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Celtics-Lakers Grades

 
Los Angeles Lakers 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
116 Boston Celtics
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

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.
  • Josh_5

    My emotions after this win have me feeling like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch screaming "I love this team!!!"

  • Mark

    Rondo who?

    • KillerGymRat

      You had to be that guy, didn't you.

  • Phil725

    Bradley/Nash was a fun matchup to watch all night. I don't know if it led to any actual turnovers (I know Nash threw it away once, but the ball was knocked back to the Lakers,) but Nash is about as elite as it gets as far as crafty ball handling point guards, and AB made him work for everything. Nash had a minimal impact in the game, and it was because he had Bradley in his jersey whenever he touched the ball. I've said it before, but I love watching Bradley get screened, yet still beat an NBA point guard to the spot. That's beautiful D to watch, and very few people can do what he does on every possession.

    I actually thought he struggled a little when asked to guard Kobe. He doesn't really have the length to bother him, and Kobe got him good on one spin move when AB got a little overaggressive. Still, the Lakers had problems on offense all night, and Bradley was a big reason why. He displayed the complimentary offensive game tonight that, when combined with his defense, will make him a very valuable player in this league for a long time.

    Hard to really pick out any other one player that stood out aside form Pierce. The whole team brought it. I did find it a little frustrating how Wilcox missed a bunch of easy points when he finally got his chance at extended minutes. There will be easy buckets for him as long as he plays though, and hopefully his D and rebounding (9 boards!) tonight was enough to convince Doc to give him some more run.

    • Phil725

      According to ESPNBoston (one of Chris Forsberg's wrap up pieces is basically my first paragraph :P) Bradley did post good numbers against Kobe, with a forced turnover and two missed 3s after that spin move. I could've sworn that Kobe hit a few turnarounds over him, but guess not. Hey, I'm always happy to be wrong when the end result is Bradley looking better :)

  • MSTRKRFT

    We are still rebounding the same/slightly better, still getting the same amount of assists, but shooting much more efficiently and playing at a much faster pace than with Rondo. This beautiful basketball to watch the last 6 games. The ball movement, everyone contributing (having 6+ guys in double figures every game), everyone getting touches to get going. This how how basketball should be played, no player should ever be ball dominant. I am going to welcome the baby Spurs of the East. We a 9-10 man rotation going and KG/Pierce is getting more rest.

  • Rav

    "the Artest formerly known as Ron" – brilliant stuff! The school science project metaphor was hilarious too.

    Not to bag on those who are saying "despite the recent run of results, the Celtics are better with Rondo", but what sort of run would one need to see before concluding that the Celtics are a better REGULAR-SEASON team without Rondo (playoffs are a different animal, and playoffs Rondo is a different animal to reg-season Rondo, hence the disclaimer)?

    • KillerGymRat

      You must've not tuned in the day there was an entire post dedicated to this topic. Basically showing that running a spread offense vs. the precision offense is really what we're seeing. You need a classic PG to run a precision offense.

      You can still blame it on Rondo if you want.

      But when even Kobe Bean is backing RR you have to pause and wonder why Celtics fans can't admit Rondo has something to offer. You can actually argue that the fact this team had to drastically change the entire offense and scrap Doc's trusted playbook all because of one player is proof of just how valuable Rondo is.

      But please, continue to bash.

      And when we face a team that actually can play D and applies ball pressure taking away the effectiveness of the spread I'll get to come back and say – betcha wish you had Rondo now. It will likely be as soon as Denver.

      • KillerGymRat

        But to bring it around to the real heart of your point…I think everyone is in agreement the spread offense is just what this team needed and the best fit for this roster.

        Sure is a helluva lot more fun to watch then the precision.

        • Rav

          Yep exactly, I wasn't bashing Rondo (think he's great, actually), just thinking that for the players we have on this roster, a spread offense works better than a precision offense. I think you're right in saying that Rondo's true value would be against those teams with strong defenses, which would be (nearly) every team by the time the playoffs roll around.

          Is the blame for the team's offensive struggles all on Doc, then? How much of it was Doc not being willing to change it up, and how much was it the fact that going to a more equitable offense would not be preferred by Rondo (who would have liked to been the one making all the decisions on offense)? I have no evidence on either side.

