Recap generator’s on the fritz, so we’re going manual! As an FYI, we’ve been getting a lot of questions in the comments about grades and recaps. Giving individual player grades are terrific, but sometimes limits us telling the full story/keep points in a game, (which can be done with five things we saw). Based on this and the desire to get you guys strong instant analysis, we’ll likely be doing a bit of both going forward, depending on the game. Sometimes, we’ll do grades. Other times we’ll just do five things we saw. Sometimes (like now) we’ll do both, (with grades coming the next day). It all depends on the game. Now, to the grades.
Kevin Garnett: Double-double in 22 efficient minutes? 4 offensive rebounds to pick up some of the second chance slack with Sully sidelined? Making tough mid-range jumpers with ease? Sounds like an A to me. A
Brandon Bass: He’s getting better people. It’s a slow process for him to dig out of a virtually two month slump, but baby steps are good. If he can fill up the box score with rebounds on nights when the shot isn’t falling, this team will take it. Doc made it a point of praising him postgame last night when every was gushing over Pierce’s rebounding last night for good reason. His production is important to this team’s postseason chances more than ever. C+
Paul Pierce: A couple ugly turnovers keeps the captain from earning that A+, but this is just about as good as it gets from Pierce. The tremendous work on the glass speaks for itself, but I’m really enjoying the PP without Rondo era, since the captain is wisely defering to his talented offensive running mates when needed. He’s picking his spots and isn’t forcing outside shots (which have still been off the mark lately). His outlet passes have been a treat as well, sparking the team’s transition breakouts. Every night like this pushes the asking price for Pierce up over the next month. That’s a good thing since it should make it tougher for Danny to deal him. A
Avery Bradley: The defense is as stellar as always, but Bradley’s offense with the starting five is leaving quite a bit to be desired at this point. A few too many mid-range jumpers for my liking. I know he’s probably still shaking off the rust, but the team’s offense has been stalling with him out there (note the -10 on the night). Once the shooting comes back, it should no longer be a problem, but until it does, I’d like to see him go to the hoop more, try to get more back cuts. B-
Courtney Lee: Struggled with the starters, but shined pretty brightly when paired up with the second unit and a pair of creators in Terry/Barbosa. The rebounding is up, some solid distribution numbers and if he can knock down a couple three’s per game consistently, the C’s start getting what they thought they signed up for this offseason. B+
Jeff Green: Three strong games for Green now without Mr. Rondo. He’s getting the ball in better spots in the offense now, in mismatches or with his defenders on the move and it’s resulting in some easy buckets with the high-flyer. The question now is whether he can sustain it. A tough test awaits against the Clippers athletic front line on Sunday. A-
Chris Wilcox: Five very productive minutes. Doc still doesn’t trust him much still, but it’s encouraging to see the Wilcox of last season still exists on the very night night the team found out Sullinger is done. Now he just has to start getting some of Collins’ minutes. B
Jason Terry: The Jet has been unleashed with the ball in his hands far more often during the past three games. He was probably due to break out of his shooting slump as well, but I don’t think it’s fair to call his resurgence a complete shocker with Rondo sidelined. The new spread scheme is very conducive to his games and his solid distribution has been just as good as his shooting in past couple games. A-
Leandro Barbosa: See JT. Still not hitting the 3-ball, but he’s getting out in transition and making the second team offense very tough to guard alongside Terry, Lee and Green. Thank god Danny didn’t cut bait when there were playing complaints. A-
Fab Melo: Welcome to the NBA FAB! You get an A+, just because it’s your debut. After witnessing your lack of speed/IQ on defense on display for two long minutes, hopefully that will put an end to anyone who thinks Fab can contribute anything to this team in the short term.
Jason Collins: Offensive rebounds are nice. Offensive fouls are not. C+