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Celtics-Knicks Grades

Boston Celtics 102 Final

Recap | Box Score

96 New York Knicks
Kevin Garnett, PF 38 MIN | 6-11 FG | 7-7 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +1
A ferocious and masterful game by KG. Not only did he play 38 long, physical minutes and score 19 points on 11 shots, he added 10 rebounds and 3 steals. On top of all that, he completely undid Carmelo Anthony, pushing him off his spots and throwing him off his game.
Brandon Bass, PF 32 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +2
The rare game from Bass where his impact exceeded his numbers.
Paul Pierce, SF 28 MIN | 10-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 23 PTS | +1
Some may eventually look back on Pierce’s career with regret because he languished in obscurity (relatively speaking) until KG and Ray Allen arrived in 2007. He deserved better because he is absolutely built for the bright lights. Takes particular pleasure in torturing the Knicks. Hit a couple of backbreaking shots in the fourth quarter, including one perfect time capsule step-back. Be still my beating heart.
Avery Bradley, PG 33 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | +4
There’s been a lot of mockery around the league about Bradley’s potential impact on the Celtics but since he’s been back he’s completely changed Boston’s defense. His ball pressure forces teams to get into their offense late, he regularly breaks up pick and rolls and he gets up into bigger offensive players. All that plus 5 assists, and 6-11 shooting.
Jason Terry, SG 31 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 2 PTS | -1
More atrocious shooting but he did manage to pull down a few boards and hand out a few dimes. Should tip his cap to Bradley, whose return is keeping the spotlight off Terry’s recent troubles. That noted, I have an evidence-free conviction he’ll come around for the playoffs.
Jared Sullinger, PF 19 MIN | 3-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +9
One of his very best games of the year. He’s so adept at carving out space under the basket, holding off an opposing rebounder with one arm and snagging the ball with his free hand. Plus, he knows how to play off the ball and when to cut. Plus, he digs contact. In my mind, he’s the starter-elect but Doc will probably filibuster any changes to the starting lineup now the C’s are winning again.
Jeff Green, PF 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +6
A legitimately terrific game from Green. He helped force Melo into a terrible shooting night, attacked judiciously but regularly and pulled down 6 big rebounds. I have absolutely no confidence he’ll carry this over to Wednesday night but Green was dynamite tonight.
Courtney Lee, SG 20 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | +3
He ended up getting fewer minutes than expected despite Rondo’s absence but as has been typical of his recent good play, Lee managed to contribute in multiple ways beyond just playing defense. He’s clearly turning the corner and the real question is whether a trade and another team awaits him around the bend.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 13 MIN | 3-3 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +5
Points when the C’s needed ’em.
“From Starter to DNP: The Jason Collins Story.”
  • Phil

    I was confused by the blatant disregard a lot of people nationally had towards Bradley's defense. I'm sure part of it was a side effect of scoffing at the notion of him as a savior (national opinion towards the Celtics and Boston's opinion of the Celtics have been 'very' different for about three years, so when fans legitimately believe he's going to turn a team playing like the Raptors into a contender, there's backlash,) but there's hard statistical data that his defense is real. Take this passage from the Avery Bradley Bible for example (originally from Hollinger's Per Diem, April 10th 2012):

    "The lineup data supports the idea that Boston has found itself a defensive lineup for the ages. Check out the carnage on NBA.com's advanced stats tool: When Bradley and Garnett play together, Boston gives up 88.8 points per 100 possessions, allows 38.8 percent shooting and forces nearly one turnover for every assist. This is scary stuff, and it's not one of those small-minute flukes, either — they've played 658 minutes together.

    You think that's impressive? How's this: When Rondo and Bradley play together, opponents average 82.2 points per 100 possessions."

    Last I checked, KG is still a defensive force and Rondo is still on the team (when he doesn't bump refs at least…) Bradley's defensive rating is already under 90 this year. It's hard for a guard to get into the same conversation as bigs like KG, but the numbers can't lie after so long. Year 2 of historic defensive numbers ahead?

    • Rav

      To be fair, many experts recognize Bradley as one of the best (i.e. top 5) defenders at the 1 and 2 spots already. They were more skeptical as to whether that would translate to saving this Celtics team, and especially whether any turnaround would be immediate. Bradley has transformed our defense, for sure, but if the Cs want to make another deep post-season run in an Eastern Conference where the Heat, Knicks, Hawks, Pacers and Bulls are all as good or better than last year, they'll need more than just the return of Avery.