          • Phil725

            I don't see a need to put all the blame on one guy. Even the players have been quick to point out that this style is better and preferred by them, so Doc's insistence on sticking with an offense that had them stuck in the bottom 5, despite a bench unit running a more successful system with less talented players has to be questioned. But at the same time, I don't care if a third grader is drawing up the offense, Rondo should never get thoroughly outplayed by Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holliday, Brandon Knight and Isaiah Thomas in any 40 game sample. And that's just off the top of my head.

            The offense wasn't fitting well, but Rondo no-showed a lot of games. Watch how the Cs get buckets now, and the effort is evident everywhere. They work hard for everything they get. It's hard to ask 14 other players to bring that kind of effort when your leader is visibly lacking it, and that was a serious problem that leads to getting blown out by the Pistons and Pelicans.

            I am hopeful that Rondo uses what happened this year as fuel to come into next season fully engaged, because while we haven't really seen them miss that level yet, there is no Playoff Rondo mode this time around.

          • KillerGymRat

            Great questions, Rav. That's really stuff for debate since there is no clear answer. Personally I put most of it on Doc, since at the end of the day he is the coach. But in all fairness to him, you can never really scrap an offense until you see it being run right. With all the new players and all the line-up changes and the late addition of Bradley it's hard to blame him for trying to see if it was a matter of execution…or effectiveness. We did have a 6-game win steak with it.

            He actually was exploring it with the second unit pre-Rondo's injury, so I'm surprised when it became clear they were the better scoring unit he didn't try it with the starters. Terry, Barbosa, Lee and Green all thrive in a spread offense but were wasted in the precision (it's name pretty much defines the problems with it – if you don't execute it precisely you get bad shots and forces against the clock). But it's also hindsight. I don't think anyone could have guessed the improvement would be this drastic. And Doc has to know that a spread won't be succesful as the only offense come playoff time. The Heat, Chicago and Indiana all have the quickness to trap and exploit weak passers and ball handlers of which we have plenty.

            It's also too early to tell if teams haven't had enough time to adjust. Everybody knew the precision since we've been using it for years. But when you run it right, you still can't stop it. A spread is more about scouting player strengths and tendencies. Come playoff time every team will know all the players strengths and how to neutralize them…so we'll see if it still works then. Right now it's like NYC during Lynsanity…all the teams were caught off guard since nobody had seen NYC play like that or much of Lynn's game. After about 7 or 8 games scouting caught up and Lynn stopped being effective and the team never played that well again. I sure hope that isn't the case for us.

            KG had a really great persepective on the teams improved play that is also a factor:

            "The only way I can really explain it, you know, is that Rondo does so many different great things for this team, you kind of get lackadaisical, if you will. Very similar to if you have someone cooking for you and expecting it everyday, and one day someone's not there to do that and now it's up to you to feed yourself. All of a sudden, you start making these gourmet dishes, and there's more people over to the house, more people eating. You never know you possessed that unless you lost that person who was cooking. So it's kinda like that."

          • hydrofluoric

            Lin… not Lynn…

            Also I think you may be misrepresenting exactly what happened there – coach-killing, egomaniacal Carmelo Anthony returned from injury and f'd up the team's chemistry.

            … And I realize that sounds like a subtle shot/prediction about Rondo, but I don't think that will be the case. Rondo's a team player.

          • KillerGymRat

            You mean the same Carmelo Anthony who is having an MVP caliber season, while leading the oldest team in the league to the second best record in the East? That Anthony?

            We'll have to disagree on what happened but there, but there are no facts to support your statement, and mine is pure opinion.

            And to clarify, I'm not in any way insinuating that Rond's return will hurt the teams chemistry. I actually wasn't factoring in Rondo at all. I'm talking about this season from this point and through the playoffs. It's hard to gauge the success of any major change to an offense when you've only seen it for 6 games. Brooklyn was on fire after the coaching change there, but settled right back into being inconsistent. Coaching changes and player loss can inspire teams to play great for a stretch.

            This team is playing really good right now. But it's inspired by the loss of two key players and they are catching a lot of teams off guard with the new system.

            Will teams adjust to the new style of play and find ways to take us out of doing what we want to do? I hope not, but (save for Miami) none of the teams we've faced yet have strong D's or apply any kind of ball pressure so my point is we haven't seen enough to know how this system holds up under pressure. I hope it really works.

