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Celtics-Bulls Grades

Chicago Bulls 100 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett, PF 39 MIN | 5-16 FG | 6-10 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -5
Garnett had a rough start to this game. He only scored three points by half time and looked completely off his game. Since he possesses some type of internal fire, the heat of which I will never feel, he dusted himself off, hit himself in the head a few times and finished the game with 16 points and 7 rebounds. More surprisingly, he played 39 minutes, including the whole fourth quarter and overtime. 39 is a lot of minutes for KG, but he looked pretty fresh an played really well with Jared Sullinger; both of those are encouraging signs as we forward.
Brandon Bass, PF 27 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | 0
Bass was the perfect cog on the offensive end, but completely mindless on defense. He missed rotations, lost track of baseline cutters, and watched as opponents snuck in front him for offensive rebounds. It got so bad for Bass that he couldn’t even play until Jared Sullinger fouled out in overtime. His jumper was back, though? That’s good, right?….

I’ll see myself out.

Paul Pierce, SF 34 MIN | 5-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | 0
5-17. That is just unacceptable. Or it would be if Pierce was chucking but he wasn’t. He was legitimately missing wide open threes and layups. The hero-ball stuff at the end was atrocious- especially the left baseline drive, turn-inside and then turn back to the baseline jumper- but that problem is more symptomatic of the Celtics’ offensive execution problem than Pierce’s decision-making. I mean, what’s a aging scorer to do when there are so few people on the roster that can create their own offense.
Rajon Rondo, PG 42 MIN | 12-21 FG | 6-9 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 30 PTS | -3
Celtics’ fans got a glimpse of what life is going to be like when Rondo is the only superstar on the C’s roster. HE will ne the offense. HE will be amazing. The results, on the other hand, will probably be much like this game.
Leandro Barbosa, SG 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +2
Barbosa had a rough go in the starting lineup. He plays much better as a dude who uses his quickness to take advantage of tired or less talented or experienced bench players. He must more ineffective as a moving piece in an offense. He needs the ball in his hands. He needs to take shots and drive to the basket hard. He needs to play more of the Jamal Crawford role, even of the outcome isn’t as good.He played hard, but got continually abused by Rip Hamilton in the post. When you can’t stop a guy who is listed at a generous 193 pounds from beasting on you, you can’t be on the court.
Jeff Green, PF 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +5
Green had the chance to step up and really show what he can do. I, and those who think like me, believe he did just that. Despite not having defensive stopper Luol Deng on the court, Green still couldn’t take advantage of Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson. In a game where the C’s needed some boost, Green provided no offense, no defense, and more importantly, no fire.
Jared Sullinger, PF 38 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 15 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -1
This kid literally just keeps getting better and better. He’s the only player on the C’s roster who can rebound. He and KG played the whole fourth quarter (save for a few seconds during the last possession) and overtime until Sully fouled out. He and KG were a fantastic defensive duo which is shocking given Sully’s athletic limitations. To reiterate Doc Rivers’ previous comment, “he’s not going anywhere.”
Courtney Lee, SG 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +2
Lee played hard and produced. Two things that are needed for success.
Jason Terry, SG 27 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -3
Outside of an emotional three point shot in OT, Terry’s game was largely unremarkable.
Doc Rivers
I can’t figure out what Doc Rivers was thinking in multiple situations throughout the game. I can’t believe that a coach as good as Rivers couldn’t find an answer for Rip Hamilton in the post. I understand that you can’t put Jeff Green on him because he’ll run him off screens and torch him. I understand that you can’t put Jason Terry or Leandro Barbosa on him because he’ll completely beast him in the post. The only options seemed to have been using Courtney Lee or Rajon Rondo, and adjustment Rivers only made after Rip ripped the C’s for a ton of points. Had Rivers taken that away from Hamilton earlier, this game would not have gone to overtime.I also can’t wrap my head around why Barbosa was starting. I talked with Jimmy Toscano (@Jimmy_Toscano) of Metro Boston and CelticsBlog fame during the game and he surmised that Rivers didn’t want to mess with the bench’s mojo. I can’t help but think that the weird trade-request/denial from last week played into his insertion into the starting lineup. It’s a bit conspiracy-theory-esque but it’s hard to find any other explanation.
  • Ge0gre

    When do you think Sullinger will get the starting role over Bass?

  • KillerGymRat

    As much as I'm opposed to mid-season trades, I think the C's need to make a move or two. There is the obvious need for an effective big, and though I love the depth at the guard position, the pieces don't really fit together and aside from Rondo, there isn't a true point guard among them. Terry and Barbosa both need the ball to be effective and are really redundant we don't need both (save for an injury situation). I think one or possibly both of them need to be moved, which it pains me to say since I'm actually a HUGE fan of the Jet and was so stoked to have him here. I'd personally like to keep the Jet and move Barbosa for a defensive stopper or a big.

