|Kevin Garnett, PF 31 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +5
Garnett may have had his quietest near double-double of the season. This is due in large part to most of his good work coming in the first half. A first half that where the Celtics had almost everything going right for them. Garnett was strong on the defensive glass and added timely scoring through the first 24 minutes, only to score four points and snag two boards over the final two frames. Chalk it up to fatigue, to altitude, to coming off the All-Star break. Whatever the reason, what started as a strong performance from KG petered out in the second half.
|Brandon Bass, PF 29 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -7
Bass had a very similar game to Garnett. When the Celtics were clicking in the first half, Bass was actively snagging boards and loose balls. Like Garnett, Bass had seven rebounds in the first half and only two the rest of the way. I’ll take nine rebounds from Bass in any amount of time, but I would sacrifice a few to not have him dribble the ball up the floor and turn it over. I was expecting Doc Rivers to be angry at Bass for dribbling up the sideline, stopping right after half-court, and succumbing to a Nugget double-team. But he wasn’t. Despite this being one of the first things a player is told not to do when stepping on the court as a pewee, Rivers just gave him an encouraging pat on the backside during the next timeout. This leads me to believe that the Celtics severe lack of depth is forcing Rivers to have his players to try and expand their games for better or for worse.
|Paul Pierce, SF 35 MIN | 2-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +4
I have to give Pierce a D+ for shooting so badly (2-14) and for taking bad shots (contested threes and isolation stepbacks), but just know that it pains me to do so. Pierce does so much for this Celtics team, the feeling of guilt and shame after selecting that D+ is nearly instant. Despite all that, he still has to make more than two field goals. He still has to shoot better than 2-14. And most importantly, he has to make better decisions when it comes to shot selection. Luckily, he’s Paul Freaking Pierce. So he will.
|Avery Bradley, PG 33 MIN | 7-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +7
A lot of jokes were being made about the idea that Bradley used Pina’s post yesterday as motivation. While I highly doubt that is true, there’s no doubt Bradley had some extra pep in his step to start the game. He was aggressive early and often and finished the game with 17 big points. On a night when Pierce was struggling, seeing Bradley score in the high teens was a very welcome sight. I can’t wait to see that kind of output when Pierce’s shots are falling.
|Courtney Lee, SG 30 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -8
This could have been Lee’s best all around game as a Celtic. It’s just unfortunate that it accompanied a loss. He was a mini-stat-sheet-stuffer, showcasing his versatility by scoring, dishing, boarding, and stealing. All that on a very efficient 6-9. More please!
|Jeff Green, PF 33 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -13
The points are nice. The shooting percentage is great. However, I can’t ignore the fact that Green was the best player on the floor for the C’s when the Nuggets went on that second half run. I wanted Green to show some leadership and some poise. Also of note: the rebounding clause money is still in the jar.
|Chris Wilcox, PF 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2
Can’t complain or exclaim. The Nuggets forced Wilcox to defend the perimeter far more than anyone’s liking. The matchup issues probably accounted for Wilcox’s 10 minutes of PT.
|Jason Collins, C 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -12
Again like Garnett and Bass, Collins had a solid first half and non-existant second (relatively speaking). I still wish he saw less court time than Wilcox but in the end, does it really matter?
|Jason Terry, SG 27 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -9
An offensive explosion from Terry would have been a nice addition to the C’s second half struggles. Credit Denver for over-playing and over-whelming Terry into bad/rushed shots.
On the one hand, the Celtics failed to make adjustments in the second half. On the other hand, Rivers kept his starters minutes relatively low. It shakes out to a B+ in my book.