or two a game and pretty much nothing else. He has an NBA level physique, but not an NBA level game

    • Phil

      First player that came to my mind reading that description was Alonzo Gee, maybe because we saw him last night. Great dunker and athlete, but it doesn't translate to much more; 12 points/4 rebounds. Sound familiar?

      Couldn't agree more though. (Gee makes 3.5m for 3 years for the record.)

  • check12check

    another thought.

    Can collins be a poor man's version of Perk for us? I'm really not sure one way or the other so i'm kind of asking.

    Also, LOVED the comment about his shot selection. lol

  • geo

    Really think Collins is a nice fit with KG at the 4, and he seems to be in great muscular shape, a few more starts and he will have the wind to run. he is certainly a very poor mans Roy Hibbert, aka he is 7'1+ but cant jump more than 2 inches off the ground and can push people around. he knows how to screen and this instantly means that Rondo, Lee, Green and hopefully soon Bradley will have easier cuts to the basket.

    Jeff Green i honestly(but sadly) think is better in the post, his iso game has been too limited by the role he played at OKC, Its a shame to see someone that long and quick be forced into a role of the corner 3 (which on an upside he has hit incredibly consistently when it counts).

    Now look back at the start of the season. KG was the assumed starting center, but we never really wanted that given 17 years of pro PF. Collins and Darko were supposed to be the plugs, and Hollins, wait i mean Melo…(JK) was supposed to be our athletic big off the bench.

    We have asked too much out of Bass(though on close watch he really tries his ass off, just dont expect that jump shot to be money) and Sullinger and stupidly overpaid Green to be our savior.

    Does Sullinger remind anyone else of Shaun Marion? as in he is a big(ish) who really could play any front court position decently, and get some highlights without having big numbers? (though with a nicer looking if not effective jumpshot)

    At least with collins on the radar we are getting back somewhat to Ainge's original throught process for the team this season, and with the pickup of a true big, or the surprising, hopefully, emergence of melo of the bench we can make a decent run to save face

  • Josh_5

    Cardinal brought up a very good point. Our lack of a true 5 on this team is so blatantly obvious. He mentioned how even just having Semih Erden and Greg Stiesma clog the paint was better than nothing and I couldn't agree more. Let Collins (a true 5) start at center and give you 20 min a game.

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