      • Phil

        True, and I'm sure there's some Boston based confirmation bias in me remembering the people letting their opinion towards Bradley being a savior slipping into their opinion of his defensive effect. There's definitely a big belief that the effect a guard can have defensively is significantly below big men though, and that's part of it. Bradley's on his way to shirking that thought it seems to me.

        It's too early to tell on the part about the Celtics needing more than Avery (unless you count everyone else playing better as something else,) though I don't know how Chicago got better. They traded their entire defensively elite second unit for cheap offensive stop gaps, and they're replacing a top 5 PG with one coming off an ACL. Even if you could ensure that Rose is 100%, they're much worse than last year pre-Rose injury. As they are now, I'd probably take the team that lost to the 76ers over the one this year with an iffy Rose.

        • Josh_5

          Just to play devil's advocate here……See Adrian Peterson 2012.

  • Cry Melo Cry

    I love Sully a little more each game. Watching him go at Chandler despite giving up 4 – 5 inches in height, having so much fun while doing it, and often getting the better of him was awesome. He's a total throwback player to the 80s. He just loves contact

    I recommend Terry for a grade bump. He worked his ass off on D…not easy when you are older and never really were good at it…and he took on Kidd and made a clutch basket when we needed it. That's really why we got him. To make baskets when they matter most and I have a feeling this game will help him turn the corner and break him out of his shooting slump.

    The scoreboard doesn't seem to reflect just how stifling the D was…but the frustration of the Knicks sure did. They were all fighting mad that we dug into them and make everything so hard.

    Really fun to watch Melo go to pieces… but seriously… what the hell was with the refs. The guy was begging for a second T the entire fourth quarter and the refs just refused to call it. I honestly think he wanted to get tossed to end his miserable shooting night.

    I hope his post-game locker tirade gets him a suspension. I really like Melo, but that's just crap. Grow up. It's a game…and you lost.

  • Phil

    An update on Sullinger; he's officially passed KG for team lead in +/-. Intangibles are fun to talk about and all, but his tangibles are having a hugely positive impact. A lot of people want to make him the starter, but there's a lot of value in having a proven positive impact player coming into the game as KG goes to the bench.

    I feel obliged to point out again how well Jeff Green played given how hard I've been on him lately. He attacked consistently, made the right pass when needed, and rebounded at a respective level. He was a helpful piece of the team tonight, and it's not often I can say that. Ryan's confidence level going forward mirrors mine though, unfortunately.

    This was the type of game the Celtics just haven't been able to pull off lately. The Knicks were good throughout, but everyone stepped up, and the Celtics matched what's been arguably the best team in the East this year. It was entertaining as hell to watch too, and doesn't that count for something?

    • Rav

      Even if Green maintains this level, he's still not worth $9 million per year. Especially when it seems nobody was bidding against Boston. Still, as long as the owners are willing to pay, I'm happy if Jeff Green can just be a net positive.

      • Phil

        Preaching to the choir there. As I like to beat my head into the desk over, not only is it four years at that ridiculous rate, it's a player option in year 4. So even if he did turn into a 12m dollar a year+ star (which is impossible given his skillset, but whatever,) you wouldn't even get him cheap in year 4!

        Ainge could've had him for 2 years 20m easy. Overpaying for this year and next, but he's off the books when you need to rebuild. No one was going to match any 4 year offer either, so why not go like 4 years 22m? If he wants to take a shorter more lucrative deal elsewhere, let him. Best of all, why not just sign him to a one year deal?! Why give a player who just had a one year deal voided because of a serious health scare a 4 year deal at all?!

        He was a net positive last night at least, and that's a start. Given how much worse the team has been with him on the court since he got here (I think it was something like 20 points per 100 in the 2010 playoffs,) I'll take anything.

  • James Patrick

    Melo's a little bitch. Following KG after the game? Waiting for him by the team bus? He's such a punk ass pu$$y who had no intentions to fight, just wanted to show he was tough. Well that better get him a suspension. No player should ever wait at another teams bus, pretending to be tough or not. KG was probably laughing at his dumb ass.


    • janos

      hi James Patrick
      I am agree this one for yes. plus one you.

