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Celtics-Suns Grades

The Celtics played so well last night, there was literally no way a recap could have been done without grades for this one, since nearly everyone deserved to be gushed over on a individual basis. Without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff.

Boston Celtics 113 FinalRecap | Box Score 88 Phoenix Suns
Brandon Bass, PF 32 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +16Typical run of the mill game from Bass this year. He gets credit though for doing a nice job defensively against Marcin Gortat and for helping the C’s not get killed on the glass.
Jeff Green, PF 39 MIN | 11-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 31 PTS | +26Whoa boy. Green has been a different animal on the offensive end since Rajon Rondo went down, but this performance only may make everyone shut up about his contract once and for all (me included). An absurd 11-14 from the field, five terrific blocks, and even a solid showing on the defensive glass! What more can you ask for? Are you not entertained? Does Jeff Green need to start over Brandon Bass now? It’s a fair question to ask.
Paul Pierce, SF 26 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +16There’s nothing sweeter than getting to watch The Truth laugh it up with his teammates on the bench for the fourth quarter. It’s a new era in Celtics basketball and I’ve been beating the drum with columns all year that Rivers had been using PP too much in the offense, causing the team to rely on him far too often. The great thing about Paul is that he embraces being a distributor just as much as a scorer and is content to be a supporting cast member on nights like this. To keep him fresh, we need more of it.
Avery Bradley, PG 27 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +6You’ll take 50 percent shooting from AB any day of the week. Throw 4 steals into the mix and you got a guy who made Goran Dragic’s life a major pain for most of the night. With his perimeter D, Bradley helped C’s get away with a night without KG.
Courtney Lee, SG 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +15Nice contributions on the glass and I’m really liking how much more aggressive Courtney’s been lately offensively. He’s making strong moves to the hoop, and finishing most of them off as well, especially early in games to help give this starting unit a spark. The defense was terrific as well, as he and Pierce made sure Dudley/Tucker were non-factors.
Chris Wilcox, PF 22 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +9Wow. Just wow. Maybe the Celtics should try to trade this guy more often to light a fire under him. If there was ever a statement guy, this was it. Nights like this also show why Danny never should have tried to trade him over Collins to begin with, but that’s neither here nor there now. The eight rebounds are just as impressive as the 14 points. Plus, I think a mix tape needs to be made out of his dunks in this game.
Fab Melo, C 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | -1Almost looked smooth out there on the offensive end once or twice. Ran the floor once and got rewarded for it. Progress people!
Jordan Crawford, SG 17 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +12Jordan,Welcome to the Celtics. You did everything Celtics fans could have ever hoped for and looked terrific doing it too. It was fun to watch. Please keep it up.


P.S. I still can’t believe the Wizards gave you to us for nothing.

Jason Terry, SG 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +16It’s amazing how much damage the bench did in 20 minutes or less. Terry just rolled in, wreaking havoc with his new teammates all over the offensive end, setting up terrific ball movement, getting to the free throw line, and burying back-breaking 3’s. What a pleasure!
Terrence Williams, SG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +10Can we sign him for the rest of the season before his 10-day contract expires? Maybe we should just keep him on a 10-day contract if he keeps playing so well. Either way, the former 11th overall pick in the draft is playing up to his billing and he’s playing tremendously smart as well. I know it’s against the Suns but I don’t care. He’s playing with guys that know what they are doing now and he’s better for it.
Doc RiversTalk about pushing the right buttons. Not only did he pick the right night to rest KG, but he got his guys back to playing basic offense, with all the new guys trying to impress him with terrific ball movement.
  • Phil725

    I tried to tell you all about Wilcox!! Just kidding; I still wanna see it against a team that can play defense, but it's obvious how he can help this team. I love that he came through with a big game when given the opportunity, and hopefully it leads to more run later. I feel like his rebounding has been great on a per minute basis of late, and that alone should earn him some more minutes.

    Green's night just looks better and better the more you look at the box score. It was easily the best game of his Celtic career, and I'd be shocked if it wasn't the best all around game of his career. He did everything from get to the line to hit threes to chase down blocks to deflecting steals. The funny (read, depressing,) thing about the Green contract though is that even if he becomes some kind of monster who deserves that money, he'll just opt out in year 4 because of the insane player option Ainge gave him (I need an acronym for that, I'm running out of synonyms for insane.) There's really no way for Ainge to win. I'd rather complain about Green playing so well that opting out is an option than the alternative though.

    Loved the new guys last night. They both looked like they fit in with the offense well, and they made the right play every time they touched the ball. We need a tougher test to know anything for sure, but Williams looks like he belongs, and Crawford was exactly as advertised.

  • IBleedGreen

    Jordan Crawford is exactly what this team needs – someone who shoots the ball regardless if it's going in or not. He's the poor man's Jamal Crawford

  • Bill

    I'm finding this hard to believe, but did we finally catch a break? Seems like since the 2010 season we've been trying to tack pieces on to the core roster and nothing has really worked out as desired (big guys and little guys).

