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Celtics-Pacers Grades

 
Indiana Pacers 75 FinalRecap | Box Score 94 Boston Celtics
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.
  • jonathan

    Anyone else wondering why they're using Terry as the off guard while Lee is on the floor? While JET was with Dallas, he would play the pick and roll with Kidd on the bench, and he thrived off it. Maybe Terry playing the pick and Roll with Bass can get both of them going.

  • ghoulbuns

    When this team is clicking I love them. Bass and green can go but our backcourt is the shit

  • Phil

    It was actually four turnovers for Bass in the first; the other wasn't technically a turnover, but a blocked shot was coming right to him for a defensive rebound, and the specter of Roy Hibbert scared him enough that instead of catching it (when no one was actually around him,) he batted it to a Pacer.

    I've been harsh on Rondo, but I think B+ is too low; this is exactly what we need him to do. I thought this was his best game of the last month. 22 points and 8 assists when stretched to 36 minutes? Yes please! I didn't see anything wrong with his defense either. A lot is thanks to Bradley, but Rondo obviously wasn't hurting anything with the overall numbers they put up, and the box score confirms that at the end of the day, Augustin had a below average day, just like DJ Augustine should.

    And Sullinger has just been great lately. I keep going back to wondering in the preseason whether or not he could be better than Bass right away… kind of funny to think about that now. I continue to not see as many rookie whistles as everyone else though. The one where he fouled out was awful, but the rest looked fine to me. You know how you don't get called for needlessly clearing out with your elbow after a rebound? Don't needlessly clear out with your elbow! Sullinger commits a lot of cheap fouls, then seems surprised when not all of them go uncalled. He has to clean that up, because it really looks like the team is going to need him for >30 minutes a night going forward. What a rise it's been.

  • Phil

    One other thing on Sullinger, that I guess goes along with the cheap fouls; I love how he competes and fights. He looks like he has real 'guy who fans of every other team hate' potential. He's getting a hit on someone in every scrum (then does the classic back away with his hands up,) and when he gets a real shot on someone, he makes it count.

    I've heard nothing but good things about his competitiveness or toughness level, and that's a really good combination with his IQ.

    What's funny is that during this run where he's basically been something like +20 while the overall team has been -75, his offensive numbers have been terrible. There's no reason to not expect that to improve, and he could be a real steal once his offense catches up to his attitude. He looks like he's already earned a crunch time spot.

  • jman

    I agree with Phil that rondos grade is low. And I’m a huge critic of rondo. The best part of rondo last night was the energy he gave offense and defense. I don’t expect rondo to be a talented defender especially since most of his energy is used for offense, however the idea that he stayed with his man throughout the game was excellent. For that his grade should be higher. Best defense if the year for him. Let’s hope he continues that swagger. As for doc, great rotations during the game except I think he had at one time, terry/lee/Collins/bass or sully/green in the third. Not a good idea, there is no go to guy with that group. In theory there should be, but as we all know there’s not. Pierce was great due to no hero ball Paul moments. I still would like to see how a lee/Bradley/pierce/kg/sully or bass group would look like on defense. I know you’re all anti bass and even I can’t stand his play at Times, but our true error that needs fixing as a player is green and terry. Rondo needs work as well unless he can contribute the defense and desire we saw last night. Hey Phil, by the way we ran last night and the best defense in the league had no answer. Running works as I always profess. Green needs to go to d-league and doc needs to stop running ray schemes with terry. It’s not working. Terry’s downfall is due to doc’s failure to utilize him correctly. Now let’s get it done tonight. No excuse this time nobody had major minutes accrued last night.

    • jman

      Oh, and doc, if you're not going to use terry correctly, at least use barbosa. Jesus, ever time he plays he gives a great contribution for offense. Use him with lee or Bradley to clean up the lack of defense skill like you would with terry or rondo. Either way great game let's see more.

    • Phil

      I've never argued against running's effectiveness, I've argued that it's not always possible to run. When the other team is shooting 30% and throwing the ball to defenders in the halfcourt, you can torch any defense with it, which is what the Cs did last night.

      In a slow paced game where the Cs are taking the ball out of their own hoop every play (like the Memphis first half,) there's nothing you can do. The good news about that is that the team's defense should be closer to this going forward than what it was earlier in the year. That means more <40% opposing field goal percentages, more turnovers, and more transition offense.