  • Danny

    Can it be true? Are the big bad Boston Celtics really back after so many including myself left them for dead? That was a great win the kind of win that I’ve become used to over the last 5 years. Tough suffocating defense timely offensive with some back breaking shots. KG was in Melos head all game. Loved pierce giving it to spike lee after the big shot. This team may finally be coming together.great to see to Jeff green finally play aggressive and find his shot. This team is building confidence with each game.

  • Danny

    Side note this was really the first time I’ve watched the Knicks this year other than on Xmas day and I have to say I’m not impressed. Really their entire offense consists of jacking 3s and isos. Sorry but no team has ever won a championship that way. Not taking anything away from us cuz that was a great win but I don’t think the Knicks will be very good come playoff time. Maybe when its all said and done their early season record will turn out to have been as much of a mirage as ours.

    • hydrofluoric

      Raymond Felton has been awesome for the Knicks. He can shoot the 3 but he's also got a nice floater and he's the one who's supposed to be lobbing it to Chandler. As you may have noticed, there were several terrible lob attempts this game – Felton is way better at it.

      • Danny

        Fair enough. They were missing a starter. I just expected more from them. Can't make too much judgement off one game. But when you hit something like what 15 3s and still lose I think it speaks to some team flaws thats all.

        • Phil

          In the Knicks' defense, they also had their best player throw up a stinkbomb game. Anthony has been very important to everything they do this year, and you have to expect him to be better next time the two play. Most teams lose when their best player sucks. His night along with Felton being out screwing up their pick and roll was enough to derail them.

          Amare being back would really concern me if I was a Knicks fan though. Anthony logged a lot of time at the 3 last night (including starting there. I'm glad I'm not a Knick fan, otherwise I'd be freaking out about Marcus Camby starting so Anthony can play where he's worse,) and that might stay the same. Amare's going to hurt their defense (he was a -20 or something last night despite hitting everything,) and they're not an elite team with Anthony at the 3.

          • NHBluesMan

            it sounds like you're not giving the C's enough credit for the defense they played on Melo- it's not like he was getting open shots and just missing them, KG and Pierce were getting him out of his comfort zone into shots he doesn't normally take or doesn't like to take. I doubt the C's defensive approach will change the next time these teams play, and i expect Melo will still struggle to get his points against the C's next time

          • Phil

            There's playing good defense on someone, then there's a top 5 MVP candidate shooting 20% from the field. The Celtics deserve a ton of credit for making Anthony take bad shots and getting him off his game. I also highly doubt it happens consistently throughout a 7 game series (though that alone won't decide a winner of course.) You can't stop the best players, only make it tougher on them.

            I was also speaking to the Knicks' season as a whole, and Boston's specific defense is only 4/82nds of that.

  • IBleedGreen

    WE ARE BACK!!!!

  • IBleedGreen

    If AB can play the kind of offense he played in the 2nd half and maintain his defense he’s going to be good. Not great not all-star but good.

    • Phil

      Bradley's play last year 'was' all star good; don't get caught up in the trap of just looking at offensive numbers for impact, defense is half of the game. That's how people end up giving Amare Stoudamire 20m a year, Al Jefferson 16m or whatever, all while criticizing the Rockets for giving Asik 8m a year. Guess who's by far the best out of the those 3? It's the same thing for guards, Monta Ellis will make an all star team long before Bradley, but the value between Ellis and a bad offensive Bradley isn't even close.

      I don't know why so few people understand that holding the other team to less points is just as valuable as helping your team score more.

      • NHBluesMan

        if only the All-Star game wasn't a popularity contest… if they actually played defense in the game Bradley would be in for sure, but since they don't he'll continue to be overlooked

        • Phil

          Yeah, just to be clear, I was referring to a level of value that actually leads to wins regarding Bradley. Actually making the all-star team is much different.

  • hydrofluoric

    1. If we lock down the defensive board and grab 75% instead of 65% of those, we win by 20 last night.

    2. Give Jeff Green an A or an A+! He D'd up, bodied up, grabbed boards, and attacked the basket. The guy will never be a high-IQ player in terms of playmaking or defensive rotations, but this was by far his best game of the season. and we may never see it again.