    The roster additions looked good last night. I loved seeing people out running the floor pushing the pace a bit, and I really liked seeing people crashing the glass. Best thing was, we had a lot of guys in double figures with great supporting stats, no one HAD to carry the team, though Green did that. If we can just pick up a decent big to help fill out the rotation this will end up being a tremendous February.

    Green's game is pretty awesome to watch when he's aggressive and feeling comfortable. Great length, quick first step, smooth jumper and he can throw it down. We're seeing more of what Ainge saw in him back before the trade, and I can't help but think that it's a combination of maturity, health, and comfort with the rest of the roster. Hopefully all of those things continue to increase. :)

  • fabzzz

    Can I just say I feel very, very happy about this one?

    Because I do. It's a nice sight to see young guys playing hard and running fast for the C's. Green, Bradley, Crawford, Williams, Wilcox. I'm not saying that core is or should be our future – but something is there, right?

    Its games like this, particularly for Green, who is undoubtedly better off sans Rondo, that make this look like the proper direction for the celtics.

    I guess what I'm getting at is: those speculations about Rondo being traded go down easier and easier with every victory…

    Who knows? Will one day this organization have to choose between Green or Rondo? Forgive, the hyperbole. But the point is the same. It seems to get clearer that we have two directions, and one is Rondo-less.

  • KillerGymRat

    This was such a fun game to watch. And a great showcase for TWill and Crawford to introduce what they are capable of. I think both have the potential to be a really great fit. I liked Barbosa, but I think Crawford is an even better (more versatile and skilled) instant offense guy, so though I hate losing anybody to injury, I would actually say the team is better as a result. TWill is no Rondo, but I do love the confidence I saw and the patience he showed with his decision making. Most of all the team now is built to run and there aren't many teams I can see that can keep up with us. Small ball may be the way this team really makes its mark.

    Green's game was remarkable. The 5 blocks were actually the most impressive stat to me.

    I think this game has to be put in perspective though as Pheonix's D is so bad this game looked like a pick up game at the YMCA. I'd love to believe Green and this team are really this good, but the truth is there was no ball pressure, no interior D, and if you made more then one pass you always found a wide open guy.

    It's really nice to know that Green is capable of having a night like this, but after never seeing anything close to this through the season, I'm waiting till the stretch in early March when we face Indiana, OKC and Miami before I sing his praises.

    I love the grades except for Bass. You have to be kidding me, Brian, are you actually commending him on his D? Maybe you got distracted by all the awesomeness that was Jeff Green, I watched Bass blow every single pick and roll he was in leading to a wide open dunk nearly each time. It was embarrasing. He let Gortat (or just about anyone) roll wide open to the hoop because he refused to commit to trapping the ball or staying with his man. He kept getting stuck in no man's land and I don't see how that's good defense. 6 rebounds and 6 points doesn't even begin to make up for the endless parade of guys he let get uncontested dunks. Also, anytime he was isolated his man beat him off the dribble and got a quality shot. Gortat had an off night, and most of the shots I saw him miss were due to active help defense. Bass mostly stood nearby him (at times) and looked lost (like always).

    Personally after seeing Bass do this ALL SEASON LONG…I'd love to see Green or even Wilcox start in his place. Ideally I'd love to see him out of the rotation completely, but with us so thin at PF at most he should play 8 – 10 minutes where his horrible D and limited offensive game don't hurt us as much.

  • Anthony

    The most incredible stat of the nite has got to be the attendance of 18,422. No way in hell were there more than 5,000 people in attendance. What a waste of a ticket. SMH

    I dislike everything that Bass is bringing right now. His defense is crap to put it mildly and his offense is non-existent. I don't understand for the life of me why he hesitates when he gets an open 16-18 footer. Or why he puts the ball on the floor thinking he can blow by his man. Or why he post up just to shoot a more difficult turn-around jumper. He's just thinking too much. I've been critical of Jet, CLee, and JGreen but at least those guys are rounding into form meanwhile Bass is regressing. He's the only guy not stepping up in Rondo's absence.

  • Sophomore

    Just wonderful to see Green come along like this. Keep growing, Jeff!

  • Phil725

    Watching the replay on CSN right now, the game seems much less blowout-y than I remember. Phoenix is still playing hard in the 3rd, they got the lead down to 5 for a while, and they're getting good shots. The Cs are hitting everything so the lead's staying around 10, but it's not the wet paper bag defense that they bust out in the fourth quarter.

    Everything's still going right for the Cs (like the out of bounds save by the Suns player that went right to AB for an uncontested dunk,) but it makes me feel a little better about the numbers they put up. There are defensive lapses all over the place, but it's not like the team is planning on missing KG too often. The offense looks good.

  • Morpheus

    Let’s not blow our load all over Jeff Green yet. He has been solid over a month, but i’ll hold my judgement on him till after the playoffs. Consistency folks…consistency.

    Steez(his nickname apparently), is Jamal Crawford, funny enough. He was a steal. I would like to see his efficiency improve a little about 44% – 45%, but he is a scorer who can create his own which is a welcome addition to our offense.

