|Kevin Garnett, PF 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +3
12 points and 5 boards pale in comparison to the numbers some of his contemporaries are putting up (Tim Duncan, Zach Randolph) but Garnett was the only Celtic starter on the salvation side of the +/- scale. He had the unenviable job of getting smacked around by Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all afternoon and only earned one technical foul. If the C’s ended up on the losing end of this one, I’d cite Garnett’s one tech as a small victory.
|Brandon Bass, PF 30 MIN | 3-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -10
In a game where everything was going right for the C’s for large stretches of time, Bass came away with 4 assists and 8 boards. Bass dropping 4 dimes is as close to a miracle as we’re likely to see in our lifetimes. According to Basketball-Reference, he’s only done had four assists in a game once before in his career. Bass is playing inspired basketball as of late. One can’t help but think that his play has something to do with knowing his job and his minutes are safe.
|Paul Pierce, SF 36 MIN | 7-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 22 PTS | -1
Paul Pierce gives the game what it needs. Tonight, it needed a step back three at the end of the shot clock leaving only 2.5 seconds left on the game clock. Pierce was all too happy to oblige.
Pierce’s shot was all too reminiscent of his buzzer beater on Al Harrington in 2003. Same side of the floor, shooting at the same basket. He’s had a ton of memories here. Let’s hope he continues to hit buzzer beaters in this building.
|Avery Bradley, PG 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -11
Bradley is a game-changer whenever he’s on the floor. Opposing point guards don’t like having to bring the ball up against him and opposing shooting guards know they’re going to have a much harder time getting a shot off. Jamal Crawford learned that first hand when Bradley drew a charge/flopped with 26 seconds left. Pierce’s step back three was nice, but I’d argue Bradley iced the game prior by drawing the foul on Crawford.
Despite his late game heroics, Bradley is still a bit inconsistent on offense and completely BLEW a two-handed flush. That kind of stuff happens. Everyone loves dunks but I can’t help but think he wouldn’t have missed it had he laid it in. Or maybe if he just dunked it and didn’t try and flush it. Either way, Bradley can be better so I’m grading him a bit harshly for motivational purposes.
|Courtney Lee, SG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | -7
Courtney provided “a little of this and a little of that” for this win. He ran point, he defended both Eric Bledsoe and Jamal Crawford, and he made some timely drives to the basket they either ended up in a made floater or a trip to the free throw line. He was also present for the Celtics near collapse in the second half. Lee contributed a few arguments with the officials after getting his elbow smacked on an opponent’s reach-around-pick-pocket attempt. This is an instance where the C’s need to be mentally tougher and play through bad calls.
Where Lee’s grade really fell off was late in the fourth quarter when he turned the ball over twice resulting in two Bledsoe steals. Rivers swapped Lee for Terry after the second TO and it paid off as Terry nailed a long two to stretch the lead to five with just over a minute left.
|Jeff Green, PF 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +4
Green continues to get better. It has taken him a while to find his place on this team and I think he has. He can lead the break, go coast-to-coast, spot up in the corner for three, and he’s a strong right-handed driver. Teams have yet to really figure out how to stop him when he sets his mind to doing one of those aforementioned things. He still has a tendency to make a wing pass when he doesn’t have a lane to drive and I’d like to start seeing him feed the post. The swing passes are becoming a bit too predictable. Sure, it’s a motion offense so swing passes happen but balls are starting to get tipped and Green’s been the offending passer on his fair share.
On the defensive side, Green was rangy. He made the Clippers think twice about throwing the ball inside when they saw Green lurking from defending the corner man. He also came up with two blocks (one on an awesome closeout) which indicate that he’s trying to be more aggressive. He’s even trying to be more aggressive on the boards, something that obviously does not come natural to him, even if it does not translate to the boxscore. He had one impressive board against the Clippers that saw him snag it at the very peak of his jump. Given Green’s size and athleticism, I’d say the ball was roughly one million feet in the air (give or take a inch) when Green got it. I want to see more of that.
|Chris Wilcox, PF 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +4
Wilcox got a steal, an alley-oop dunk, and a driving layup all in the first three minutes of the second quarter. Then he inexplicably didn’t get back into the game. Wilcox has been brought along slowly after injuring his thumb earlier in the season, but Doc Rivers has also seen a lack of consistency with Wilcox that gives him pause before putting him in the game. Here’s what Rivers said pregame:
“He’s spotty and we want him to be more consistent. We talk about guys doing their job he has really one great job he has to do. He has to be our defensive energy guy and then on offense he has to run the floor. He has to do that consistently and I don’t think he does it yet consistently yet but I think he’s gotten better in practices each time and definitely in the games.”
A steal, a rebound, and an alley-oop dunk in four minutes would indicate that Wilcox consistently did his job for the four minutes he was on the court. I think it’s time to lengthen the leash.
|Jason Collins, C 12 MIN | 1-1 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +3
This may have been Jason Collin’s best game in a Celtics uniform. He had 7 points through three quarters which prompted @BlackAthleteSN to make a bet with CelticsBlog’s Evans Clinchy that Collins would score in double figures. Collins’ performance was that awe-inspiring. Bet or no bet, Collins banged against Blake Griffin and knocked down all of his five free throws, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
|Jason Terry, SG 31 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +17
Terry had an amazing offensive game, highlighted by that clock-winding-down, cold-blooded pull-up from 17 feet. That bucket stretched the C’s lead to 5 with just over a minute left.
Terry was docked a bit for his defense. There were a couple of times during the Clippers comeback that Terry could be found walking over to a Celtics timeout, patting his chest in an indication of “my bad.” Luckily, his defensive miscues weren’t game changers but nothing is more frustrating than playing 20 seconds of great defense only to give up a wide open look.
|Leandro Barbosa, SG 21 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +8
The more minutes Barbosa has gotten, the more awesome he’s been. Barbosa needs to remain a bench player as he completely torches backup guards. Even at 30, he’s still incredibly fast and can finish near the hoop with an array of moves. Tear drop, scoop shot, layup, dunk. We’ve seen it all in his short Celtics career and it’s been a pleasant surprise.
|Doc RiversThe Celtics are playing with house money right now and River’s still continues to win big hands. It’s really hard to game plan when you don’t have your entire roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rivers’ is preparing his team mentally more so than in pure Xs and Os.
The move he made when he subbed in Terry to replace Lee late in the game is the tactical decision that stands out for Rivers. It may seem like a no-brainer after Lee turned the ball over twice, but Terry is such a drop off on defense that the decision could have easily burned him. Instead, Terry hits a big shot and the C’s never look back.