    3. Courtney Lee has quietly been emerging in the last month. He can't D up quite like Avery but there was one possession when he and Avery were together in the backcourt and the Knicks burned off about 20 seconds fumbling the ball between their guards. He will be good for the C's now that Avery's back.

    4. Avery's jumper has returned. League should be very scared.


    • Rav

      Courtney Lee is great when he's your 4th guard in the rotation. With Rondo, Bradley, Terry and Lee, we have one of the better guard rotations in the league (though it is somewhat deficient in size).

  • janos

    if we are had cusins this game he would have kills that guy

  • skeeds

    It's weird to say just days after I was hoping for Ainge to blow it up, but that's one hell of a bench right there. Even with the JET struggling, simply the emergence of Sully and Lee and Green slowly starting to ease into their roles, it makes a ton of difference. Not to mention, Barbosa's 8pts-3assists in 13 minutes are no fluke.

    Seeing things optimistically, I'd say we're on a good track. One thing I like, is that for the first time in a couple of years, we've got gamechangers in our roster. One cannot underestimate how important an offensive board, a drawn charge or a good hard foul can be for the team's morale, or what an annoying lockdown "I'm gonna embarrass you before you cross halfcourt" defender can do for the opposing team's mentality.
    Bradley and Sully, (and I maintain the faith that Green too, when aggressive) can be game changers. They're not gonna win you the game, but they'll make these kinds of plays that swing momentum. Here's to hoping they make a habit out of this.
    How awesome is to watch Sully playing with KG mentality out there? I LOVE it! The kid's bought in to the whole mentor thing, got help his soul. He'll end up crazy, no doubt, but a great ball player.

    • hydrofluoric

      Just wanna comment on Barbosa's line. The commentators were very impressed with his play, mentioning that Barbosa was having one of his best games as a Celtic.

      The fact is, Barbosa almost ALWAYS has one of his best games as a Celtic when he plays! Was great seeing him unleashed today.

    • NHBluesMan

      i loved it when Barbosa came in and had a similar effect against the Heat in game 1… if he can do that on a consistant basis it would be HUGE for the C's

  • vandell green

    If we can walk away with 4 w’s out of the up comming 5 game home stand I will be convinced. great game against the tricks oh im sorry… the knicks NXT UP PHX ! LETS GO CELTICS! Carmelo should be punished, his actions where premeditated, and borderline violent. KG isnt the only trash talker, he’s just the best at it. Give Green a solid A, and terry a C+ at the very least. GO C’s !!!!!!

  • ghoulbuns

    so now we trade rondo for josh smith.

  • CG12

    3 wins in a row – against the #2, 3, and 5 teams in the East. Great stuff. I want to see more KG-Sully-Green-Lee-Bradley. That lineup will see some time around the quarter breaks and can be a defensive mutant. Seeing Lee and Bradley D up on the perimeter gets me embarrassingly excited. So nasty.

    I also love seeing Carmelo fold like a house of cards as soon as someone leans on him (both mentally and physically). No way this Knicks team will contend. None.

  • CG12

    And this was a great example of how much better the team's ball movement can look when Rondo isn't out there pounding the air out of the ball. Rondo is a wonderful player in some ways, but his weaknesses are very poorly suited for this team. Rondo would be best on a young, fast-paced team. The C's are an old, execution-oriented team. A more "traditional" PG who can bring the ball up, get the team into its sets, get the scorers the ball where they like it, and hit open shots would make far more sense. But he's who we got, so let's roll with it.

    • jman

      The team always looks better when rondo isn't player. They always use everyone's strengths and executes fairly well compared to when rondo is playing. Why? Who knows unless we're the players or coaches. However, doc allows them to play more freely without rondo. That's why I always say it's time for a change. A major change. And rondo's highly valuable right now. However, if he could just play the game and actually put effort into the game by playing the correct way and to listen to the coaches and his team then yeah, I'll stop talking trash. But if he's going to be compared to mvp's and people are going to say he,s the best player on the team, I'll keep laughing for he's not even close. If he plays ththe way he did in atlanta for the rest of the year thsn yeah, he's the man. But as always, look what happens. I don't care if it was a bullshit suspension or not. The point is is that he has a great game, then the next night where is he? Inconsistent as all get out mentally and physically. All-star big can be promising and will help this team much more compared to an inconsistent guard.

  • Rav

    Oh and Barbosa as well!