            PS Lin (good catch on the sp) is averaging 12 ppg 6 apg and 3 TOs. There's a reason NYC let him go and decided to stick with the egomaniac. It's called winning.

          • KillerGymRat

            You mean the same Carmelo Anthony who is having an MVP caliber season, while leading the oldest team in the league to the second best record in the East? That Anthony?

            We'll have to disagree on what happened but there, but there are no facts to support your statement, and mine is pure opinion.

            And to clarify, I'm not in any way insinuating that Rond's return will hurt the teams chemistry. I actually wasn't factoring in Rondo at all. I'm talking about this season from this point and through the playoffs. It's hard to gauge the success of any major change to an offense when you've only seen it for 6 games. Brooklyn was on fire after the coaching change there, but settled right back into being inconsistent as most teams do.

            This team is playing really good right now. But it's inspired by the loss of two key players and they are catching a lot of teams off guard with the new system.

            Will teams adjust to the new style of play and find ways to take us out of doing what we want to do? I hope not, but (save for Miami) none of the teams we've faced yet have strong D's or apply any kind of ball pressure so my point is we haven't seen enough to know how this system holds up under pressure. I hope it really works.

            PS Lin (good catch on the sp) is averaging 12 ppg 6 apg and 3 TOs. There's a reason NYC let him go and decided to stick with the egomaniac. It's called winning.

  • Anthony

    Come on Brendan, Barbosa deserve better than a C+ just with his efforts alone. You're such a pessimist like DeGamma. I kid,I kid. Personally I think the CH staff is great. Love the description on AB. Hopefully the Fab project will receive similar blue ribbons.

    Back to the game, I like the developing dynamic between JET and Wilcox. I just get the sense that a lob for alley-oop is coming every time. A lesser version if you will of what we used to see between Rondo and KG.

    Nuggets will be a tougher test but with 3 days rest, I'm feeling rather optimistic. Let's make it 7 straight!

    Go Celts!

  • KillerGymRat

    Grades and 5 things in the same night. Must be due to an entire 4th quarter of Gino time. Great work Hub.

  • Banner18

    Any credibility behind the early recovery Rondo rumors?

    • Phil725

      No return time has been specified in any rumor I've seen… then again, no return date was specified beforehand either. All I got from the rumors was that we should expect him for the start of next year. Good news, but I think most of us would've been surprised if he wasn't back by then either way. What's the point of having alien DNA if you're ACLs don't heal at the fast end of human limits?

  • elroz

    "the Artest formerly know as Ron" …hahah!

  • mugi
  • Danny

    I like what you did there with the artest formally known as Ron. Great stuff and a great win nothing more satisfying than kicking the shit outta the lakers. Overall everyone played well defense ball movement I love the way Jeff green is playing recently hopefully he can keep it up as I said to Phil might as well enjoy the ride. In the words of Ice Cube it was a good day. The celtics beat the lakers.

  • Josh_5

    "The Artest formerly known as Ron" was great stuff! Also, I was getting very frustrated with Wilcox as he botched a few easy alley oops. To comment on the spread vs precision offense, I put 80% of the bad start (and turnaround) on Doc. Last year Doc FINALLY made an adjustment by putting KG to the 5 and look what happened. This year, he FINALLY made an adjustment and scrapped his playbook and look what happened. This team is not "better" without Rondo, its been Doc finally putting his personnel in a position to succeed.

  • Marko

    If you want to have a good chuckle go read the comments on the lakers site forum blue and gold. They are
    really trashing Howard and D'Antoni.

    • KillerGymRat

      Wow. They are talking more possitively about the C's over there then most of the people on here.

      And I love that the blog calls their thug "Ron".

  • complexity

    First off, Ray Allen in this new offense would have been fun to watch. (Sorry lifetime Ray fan). Rondo is as elite as they come for point guards, but one keeps making the argument that the Celtics won't go as far in the playoffs without Rondo, but what if they do? What does that say.

  • Banner18

    I said it as soon as RR went down two Sundays ago: If this team can go on an 8 or more game W streak, then their a definite contender. I'm sure most of you pessimists out there will say that we've been playing sub par teams, so I think Sunday v. Nuggets is going to be the biggest test of the post rondo season.

  • OlSkool1972

    Even though he got called for an Offensive Foul I love the way Pierce elbowed Metta World War in the side of the face. Lakers basically got their heart ripped out last night.

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