    The problem with the Jet's game is Doc isn't taking advantage of what he does best and he's not getting enough shots in this offense. I think he can still be effective, but he has to have the ball, and Doc doesn't seem to want to play that way. This makes no sense to me since Terry is the best ball handler and distributor after Rondo. Why is he always playing the off guard position and running the old Ray Allen spot up plays? It's a complete misuse of him. Does anyone really think we can win with KG taking 17 long jumpers and Pierce taking wild bassline drives and shooting 3's. Why is this all our offense seems to focus on?

    You posted his game was unremarkable, but Terry shot well (60% fg 100% ft). He just only got 5 shots. This last game I actually started watching just Terry to see why he isn't being effective. The guy never touches the damn ball is why. The offense sets are all him standing outside the 3 point line waiting for a potential open shot. But who is making that pass in that second unit? In that group those guys don't see the court well enough to make an effective cross court pass to open shooters. Unless they are WIDE open. And both Bass and Green are shoot-first players who don't really know how to pass.

    There was a series of at least 6 straight possessions where Terry never actually touched the ball. Which means all he's out there doing is playing D, which is not his strength (though in this last game he was solid). When you're playing off guard (which he shouldn't be) you need somebody to set you up or at the very least give you the ball. Terry is similar to Pierce in that he is a rhythm player who needs to touch the ball alot to find his shot. He's not as effective as a spot-up shooter (as we're all seeing). And 5 attempts? Really? Who in that second unit is taking all the shots? Bass? Green? It's ridiculous to have a weapon like Terry and not let him do what he does best.

    People are talking about we should have gotten J-Crossover. But the diferrence between Crawford and the Jet is Crawford is not a team player. He will shoot you in or out of a game and will make sure he always has the ball. So yes, he would score alot. But he would also force it (much like Barbosa). Jet is being called ineffective but it's because he is the definition of a team player. He knows he's the best shooter and offensive option in that second unit. Unlike the expectations Green keeps falling short of…Jet actually can explode for 15 points in a quarter and destoy a D (as he did to Miami in that championship game). It isn't that he's lost his game. He is deferring to our system which asks him to stand without the ball on the perimeter and seems to favor mid-range jump shots from Bass, Green and even Sully over a playmaking shooter running high pick and roles to shred the D for slashes to the hoop, step back J's or kick out 3's.

    I'm really tired of Terry getting the blame and not Doc.

    Watching the Bulls game I realized that Thibodeu out coached him and is actually a better all-around coach. That Bulls team with its Bad News Bears roster got so many easy baskets because the ball movement is so damn good and they exploit the mismatches. Can anyone say our system does that?

    I still love Doc, but he's really got to start focusing on some new plays instead of falling back on his pat answer that our offense suffers because our Defense isn't strong. Our offense suffers because we expect unproven scorers to score while keeping real scorers like Barbosa on the bench and Terry without the ball.

    Rant over.

    • Phil725

      Agree with a lot here. Terry's been misused big time all year. That said, I do think he fits in a lot better now with the second unit. The Terry/Lee/Green/Sully/KG lineup has been great all year, and was something like 10 against the Bulls too, and Terry's a key to that. It's just amazing watching that line get open fifteen footer, open corner 3, driving layup… then watching the starters come back in and bog down. Terry's presence helps space the floor for those good looks, and he's good at moving the ball to get those open looks. His own shots have been down, but I expect him to get more as the season goes along and people realize they can't leave the other guys in that lineup open. It's been too effective on offense for teams to not adjust.

      The problem with trades is that no one on the Celtics who you'd want to move has any value. If you want someone who will play in the playoffs, you have to move Sully or Bradley. Lee and a 1st 'might' get you an upgrade on Bass, but fifteen teams want a slight upgrade at PF.

      Thibs is definitely outcoaching Doc right now, but I also think Thibs has some Skiles in him. Deng and Noah both play 40 minutes every other night, and the whole team goes hard all the time. If Thibs was coaching here, KG and Pierce would have no legs by February. It's going well for the Bulls now, but I continue to expect them to be done by the end of the year, they're just going too all out over 82.

      • KillerGymRat

        Good points. Any trade would be a minor one. Basically swapping one misplaced player for another. Somebody like Utah or another team with a glut of bigs and no minutes for them where we get a comparable role player…who yes…will likely not do much more then ride the pine.

        I love Terry in the second unit. My problem is the current offense has him as a third or even fifth option (if KG is on the floor) and I think he should be the primary option and ball handler. He's the only player other then Pierce or Rondo who can regularly create his own shot and also create for other players. Let Green be a slasher. Let Bass run pick and roll. Let Sully get easy finshes around the hoop. And let KG get his long 2 or fade away. It would also likely get Terry to the line and improve the lack of free throw attempts.