  • IBleedGreen

    Doc is hyping Bradley up so he can be traded. Watch.

    • Phil

      I think Doc may actually attempt to murder Ainge if he stuck him with Green for 4 years 'and' traded Bradley.

  • The Return of Rondo

    Have to third the low grade on Rondo. That was the best D he's played in a while. He stayed in front of his man and was generally quick in his rotations. It's not great D, but it's the better end of the spectrum of what he's capable of – or at least willing to deliver. His aggressiveness was what really stood out. It was "A -" or even a solid "A" in my book. If he played this way every game there's no reason he couldn't average 18 / 10 / 5 for the season. And that's what this team needs him to be. An offensive minded PG.

    I think Lee's grade was also low. Best game of the season would have to mean he brought his "A" game, no? Then A + would be him overperforming. What I love most about his game is how fast he is end to end…both chasing down shots and running on the break. Incredible.

    And wow! Watching Bradley is like watching a clinic in how to stick your man and fight over screens. He clears them so tight, even when he goes over the screen the ball handler has no time to drive. It's a thing of beauty.

    And lastly, I completely agree with Doc having Terry at the off-guard spot. Although he is great with the ball in his hands. His success in running the pick and roll was based around having knock-down shooters like Dirk, or slashers and hard finishers like Matrix and Chandler who all set great pick. When Terry is on the floor, there's none of that kind of talent around him. None of the bench can set solid screens. Colins can't finish at the rim or shoot. Bass' jump shot is awol. Green can't seem to knock down anything but open corner 3's. Lee is really a spot up shooter. So Terry has nobody to run pick and roll with. The only real P n' R stud on the C's is Garnett.

    The C's really aren't a P n' R team, they just don't have the pieces to do that. The offence works best when they get out fast and set up early attacking the rim and kicking out to shooter, or going through KG or Pierce hitting cutters or the open man. We'd be best to emulate the Spurs who play team ball with precision passing and quick ball movement to score.

  • The Return of Rondo

    Oh, and…

    *KG definitely had at least 1 block. He roofed David West (probably for not signing with the C's) then chased down the ball and jumped into the stands to save it and ignite the break…

    Then climbed over the media table to get back on the floor…and took out a monitor…

    Before smacking Psycho-T in the head and getting tossed. Quite the game for KG.

  • I_Love_Green

    Something needs to be done about Jeff Green. Doc has got to find some way this guy doesn't suck 87% of the time.

  • elroz

    Jeff Green blows…now the only hope form him is that he would play good defense and not be a liability on defense. His offense is garbage – he gets stripped of the ball, loses the ball, etc. Doc has to just force Green to be a good defensive player and that's it. When Terry and Lee and Sully are on the floor, the team can do without Green's offense; just make sure you play good D. That's what Danny's mind has done – a 4 year $9 million/year player that you hope will pay good D.

    Bass is basically STUPID. He is just a dumb player…works hard, athletic, but stupid. ..and still cannot hit that simply mid-range jumper.

    Seeing Barbosa and Terry play, I now really don't care if they trade either one along with Bass and Wilcox and 2013 pick for a quality big man. Terry is no more effective than Barbosa…but Babrosba has a smaller contract. So I say, consider Terry-Bass-Wilcox-2013 pick for a quality big man… or you trade Barbosa and keep Terry.

    There is just something Jeff Green about Terry…and that is NOT good.

    Meanwhile, Gasol is dying over there in LA – look at his recent numbers – bad; unfortunately he makes a lot of money. So I'm hoping for Gortat or Nene or Okafor.

    And PLEASE: no updates on the status of Wilcox – what's he going to do when he comes back? Play uninspired defense for 15 minutes a game?

  • check12check

    things i love
    1. KG looking more like KG than he has in a while
    2. the continuing upward trend of Lee's game. the unfortunate thing is that strategically he may become a trade piece, but even if he does i would rather he ups his value first and helps get some wins
    3.Bradley's D already looking all nba first defensive team good.
    4.Sully looks good. still has some trouble with height, but the guy just gets it ya know?

    things i don't like:
    1.Bass' jump shot has gone all harry houdini on us
    2. Anytime Green is on the court. which is really troubling, because the idea for him was to relieve pressure from/ eventually surpass in importance pierce.

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