    • fabzzz

      "I'm afraid I prematurely shot my wad on what was supposed to be a dry run if you will, so I'm afraid I have something of a mess on my hands." Tobias Funke.

      Or me if Jeff Green plays poorly for the next week.

  • Banner18

    Just took a look at the remaining schedule and I'm defiantly surprised of how reasonable our last 26 games look. I think realistically, 19 of those games can be won. "Worst case scenario" 17 wins which would end the season at 46-35. Not to bad for a team is hoping for a 5 seed.

  • -Jp

    Great game, when do we start to hear how much better this team is without KG after a game like this? No Rondo treatment for him? Just kidding, I just want to see more of this from Green!! Wow!

  • check12check

    I was thrilled with this game. When i saw the team was going to try to play without KG i nearly cried. All i could picture was Gortat looking like the league mvp for a game. i thought we did a fair job of keeping him in check with the team we rolled out for the evening.

    LOVE the early work from the new players. I was not expecting instant gold, but we may have found it.

    really, you could practically salivate over everyone's performance last night (playing phoenix makes this happen),but let's continue the love for two guys who really deserve it. first Wilcox. My brother and I have always been big fans. does what you need him to. no more, maybe slightly less, but I will take that. just keep showing me that you can jump out of the building and I am happy with it.

    now green. I am starting to eat my own previous words (and couldn't be happier to do so.). I'm not ready to reign down MVP chants, but i like what i see from him more and more each outing.

    Also, I'm glad others are coming around the "better without rondo" thing. The team just…..is. When i talk about Celtic's players i am almost entirely positive, but any time i ever discussed Rondo I turned into Buck-nasty from Dave Chappelle's player haters ball skit. hate hate hate hate hate. we all know the upsides, but i couldn't take any more of the following:
    -the game looking like it stopped because the ball is in rondo's hands for 19 seconds (yes, this is more of a flaw in the game plan than rondo's doing, but clearly he wanted the offense to run this way too)
    -games where rondo took 6 layups and missed 4 of them. I know there are so many other important things in basketball, but at the end of the day the game is about putting a ball into a hoop. Rondo needed to be doing that at a higher level to be the type of player he believes he is. a quick moment of praise though on the massively improved jumper.

    • Phil725

      Finishing at the rim is actually the least of Rondo's problems. He's one of, if not the best PG in the league for FG% at the rim, and has been for a while. Even this year, he led the lead in FG% among point guards before the injury. The problem is that he didn't get to the rim nearly enough.

      The root of that problem is more complex, but I'd wager that it's almost entirely due to his free throw shooting. You could argue that he doesn't drive more because he's disengaged, a lot of times for entire games (and that needs to change like four months ago,) but his hesitance to go up strong into contact is evident, as is his fear of free throws. That's a mental issue, but it stems from him physically not being a good FT shooter. If he was at 75%, I think he'd be driving all game long and contorting his body to draw fouls, not contorting it to make a spectacular layup and not get fouled.

      Everyone's been so focused on his jump shot for so long that they've missed the real issue. You become a good offensive player by hitting 3s or getting to the line. Rondo has a skillset that's capable of getting to the line six times a game without improving at anything. He shouldn't be working to add an 18 footer to his arsenal when the entire team already shoots 18 footers, he should be shooting free throws all day. His already good percentage at the rim would increase, as would the rest of his game. Teams can't play the pass as much if he's a threat to score, and everyone will be better off if he never throws another layup out for a contested Brandon Bass 18 footer.

  • old knees54

    I get frustrated with Bass more than anyone but I must say he was moving his feet on defense and actually looked engaged against the Suns. If he just developed some kind of a post-up game , a juke and a hook with either hand……wait how long has he been in the league? He did move his feet though.

  • check12check

    OH! how about some love for Fab Melo. you can slowly start to see him rounding into a player that could contribute. He is starting to understand the speed of the game (starting to at least), and looked half way competent on a few plays. keep working big fella!!

  • Phil725

    For anyone playing the schedule game, I'd recommend looking back at how January played out. The team was just starting to click after AB returned, they had won 6 in a row, and they were at the beginning of an extended home streak against mostly bad teams, and the few away games they had were against bad teams…

    They ended up getting blown out by the Pistons and Pelicans, losing to the Cavs, hitting rock bottom by blowing a 27 point lead to Atlanta to lose their 6th straight, then Rondo tore his ACL. They then turned around and beat the Heat and went on an extended winning streak as everyone said the season was over.

    The Celtics have always won games they're not supposed to, and lost games they're not supposed to. That will likely keep up throughout the rest of this season.

  • cjkasino

    Phil 25 u sound like a serious hater bringing up the mental break down….from a month ago yeah t hey won 6 lost 6 and lost rr…and have been on a different type of emotional run of late…u haven’t noticed that this team is playing much more inspired ball?…anyway I believe outta the next 26 they CAN go 19-7 lets go celtics.

  • Banner18

    I've always been overly optimistic about the second half of these past few seasons (rightfully so). It does sound like a stretch, but I think it is totally reachable if Green stays solid, Twill and Jcraw click, and Bass doesn't play like, well.. Bass