        And you might be right about Thibs running them into the ground. We'll see. Doc's slow burn approach is dead on for PP and KG. But the minutes aren't the problem right now. It's a lack of consistency to the offense, and an inability to get easy looks and get guys to the free throw line. We look great when Rondo is slicing teams apart or we're turning teams over and getting easy baskets. But that doesn't happen as much in the playoffs, and Rondo hasn't shown yet that he's willing to play that aggressive every night. I really wish he would. He's not the one who needs to be saving himself. This is his prime. He needs to be like Westbrook and go full out every night.

    • Breyzh

      There's always something that strikes me as weird when I read Celtics fans/bloggers comments: you guys always overrate and/or misjudge your own players to the point it seems you don't actually watch any basketball outside of Celtics games.
      Jason Terry has played mostly off the ball for his entire career, save for his 1st seasons in Atlanta, and was much more efficient playing as an undersized 2 who can handle the ball once in a while than as a scoring 1, which is why it surprised a lot of people when he played the PnR so effectively with Dirk in the Finals (somthing they were barely ever trying during the season).
      Jet can be great as a secondary ball-handler, but pegging him as the main backup to Rondo was a bad move, as he is more effective off the ball. He was a 2 guard for all these years in Dallas and was a 6th man of the year doing so.
      He's not a spot-up shooter, so him hanging next to the 3-point line waiting for a kick-out won't be effective, but he should do great in "old Ray sets", as long as he's actually the 1st option on those sets and as long as those sets allow him to choose between shooting immediately or taking a couple of dribbles.

      Other examples of Cs fans overrating/musjudging Cs players: thinking Lee and a 1st round pick is too steep a price for Cousins (when it would actually be a bargain comparable to the Gasol trade), grading all players but one (who narrowly missed an infamous Joeal Anthony-like 0 stats total game in 19 minutes) as B- or over in a loss, still considering Garnett and Pierce as "superstars" when none of them gets to the All-Star Game without the name recognition, thinking Rondo will suddenly become a 30ppg player when KG and Pierce retire (because he could do it now, he's just too shy), thinking Bradon Bass would actually be good, …

      And no, you probably aren't going to get much better via trades soon if you refuse to trade away any of your top assets… That's just the way it goes…

  • Phil725

    A few issues; On Rondo, why exactly should we expect this Rondo every day once he's the only superstar on the team? This is the Rondo we thought we were getting every game coming into this year because the other superstars can't be the key pieces to a top half offense anymore. The team went over the top about how Rondo was the leader and how this was his team, and how they needed National TV Rondo… and he's proceeded to spend all year with games with less than 10 FGA and dishing potential layups for contested Bass 16 footers. Maybe this is just who Rondo is. This game to game ceiling will still be there, but there will also be games in 3 years where he's kicking layups out to Jeff Green and Brandon Bass instead of PP and KG.

    Also on Rondo, I haven't heard anything about it, but is there any chance he misses time with a concussion? That was my original thought after it happened. It sure looked like one.

    Are Bass' and Barbosa's grades right? They don't match with the blurbs at all. Bass' talks about how he was destroyed on defense and the boards all night, then gives him a B- for 4-6 shooting. He cost the team way more than the 10 points he scored on defense, and even 0 defense and 100 offense should balance to a C. And Barbosa got a B+ when the whole blurb talked about how poorly he fit and how his presence made no sense. If this was a B+ game for Barbosa, we may as well go back to a three guard rotation if Bradley's out again.

    Regarding Jeff Green, is there an easier player to defend? Take one step back and to your left… ta dah! He's useless. At least guys like Steve Novak can move from one spot behind the 3 point line to another. Reggie Evans you still have to fight for rebounds.

  • check12check

    cannot agree more about the Terry thing. I really don't understand how Doc is having such a hard time figuring out that he should be the back-up PG. Terry is not a 2 guard. and If we are going to have Terry on the floor with defense being his primary role….well we might as well just use a sack of flour as our fifth player.

    I think Green is being misused as well. In Doc's defense (kind of. I don't think he is putting together rotations well) It's hard to know what to ask Green to do since you never know which green is coming onto the court that day.

    I don't know what to think of rondo. I know it's kind of a broken record on this site, but two thing are killing me. 1. passing out to a player who is 18 feet away from the basket instead of a taking an easy layup (granted one of the other complaints i have had against him over the years is how many easy layups he misses so it's kind of a lose lose) and 2. the defensive plays where he runs alongside someone for a couple of feet and then just stops and watches them go by. this despite rondo being lightning fast.

    Also, if anyone thinks the team can remain 100 percent intact and we can succeed please reference the last three games(writing this after the pistons game) i think these last three games have shown us quite well that the celtics simply cannot compete with size.

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