|Kevin Garnett, PF 24 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +6KG’s stat line doesn’t shout in your face like the TDGarden’s pregame montage, but Garnett’s presence was palpable. Seriously, Tyler Hansbrough can tell you all about the taste of Garnett’s presence.Aside from the flagrant-2/ejection, Garnett was noticeably more amped up for this game. You could see it when he got off the ground to block the Pacer big men at the rim*. It was especially evident when he chased down DJ Augustin in the beginning of the 3rd Quarter and blocked his shot against the backboard. It was a clear case of goaltending but the fact that he was able to get back in time to have a chance to make a play on the ball is something we haven’t always seen this season. KG treated last night like a must-win.
*Garnett wasn’t credited for any blocks, but that is incorrect.
|Brandon Bass, PF 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +1Eeeesh…oh Bass, poor poor Bass. The Celtics turned the ball over three times in the first quarter…all of which came from Bass. He threw the ball behind Rondo in transition, he passed the ball to Paul George after snagging a defensive rebound, and he got in the way of a pass meant for Avery Bradley and the ball found its way to the Pacers. There is something deeply wrong with Bass’ game right now and I can only hope he regains the effectiveness he had last year with the starting lineup staying intact.|
|Paul Pierce, SF 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | +20Pierce didn’t score a lot tonight but he didn’t have to and he didn’t pout about it. That’s the biggest difference between Pierce and some of the other professional scorers in this league. Pierce lets the game come to him. If the game asks him to put up twenty shots, he happily obliges. If the game asks him to lurk around the three point line in transition and snag defensive rebounds, he’s all too happy to do that as well.|
|Rajon Rondo, PG 30 MIN | 9-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 18 PTS | +15The grade may seem a little harsh, but you have to remember the bar that Rondo has set for himself. One could argue that Rondo would have had more points, assists, and rebounds had he played his normal 38 minutes but they can’t deny that Rondo’s defense leaves a lot to be desired. There are time when Rondo is just shy of being a defensive liability when he’s on the court. I’m not sure if it’s his hip or his will but there is something going on with Rondo’s defensive rotations and on-ball defense that is just not good.|
|Avery Bradley, PG 23 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +9Bradley is just an amazing player. He’s a better version of Tony Allen in terms of defense and he doesn’t make all the bone-headed mistakes by which Allen’s career is defined. His offensive game is still coming along but his inability to put the ball in the bucket is almost entirely due to rust and not a lacking in ability. It’s really hard to put into words how Bradley positively affected last night’s game, so I’ll let Doc RIvers do it for me: “Avery (Bradley) was three for eleven and he may have been the most valuable player tonight because his defensive pressure, just on the ball, it made them take so much time to get into their sets and when they got in their sets it wasn’t the right spot. They had to go in places they didn’t want to, and it allowed our entire defense to be dominant.”|
|Jarvis Varnado, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -1Garbage time!|
|Jared Sullinger, PF 30 MIN | 2-7 FG | 3-6 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +17Sully played like a B+ version of Kevin Love, which is an A- version of Jared Sullinger. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I cannot wait until next season when Sully’s rookie whistle gets put away. He has such a knack for rebounding the basketball. There were moments during last night’s game where he out-worked four Pacers for the ball. There were other times where he timed his jump perfectly in order to make up for his lack of athleticism. Every other time he was called for a foul.|
|Jeff Green, PF 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -1He is baffling…and deserves 1000 words of analysis.|
|Jason Collins, C 15 MIN | 0-0 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | +1515 minutes of non-starting makes everyone feel a lot better.|
|Courtney Lee, SG 23 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +13YES! YES! YES! Last night’s game was exactly why the Celtics tried so hard to get Courtney Lee in the offseason and what they expected he would bring. He played active defense, took good shots, and spelled Rondo at the point. This could have been Lee’s best game of the season.|
|Jason Terry, SG 15 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +3There are not enough milk cartons in America to help find Terry’s jump shot.|
|Leandro Barbosa, SG 6 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -2He has never passed. Ever.And it’s awesome!|
|Doc RiversHe must have said something to light the fire under the Celtics between the end of the Memphis game and the beginning of the Pacers game. The Celtics looked like a completely different team and just as Doc deserves our ire when they don’t play well, we have to give him credit when they do.|