|Kevin Garnett, PF 23 MIN | 6-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +17
If you’re Kevin Garnett, you probably couldn’t have scripted this better yourself. He scores his 25,000th point, completely outplays Dwight Howard, and demolishes the Lakers on his home floor. Emphasis on “Home” floor. Garnett made it very clear after the game that he’s not going anywhere:
“One last note, I just want to say that I love my situation here. I don’t who ya’ll sources or who’s making up those bullsh*t-ass articles about me getting traded to Denver and all these other places but I bleed green and I continue to do that and if it’s up to me then I am going to retire a Celtic. Aight. Keep it real, aight.”
Since it’s technically completely up to him, it’s on him to remain truthful.
|Brandon Bass, PF 25 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +18
This is the second game in a row in which Bass found himself frequently switched on to wing players. So far, he’s been adequate. To be clear, adequate is a huge compliment. He’s not supposed to be able to guard wings. He might share the same body as LeBron James, but his skill set is a power-power forward through and through.When he’s not using his power to, as Hayes has so coined it, “pour hot dunk” on people’s faces, he hits midrange jumpers. Up until recently, I would have had to indicate that Bass had been hitting midrange jumpers last year and regressed mightily this season. However, these past two games have seen Bass get open and hit those jumpers with regularity. And it’s nice to see.
|Paul Pierce, SF 30 MIN | 10-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +20
Man, there was a moment- okay, a ton of moments- where Pierce looked like he was 25 again. Early on, he and Kobe were battling for scoring supremacy. Whenever Kobe would make an near-impossible shot, Pierce would come right back and do his patented fake cross-over, step back into a midrange jumper. He hit that tonight regardless of who was guarding him. Pierce has always played well against the Artest formerly known as Ron, but he was making Earl Clark look foolish as a wing defender. That’s not an easy thing to do given Clark’s length and athleticism.
|Avery Bradley, PG 33 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +5
Remember just a short season and a half ago where Bradley looked far from an NBA player. In fact, he had “oh my god, why did the C’s draft an undersized project guard?” written all over him. Well, that project has been presented and been awarded blue ribbons from science fairs all over the state, easily beating that baking soda volcano from Wilson Middle School.
There is absolutely no fear in Bradley. He took on Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant tonight, and didn’t bat an eye. He completely baited Bryant into turning the ball over off an inbounds and then finished the layup right in his face. Say what you want about Kobe Bryant, but he is an elite defender and a guy who rarely makes mistakes (save for maybe shot selection). Bradley makes elite players make mistakes.
|Courtney Lee, SG 22 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -2
It was great to see Lee be aggressive on offense despite being saddled with guarding Bryant for much of the first half. It can’t be easy having to deal with Bryant on the defensive end and then be counted on to still makes shots and create off the dribble. Lee did a great job of that tonight.
|Jeff Green, PF 29 MIN | 6-13 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +21
The Jeff Green story is undergoing its eighth revision. While it’s still hard to say he’s worth the contract he signed, he’s been showing he’s more than just a dunker/corner three maker. He’s been playing excellent defense, something for which he has never been known. He bodied Bryant, and played physical denial defense that had to frustrate the Lakers’ superstar. Let’s also not forget that chase down block he had at the rim. He went from fast break dunk to chase down block in the same sequence. He has amazing end-to-end speed and athleticism.
|Chris Wilcox, PF 18 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +6
Wilcox is still getting lost on defensive rotations and had hands of granite tonight. Yet despite these negatives, he still finished the game with a near-double-double. It was excellent to see him thrust into action early given the foul trouble to Jason Collins and Kevin Garnett and not see the Celtics have a drop off.
|Fab Melo, C 5 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -6
First two points in a Celtics uni, big fella! Congrats!(A+ for effort!)
|Jason Collins, C 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2
The Dwight Stopper was stopped tonight. Luckily, he really wasn’t needed. Howard had trouble out-physical-ing his defenders with his bothersome shoulder, so the Celtics relied on half-fronting and ball denials rather than banging bodies. Still, Collins showed great effort in limited time.
|Jason Terry, SG 28 MIN | 5-6 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +25
I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but tonight’s game is why the Celtics sought out Jason Terry from jump. He hit timely shots, and huge momentum keeping/shifting threes. He’s still a bit of a liability on defense and got caught sleeping a few times when the Celtics were up big, but it obviously didn’t matter in this one. Hopefully, the Celtics will continue to accrue blowout wins so Terry’s shortcomings remain stuck back in the “standing room only” section.
|Leandro Barbosa, SG 21 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3
WHAT?! Barbosa puts up and O-FER and the Celtics win by 21. Unprecedented. Nay, impossible!
Doc Rivers earns an A tonight, for two reasons:
1) Coaching the C’s through a second quarter that saw Kobe Bryant make tough shot after tougher shot: “We just kept saying, ‘he’s going to make shots. Just don’t overreact. Just keep playing.” This was Doc’s mantra tonight, and it worked.
2) He still scowled when the C’s gave up points on bad defensive rotations despite being up big. Doc’s a coach that never stops coaching, and that is invaluable.